The surprising connection between brain injuries and crime | Kim Gorgens

  • Published on May 17, 2019
  • Here's a shocking statistic: 50 to 80 percent of people in the criminal justice system in the US have had a traumatic brain injury. In the general public, that number is less than five percent. Neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens shares her research into the connection between brain trauma and the behaviors that keep people in the revolving door of criminal justice -- and some ways to make the system more effective and safer for everyone.
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  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 218

    IT SARA 4 months ago +1

    whene I was 2 I fell and cracked my head open pretty bad . and my parents told me that I was acting differently since. could it be because of tbi?

  • Icarus
    Icarus 4 months ago

    TBI in 1994, life has been really really hard.

  • Thiago SB
    Thiago SB 5 months ago

    O J Simpson explained

  • Claudio Correa
    Claudio Correa 5 months ago

    l only ser 2 ways to solve prisoners' Lives better bay being in prisional, 1 wering nanotechnology braceletes wateched by satellites and frees .2 prison for only 1 people divided of bars to avoid physical contact with each other!☀️

  • Vinod M
    Vinod M 5 months ago

    A very good reason for why we have to transform our jails into rehabilitation centres

  • jmanley1486
    jmanley1486 5 months ago

    OMG... I was hit in the face with a softball that caused a concussion. Then it started making me faint and hit my head on corners and injuring myself more. I kept getting myself arrested in my early 20s. I've come a long way since the (I'm 33) but I still have problems with impulse control. It bothers me bc I am very intelligent and a very empathetic person... but there are something to this day that make me question myself after the fact.

  • digiryde
    digiryde 5 months ago

    What she is saying about behavior is true for everyone. We all need to know our strengths and our weaknesses. The main reason people have long term problems in life is not being able to recognize what they do not do well. From money to relationships to education (of any kind). One of the best classes I went through was for managers where we learned about ourselves. If you do not know how to manage yourself, you will be rather challenged at managing yourself.

  • barry weber
    barry weber 5 months ago

    Very informative.

  • Oldold Pilgrim
    Oldold Pilgrim 5 months ago

    Famous killers Charles Starkweather and Richard Hickock had head injuries. There have been many more.

  • Nancy Chace
    Nancy Chace 6 months ago

    Very good presentation. I would respectfully submit that this could go beyond physical trauma. Is it possible the brain can also be traumatized by significant drug use? Also I see a link with the emotional side of trauma. When it is unresolved we tend to get stuck in the "revolving door" - it tends to come back to haunt us. All these things are linked. I believe similarities are also seen with respect to PTSD.

  • fakkedd
    fakkedd 6 months ago

    I had a TDI 11 years ago, and spent a year in a blind rage with no control over my emotions. My wife risked her own sanity to bring me back, and without her love and support I have no doubt I'd be in jail or homeless. I carry a voice recorder and take notes of what I really need to remember. The hardest thing I ever did was fight to regain control over my emotions, as for helping my memory I went back to college to get a civil engineering diploma

  • Dana Das
    Dana Das 6 months ago

    I love those talking

  • Raw Bacon
    Raw Bacon 6 months ago



    *#BlueISIS** a.k.a. **#TheBlueTreason** don't care*

    MAURICIO ALDANA 6 months ago +2

    What a beautiful example of empathy! Great work, Kim!

  • John x
    John x 6 months ago

    The prison industrial complex will no doubt refute such science as it stands to lose billions. I would like to have seen more studies upon studies supporting the connection between TBI and getting locked up in this talk. The speaker seemed to jump rather quickly from the assertion to solutions.

  • Sven Bodali
    Sven Bodali 6 months ago


  • RiversTheName
    RiversTheName 6 months ago

    I think we need a tedtalk about taking psychedelics with other people and the transference of psychology that goes on

  • Censored One
    Censored One 6 months ago

    See you mean to tell me that the only way you can have a traumatic brain injury is if you go to the hospital after the fact can you have a traumatic brain injury and not receive medical attention and live?

  • B Welkinator
    B Welkinator 6 months ago

    Figures lie ... and liars use figures... just sayin'

  • Mike C
    Mike C 6 months ago

    I think most people in government were dropped on their heads.

  • JustOneAsbesto
    JustOneAsbesto 6 months ago

    How is it in away surprising? We've had strong evidence of it for over 100 years.

  • Art Nickel
    Art Nickel 6 months ago

    Don’t stop!
    Need to address gang initiations

  • Tangaeng Phsihoze
    Tangaeng Phsihoze 6 months ago +1

    This literally reminds me the Chris Benoit severe crime, the diving headbutt affected his brain so far

  • Russell Williams
    Russell Williams 6 months ago

    Here's the classic liberal agenda, find isolated examples, exploit it emotionally, weaponize sentiments for anyone that disagrees with them, then underhandedly apply it to the general population to serve their interest. The prison population needs hard labor whether it's forced or not like no other population in the world.... If you disagree with me you're an ignorant self righteous piece of s***. but none of this matters because it is written that self-righteous liberal idiots will win the day for their time... And then comes the end.....

