ADHD, a disorder overrepresented in prison

Scientific data on the prevalence of attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in prison is dizzying: a 2015 international meta-analysis assures that a quarter of inmates would have it, on the basis of Diagnostic clinical interviews – ten times higher than in the general adult population. According to another 2015 meta-analysis, which included nine studies of more than 15,000 individuals, “People with ADHD in childhood are two to three times more likely to be arrested, convicted or incarcerated in adulthood.”especially for thefts, assaults or offenses related to possession of weapons or narcotics.

Trouble du neurodeveloppement encore méconnu, ADHD is defined by clinical symptoms such as physical or mental hyperactivity, a lack of attention and a strong impulsivity – the intensity varies depending on the person. Violence, addictions, mismanagement of emotions and difficulties in maintaining a stable job can lead many young people and adults with ADHD to rely on precariousness and delinquency.

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Anthony (first name changed) was jailed for fourteen months at the Tours Detention Center for driving without a license. Diagnosed with ADHD three months after arrival, a 31-year-old man admits “I didn’t think about the consequences” of his act. This is his fourth conviction, the previous ones, for theft and concealment cases, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. „Anthony took time to accept his ADHD, explains Dr. Jérôme Bachellier, a psychiatrist in the prison health unit (USMP) of the Tours detention center. Fiul impulsivitatii was not a problem in his eyes and even represented a force. He did not link his passages to the criminal act. Yet this is a key factor among inmates. »

Diagnosing them can be a relief and consultations are a source of comfort for inmates. “It’s good to know why I fart sometimes, and to put a name to it.”says Erwan (whose first name has been changed), 41, convicted for the fourth time of harassment and diagnosed on arrival. “I gave myself to Dr. Bachellier like no one else.”confides Anthony, for his part. He is calm, kind. » After a silence, Anthony continues: “He understands me, explains how I work, advises me.”. »

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