ADHD, a disorder overrepresented in prison

The scientific data on the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in prisons is staggering: a 2015 international meta-analysis asserted that a quarter of prisoners are carriers, based on diagnostic clinical interviews – a proportion ten times higher than in the general adult population. According to another 2015 meta-analysis that pooled nine studies involving more than 15,000 people, “People with ADHD as children are two to three times more likely to be arrested, convicted, or imprisoned as adults”in particular for thefts, muggings or criminal offenses in connection with the possession of weapons or narcotics.

ADHD is a poorly understood neurodevelopmental disorder defined by clinical symptoms of physical or mental hyperactivity, inattention, and severe impulsivity – the intensity varies from person to person. Violence, addiction, poor emotional management, and difficulty maintaining a stable job can drive many young people and adults with ADHD to become vulnerable and delinquent.

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Anthony (first name has been changed) was imprisoned for fourteen months in Tours remand prison for driving without a license. ADHD was diagnosed three months after his arrival, the 31-year-old admits “Don’t think about the consequences” his act. This is his fourth conviction, and previous ones for theft and concealment had earned him suspended and suspended sentences. “Anthony took a long time to come to terms with his ADHD, explains Dr. Jerome Bachelor, Psychiatrist in the Prison Health Unit (USMP) of Tours Remand Prison. In his eyes, his impulsiveness was not a problem and even a strength. He did not establish the connection with his passages on the crime. Still, it is a key factor among prisoners. »

The diagnosis can be a relief and consultations a source of comfort for the prisoners. “It feels good to know why I freak out sometimes and to name it”assures Erwan (first name has been changed), 41, sentenced a fourth time for moral harassment and diagnosed on arrival. “I devoted myself to Doctor Bachellier like no otherin turn confides in Anthony. He is calm, friendly. » After a pause, Anthony continues: “He understands me, explains how I work, advises me. »

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