  • Russell Williams
    Russell Williams 6 months ago

    Not once did she mention the victims of these people's crimes....

  • Mojos Bigstick
    Mojos Bigstick 6 months ago

    We're raised to believe 'can't means won't'. Just dropping that un-human idea would make a difference.

  • michaelrose93
    michaelrose93 6 months ago +1

    So, assuming you are correct, then why do black males suffer such a disproportionate amount of TBI's?

  • franklanguage
    franklanguage 6 months ago +1

    I'm so happy you're speaking on this topic; back in 1981 I sustained a TBI, and while I didn't go on to a life of crime-beyond a few incidents of civil disobedience-I have to say the misunderstanding of my condition has caused me no end of problems-impulsivity and depression among them. People have often asked me, "Why are you the way you are?" and I have no answer.

    Agitation is a huge problem with brain injuries; it was with mine. So glad you addressed this.

  • hemant kumar
    hemant kumar 6 months ago +3

    What about other way round... peoples with impulse control or antisocial personality,someone of whom are already criminal and engage in physical voilence causing TBI ... definitely tbi causes some irreversible organic changes leading to voilent behaviour but other way round is quite apt.

    • L
      L 6 months ago

      possible. and the anti social and criminal tendency might come from how they are born, brought up and their genes.

  • Elliot
    Elliot 6 months ago

    You make a great job

  • Jim Quinn
    Jim Quinn 6 months ago

    I think that a life of crime is more easily caused by culture than brain injury.

    • John x
      John x 6 months ago

      Yes, poor home life and crummy neighborhoods, influences.

  • Rina Rish
    Rina Rish 6 months ago +2

    What an insightful topic.

  • Derpster
    Derpster 6 months ago

    People in the criminal justice system need to be stored in epoxy so that they can't hurt each other.

  • Scott Maitland
    Scott Maitland 6 months ago +7

    Excellent information!!! I wonder how much other forms of trauma, such as emotional and psychological trauma, factor into crime.

  • Who Changed What
    Who Changed What 6 months ago

    You are all being played...........sorry guys........need to wake up........not sucking it up.........head bangers are not self-fulfilling terminal that!
    Conclusion all corrupt people are brain damage? Oh Yeah???????? Sorry if you are not up to simple LOGIC. (criminals made their choices they are told in prison).
    So tell me why would all of humanity be brain damaged if they are innately corrupt. Do you realise yet that you and "mankind" have a basic problem? Yes, good?
    No BAD!!!! Check the narrative? It is being twisted big time. Climate warming is another great hoax to hit people with taxes. Check Western budgets.Surprise
    coming to a country you are in. Thought for today...."Are you a 'prisoner' in your own nation and free of all corruption?"

  • Hippienolic 2
    Hippienolic 2 6 months ago +2

    Every time you drop a baby on its head you create a criminal

    • Bob Taylor
      Bob Taylor 6 months ago

      You're likely to be creating a tragically damaged one, certainly, but not necessarily a criminal.

  • Icarus
    Icarus 6 months ago +3

    Massive TBI when I was 19 .
    Knocked off my motorcycle, hit and run.

    • Jim lastname
      Jim lastname 5 months ago

      @Icarus - I'm from Australia, and, thank God we have a system that's pretty much approximates your own, though you may be waiting a long time for thing's that are deemed "elective surgery". If you have a bit of private top-up insurance, though your "straight-in-the-gate" mate !! No long wait times, private rooms, better food (well, a little better anyway) and for whatever it's worth .... your choice of Surgeon !! Which is the main thing for a great many people, but I fail to see how you reconstructed knee, for e.g, is going to know the difference

    • Icarus
      Icarus 6 months ago

      @Jim lastname
      I live in Cambridgeshire, UK.
      I had a few out patient occupational health and physio appointments, served by hospital transport.
      I even had a couple of months in a rehab center for people with brain injury, but not until about 2005??
      I think the intention was to give me techniques and tools to help me manage day to day tasks better ?
      My biggest problem is that I don't remember any of it.
      Thank you though.

    • Jim lastname
      Jim lastname 6 months ago

      @Icarus - Where are you, if you don't mind me asking. it's just that, where I'm from, we have a very good (usually) after Hospital care and Re-Hab system, from what I can tell, dose a pretty good job, all things considered. I mean, I could be in the U.S, with NO real Public Health System ( the way I understand a Public System to work , and have experiance with)

      That said, 10/10 just for making it this far, mate !! Well done !!

