Stories from Inside: Part 8

March 3, 2014 in Corrections, Justice, Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

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“Hi my name is [KM] and I have been diagnosed with ADHD while being incarcerated at the Howard R. Young Correctional facility. Since being diagnosed and participating in a 8 week class I have learned a lot. I have learned how to process my ADHD and also what certain symptoms to look for. The most important thing I have learned is that my ADHD has hindered my success a little by not making important notes, which led to my forgetting certain things.”

Stories from Inside: Part 7

February 24, 2014 in Corrections, Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

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“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.”

Stories from Inside: Part 6

February 17, 2014 in Corrections, Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

7“Hi, my name is —  and I’m nineteen years old. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was about nine years old. My parents were concerned about my behavior during school. I used to get in trouble in school for fighting, talking during class, and other things like being hyper. I’m from Philly, also known as Philadelphia. There my parents took me to a doctor to see if they could figure out what was wrong with me, and why I was misbehaving in school. The doctor said I had symptoms of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. From then on both of my parents took me to a therapist company known as PATH and I was placed on medication for my ADHD. I continued going to PATH until I was thirteen: I then moved to Delaware. I began getting in trouble once again, but this time I was involved for selling drugs. A habit that has continued until I was eighteen years old, leading to my incarceration. I’ve learned so much from being in jail and from the ADHD program. There are ways to improve on my behaviors, I have learned better decision-making skills, being aware, and planning for my future. I was attending — College, and I plan on continuing to go back to school, real estate school, and becoming an entrepreneur. I have embraced my attention deficit hyperactive disorder and gained a lot of knowledge about it and myself and I am a better person now. I’m thankful for the opportunity I got from ADHD.”

Stories from Inside: Part 5

February 10, 2014 in Corrections, Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

SFI5“When I was in school I was disruptive, even though I got good grades I was always in trouble for acting out. When I got older I started to self-medicate starting with pot then moving on to harder drugs. I always dismissed any symptoms of ADHD as being cause by my drug addiction. In the long run my drug addiction brought me to prison, which I believe was an indirect cause of my ADHD.” 

Stories from Inside: Part 4

February 4, 2014 in Corrections, Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

sfi4a“Having ADHD can be very hard on a person. I have ADHD, and I’ve known it for a long time, since I was about 6 or 7 years old. I used to take medicine for it but as I got older I stopped taking it. Since I have been in prison and have been getting help through this ADHD group counseling it has been helping me a lot.”

Stories from Inside: Part 3

January 27, 2014 in Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

 

Aviary Photo_130345338035518968“I believe ADHD has played a negative role in my life. I think it wrecked my career and possibly my marriage. ADHD could have ruined my completing the Head Start Home program in prison. I truly believe some of the tools I’ve learned in the DOJ. ADHD class is the only reason I will graduate this program. I was having a very hard time with the program until I started taking ADHD class. I use some of the tools daily and for many aspects of my day. I have since been officially been diagnosed with ADHD and intend to follow up with treatment after my release.”

Stories from Inside: Part 2

January 20, 2014 in Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

SFI3“I think ADHD has affected me in ways that I never knew. First if it wasn’t for me getting tested, I would have never known that I had it. Now that I know, a seen the symptoms, I see that I had it for a very long time. So I think it affected me in a way that brought me here [to prison]. My thinking and lack of awareness had a part of it. Because of the fact that my anger played a big part in it, I think if had controlled it I wouldn’t have got myself in the predicament that I’m in.

The way the DOC has affected me is that being here I’ve learned to control my anger as well as my disruptive thoughts. I tend to think irrational a lot a I need to start controlling that. In here I have become or shall I say I see that I’m hyperactive at times. Sometimes I can control it and other times I can’t” 

Stories from Inside: Part 1

January 13, 2014 in Pilot Project, Stories From Inside by Kyle Dopfel

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.

Stories from Inside: Part 1 (1/3)

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“I did not realize that I had ADHD until a few weeks ago. As a child growing up I assumed that I was normal and developed coping strategies to deal with my inability to focus on tasks and my lack of attention in general. My coping mechanisms were so effective that I was an honor roll student and graduated in the top five of my high school class.

The demands of college coupled with living on my own exposed flaws in my coping mechanisms. In no uncertain terms college would become the first in a long line of failures. Even though I eventually graduated from college it was a long drawn out battle with myself.

As the complexity of adult life continued to unfold my ADHD started to exert more influence over my life. Life became not a series of accomplishments to celebrate but one of stress and failure. I approached each challenge in my life; from jobs, relationships, family, and even recreation, not as an opportunity to succeed but as an opportunity to fail.

Finally, after decades of this destructive cycle my coping mechanisms failed completely. A broken marriage, questionable career decisions, and a home lost through foreclosure were just symptomatic of my life with ADHD. Other psychological conditions; including suicidal thoughts and tendencies, just exacerbated my problems.

At some point in my life I finally made the decision to just give up. Coming to prison became my new coping mechanism. The structure and lack of choices allowed my earlier coping mechanisms to become effective again. Once I was released from prison “real life” quickly caught up with and overwhelmed me. Not realizing that there were legitimate problems that I could seek treatment for, I instead made choices that would return me to prison.

This is where both my ADHD and other psychological conditions were initially diagnosed. Although I am dealing with my ADHD I still have other conditions that cannot be addressed until my incarceration is complete. This is because DOC does not currently have the appropriate treatment programs; and probably never will.

I view my ADHD as the tip of the iceberg. I am aware of it and learning new ways to deal with it. Being able to put a label on it has helped. It’s that portion of the iceberg that I cannot see that has worried me.

As an afterthought I reflect back to my first conviction in 2002. At that time the court ordered that I be sentenced to the Patuxent Institute, a facility that specializes in psychological evaluation and treatment. The court orders were never followed. I sometimes wonder what my life today if that order had been followed.”

National Conferences: October 2013

November 1, 2013 in Conference, Corrections, Justice, Pilot Project by Kyle Dopfel

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National Association on Case Management (NACM) National Conference

It’s been a very busy month for the ADDA Justice team! From October 1-3, we attended the NACM National Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. This event gave us the opportunity to reach out to a new group of people associated with the justice system, to share with them our knowledge of the link between ADHD and their work, and to learn from them new approaches to helping our population. There representing ADDA were Kyle Dopfel (ADDA Justice Projects Director), Dr. Carol Kuprevich (Director of Community Planning, Program Development, and Training for the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health), and Ashley Biden (Associate Execute Director of the Delaware Center for Justice, partner organization on the pilot ADHD Corrections Project). Our workshop was entitled Criminal Justice & ADHD: There Are Solutions, for which the full Powerpoint can be viewed by clicking here.


National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC) National Conference

On October 26th, we traveled to Nashville, TN, for the NCCHC 2013 National Conference. The NCCHC is one of the two major accreditation agencies for correctional facilities in the United States, and at their October meeting passed a new criteria for ADHD screening in juvenile facilities to be included in their standards. This is a very positive step forward for our cause, and bodes well for progress in adult correctional standards regarding ADHD in the near future! The ADDA Justice team was extremely active at this conference, which brings together correctional professionals from every corner of the nation to discuss improving the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities. We not only led a workshop entitled Adults with ADHD: Why it Matters! (Judy Cox, Dr. Carol Kuprevich, and Dr. Janet Kramer), but also presented a poster on ADHD in Adult Corrections (Kyle Dopfel and Kristan VanDomelen) and led a morning round table discussion. The full Powerpoint for our workshop can be viewed by clicking here.