We asked participants of the ADHD Corrections Project to share their stories of how ADHD has impacted their lives, and how this might relate to their experience with the criminal justice system. The resulting journal entries, written towards the close of their eight-week group coaching session, were remarkably thoughtful, hopeful, and compelling. While each inmate’s story is unique, we can also recognize in them some of the unfortunate experiences that are all too common among those with ADHD. With the permission of our anonymous authors, we’d now like to share with you these powerful first-person perspectives on the relationship between ADHD and the criminal justice system.
“My name is [JC] and as a child growing up my behavior was consistent with ADHD. I was in the Terry Psychiatric Center for Children when I was 9 years old as an inpatient. I received riddelin daily for my attitude and behaviors. After 18 months I was released and since then I have not used any medication for my ADHD. During my years as a teen I became involved in criminal behavior which eventually led to me being incarcerated continually. When I became an adult my behaviors progressed and prison became my second home. Each time I was released I either couldn’t focus on my goals I set or I hyper focused on the wrong things (crime) and it became an ongoing cycle. I’ve just recently completed the ADHD Corrections Project, a class for incarcerated men diagnosed with ADHD. I now realize how I was affected by ADHD and that my whole life I developed coping skills to deal with my ADHD. But overall, its an ongoing issue in my life today. I’ve learned new ways to deal with it properly and upon my release I plan to utilize the support provided for people with ADHD. Had I known that ADHD played a part in my continuous display of disregard for the law it would’ve allowed me to seek the help I needed in order to maintain control of my life. Now that I’ve been enlightened I feel confident that I will succeed.”