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Reduce Recidivism, Costs by Addressing the Impact of ADHD on the Juvenile Justice System

GavelWhile the CDC estimates that ADHD occurs in 10% of the general population, its prevalence in our jails has been estimated at 50% or higher.  Additionally, in about 65% of cases, ADHD is present with a co-occurring mental health condition.  Studies also show that inmates with related mental health conditions stay in the system between 5 and 8 times longer than inmates without mental health impairments. This is further compounded by the fact that the risk of substance abuse disorder doubles when ADHD is present and further triples when ADHD is present with Conduct Disorder.

Despite these shocking statistics, mental health screening and treatment and substance abuse screening and treatment are still addressed separately in nearly all of our courts.  The current model does not workl and supports a vicious cycle of recidivism.  To address these important issues, it is essential that a new model contemplate the education of all key stakeholders in the system, provide adequate support, and combine substance abuse and mental illness screening and treatment.  There is such a model that addresses this problem and breaks the vicious cycle and reduces the cost and capacity of our overloaded system.

In the interview below with Jeff Copper of Attention Talk Video, I address some of the issues that adolescents with ADHD face when they come into contact with the criminal justice system.