    • Icarus
      Icarus 6 months ago +1

      @Jim lastname
      That was back in 1994.
      My life has been a mess.
      Hospital saved my life but there was no follow ups and I've failed for years.

    • Jim lastname
      Jim lastname 6 months ago

      Icarus - Criminal !!

  • KaJ uN
    KaJ uN 6 months ago +2

    Thank you so much! This information is truly eye opening for me. Another piece of the puzzle, another step in the right direction and... a whole lot more hope. ❤

  • Matthew Houston
    Matthew Houston 6 months ago

    I have TBI from penetrating head injury, and I relate to so much of this, except in the corporate world, punished over and over for not being able to cognitively be like the average guy. I can do my work, and exceed expectations, but I can’t succeed when they micromanage and try to force me to adopt their cognitive patterns and routines. ... they’re designed to heavily rely on their non-damaged memory

  • Brilliant Alias
    Brilliant Alias 6 months ago +4

    I bet most police officers or jail guard were either bullies or bullied in school I wonder what that statistic is

    • How I See The World
      How I See The World 5 months ago

      pretty much everyone was either bullies or bullied at school though haha

  • Tamara Smith
    Tamara Smith 6 months ago

    How is it surprising? Doctors have known for decades that the frontal lobe is mainly responsible for impulse control & other factors associated with our judgement & personality. That means that people who have damaged their brains with drugs & alcohol or those with injuries due to trauma can have behavioral changes. Remember the story of the guy who survived a steel spike through his head but then went from a regular liked guy to being so obnoxious & mean that no one liked him anymore? That's why professional football players & boxers have such a reputation for violence. (In the old days steroids were known to play a part, too, but athletes who injured their heads more often had statistically more problems with violence than those who did sports/activities where they did steroids too but had less head injuries, like weightlifters.)

  • Vernice Thompson
    Vernice Thompson 6 months ago

    Thank you! It seems you have found a good explanation and solution for why so many people end up in prison for simple acts.

  • susan
    susan 6 months ago +2

    I've worked as a contract medical personnel in both private and state prisons over a period of 10 yrs. I was well aware that many of the inmate had a history of head injuries, I had no idea it was as high as mentioned in this talk, but it doesn't surprise to learn this statistics. In my experience there was little assistance, with in the frame work of the Institute, for inmate these inmates. Some were very good at identifying and seeking out help from staff that were interested and willing to help them with a plan to be more independent and functional at succeeding at goals to improve their situation.

  • SNP1999
    SNP1999 6 months ago +2

    This is shocking information and the statistics at such high extent cannot be wrong. This problem must be closely looked at, it would change our society's whole perception of criminality. Studies must be undertaken that verify these findings and reports must be passed on to Police Forces and Departments of Justice. This cannot be ignored !

  • mmisbach
    mmisbach 6 months ago +1

    Up to 80% of Incarcerated persons have traumatic brain injuries. Brain scans look like retired football players. Their cognitive deficit, make it hard to function and keeps them in prison. With simple accommodations people are staying out of prison. #TEDTalk

  • Nemo Niente
    Nemo Niente 6 months ago

    ...I could blame my felony convictions on this, being as I've had said incidences of brain injuries as early as 7yo... but funnily enough, I was deported over 20 years ago and haven't committed a single crime since then... I was in a gang in high school, fought and got beaten up a lot, did a lot of crime and did a lot of time... why is it then that my criminal behavior ended as soon as I was kicked out of the states...??? I mean, if there was any factual truth to this person's bull, my pursuance of criminal behavior would have continued, wouldn't it...?? STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID !!!!

    • Nemo Niente
      Nemo Niente 6 months ago

      @Atzin could my personal anecdotes, applied broadly, yet not exclusively, throughout my almost 20 years of criminal behavior within the criminal population, be considered logical fallacies...??? For decades I wondered incessantly where to claim blame for my choices, never to find anything but excuses to release me from accountability. Once I gradually came to the realization that I wasn't insane nor mentally deficient, I came to terms with the idiocy of such a pursuit. Even when I heard for the first time about these "brain injuries", I cried 'eureka', because of the several incidences since childhood where quite a few head traumas were sprinkled throughout my developmental years. But, so had it happened to many relatives and friends who didn't CHOOSE the path I did. Still, this "theory" gave me another excuse to continue with my thuggery. It wasn't until a few years after deportation and meeting others on the same boat, who also hadn't done any crime since expulsion, that it came to me that it was all about choices. Principally, the fact that we didn't want to do time in a 3rd world prison.

    • Atzin
      Atzin 6 months ago

      @Nemo Niente Im not saying I necessarily agree with the argument presented by the video, I'm just pointoing out logical fallacies in the arguments you put forth.

