The Issue

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD- you may have heard of it. You may be familiar with the connection between ADHD and academic struggles, professional challenges, even relationship issues- but what many people are not aware of is the link between ADHD and difficulties with the criminal justice system.

Because of neurological differences, individuals with ADHD are not only more likely to engage in criminal activity, but they are also more likely to set off red flags during encounters with law enforcement. Symptomatic behaviors can then lead to negative outcomes in court, and once in the system, these deficits will often “snowball” into progressively worse results. Inability to follow requirements set by police, attorneys, parole officers and judges can escalate legal troubles. Thus, ADHD not only increases the likelihood that an individual finds themselves in corrections but also makes it more difficult for them to successfully re-enter the community. This is why individuals with ADHD make up such a large number of our incarcerated population, particularly repeat offenders.

ADHD rates in prisons draw attention to an overwhelming area of oversight and opportunity within the criminal justice system. Through appropriate identification, treatment, and accommodations, we can break the chain of avoidable arrests and incarceration.Our goal is to bring awareness to this link and to reveal the profound impact it has- not only on those with ADHD, but on our entire society. Addressing the specific needs of inmates challenged with AD/HD ultimately benefits all of us; in the form of lowered recidivism, safer communities and savings to taxpayers.