From The Boston Globe: In a handful of courthouses in the Merrimack Valley, an important experiment in criminal justice reform is underway. Court officials are partnering with UTEC, a Lowell organization that works with some of the toughest young men in the region, to reimagine probation — that critical way station between freedom and imprisonment. Some 56,000 people statewide are under probationary supervision — either in lieu of a prison sentence, or as they ease their way back into society after months or years behind bars. And the Merrimack Valley pilot pro-gram homes in on one crucial subset of that population: young adults, ages 18 to 24. Decades of neuroscience research show that the brain is still developing into the mid-20s. That can mean a lot of bad, impulsive decisions; this age cohort has a higher recidivism rate than any other. But when the brain is that plastic, there is also real opportunity for redemption. For turning lives around.