    • Nemo Niente
      Nemo Niente 6 months ago

      @Atzin wanna be a victim, be a victim... I hold my own... I don't blame mommy and daddy for the choices I made... everybody gets traumatic blows to the head, but only an incredibly tiny few do crime, as with everything else... blame the white man for all your ills; blame him to death... may your grandchildren know peace of mind and sanity...

    • Atzin
      Atzin 6 months ago

      @Nemo Niente firstly you bring up anectodotal evidence again, secondly do you think you are qualified to determine what is the overall main cause of behaviour for people?

    • Nemo Niente
      Nemo Niente 6 months ago

      @Atzin ...what large majority...!?!?! I was incarcerated with that specific statistic, and upbringing had more to do with our overall behavior than a few blows to the head... it is a basic truth that poverty begets extreme circumstances under which to effect raising a child... abject poverty begets extremism... dire poverty begets genocide... criminals aren't born nor accidental, we become...

  • Phoelxx
    Phoelxx 6 months ago +1

    I strongly feel that I suffer from a TBI. How can i confirm that I am?

    • gabr0901
      gabr0901 6 months ago +1

      Your doctor might be able to refer you to a specialist for testing

  • Teri Scallon
    Teri Scallon 6 months ago +3

    That was incredible. Such good work being done here.

  • buriedtoodeep
    buriedtoodeep 6 months ago +1

    Thank you.

  • Mitch McQuinn
    Mitch McQuinn 6 months ago +1

    Neuroscience is quickly bringing an end to the entire judicial system. With all these kinds of developments I sincerely hope that we'll be able to move past this juvenile blame game, take collective responsibility, and start focusing our efforts on preventative actions and integration efforts instead of punishment and incarceration.

    • fiona fiona
      fiona fiona 6 months ago

      Really I thought the enlightenment did, some one must have canceled the US-Subscription in 1777.

  • PK Cazadores
    PK Cazadores 6 months ago +1

    The surprising connection between brain injuries and liberalism.

  • Tina Lynn
    Tina Lynn 6 months ago

    What if the kid is punching themselves in the head .. my son does that .. he has autism.

  • voltagetoe
    voltagetoe 6 months ago +1

    The median is exactly 50%, not 50 to 80 like stated here in plain vulgar fashion - Bigger the ego, bigger the story ?

  • Artistic Endeavors
    Artistic Endeavors 6 months ago

    Tell me about it. I was a severely abused infant and toddler that unfortunately survived. I have to be very careful. Cultists know precisely how to manipulate this condition while pretending to be a friend. It's called gangstalking or cointelpro. They think it's funny. I am surprised I have been able to accomplish anything good.

    • Thomas Whitfield
      Thomas Whitfield 6 months ago

      What do you mean by cultists? What cult are they part of??

  • Shamut on EV’s
    Shamut on EV’s 6 months ago


  • cavv0667
    cavv0667 6 months ago +2

    50 to 80%.... Wow, I'm thrilled by your ability to research and compile honest information... No, you don't get to be taken seriously when you expect me to swallow a 30% discrepancy in your research. I've had two severe head injuries as a child(under 10) and multiple minor head injuries(enough to floor me if not outright knock me unconscious) as an adult, and I've never been in the penal system nor have I committed a prison-able crime... I've sped while driving and I've been really fucking rude to people(not often thankfully). You're using TBI to push prison reform... while I agree that prison reform is Very important I don't agree with obscuring the issue with bad science!!! You'll end up hurting the push for reform by pushing false facts and bad research... people won't take the issue seriously because they can't take your argument seriously! You should be ashamed, not of yourself, but of hurting an important issue with BAD science!!! You use feel good stories that don't positively prove your idea, but prove the truth; the truth is the reform programs in order to stop recidivism Work!

  • Marcos Mimenza
    Marcos Mimenza 6 months ago

    While the primary role of neurosurgery is the training of more neurosurgeons, the vicious circle of its academic victims with brain damage will not be broken.

  • beverly fuller
    beverly fuller 6 months ago +9

    Excellent, hopeful information but puzzled and irritated by the occasional laughs of the presenter.

    • Beautyalaritz
      Beautyalaritz 6 months ago +2

      I found it a little untraditional that she paused with an expectation of applause, a few too many times.

  • Amanda Anderson
    Amanda Anderson 6 months ago +1

    Thank you for this. I'm passing it on to my military friends.

    • Bilal Elbahi
      Bilal Elbahi 6 months ago

      @Amanda Anderson so I wish you the best and the good life miss

    • Amanda Anderson
      Amanda Anderson 6 months ago +1

      @Bilal Elbahi I will, thank you. Since TBI is the main injury in serving tours of duty it will add yet another layer of understanding for doctors and for self empowerment.

    • Bilal Elbahi
      Bilal Elbahi 6 months ago

      Yeah that's nice. Make your military friends happy