Monday, April 12, 2010

ADHD and crime

ADHD is a common behavioral disorder frequently associated with learning disabilities. While ADHD emerges in children before the age of seven, it can extend past childhood through adolescence and even into adult hood. While we still don’t know what causes ADHD, we do know that ADHD is closely related to the size and density of particular brain structures as well as how some chemical reaction occur in the brain. It is believed that people with ADHD have a smaller cerebral cortex—the part of the brain that controls thought and actions. It is also believed that people with ADHD suffer from impaired impulse control, social skills, reason, and judgment.
Ok so the link I have here is not exactly a scholarly one, but I think the implications of its content raise an interesting and relevant question. This link is for Kavinoky Law, a California law firm that specializes in representing criminal offenders with ADHD. It suggests that “70 percent of juvenile offenders have ADHD, and that more than 40 percent of all men in medium-security prisons show the classic symptoms of the disorder, compared to 3 to 5 percent of men on the outside. These numbers suggest that ADHD plays a role that places individuals at higher risk for exhibiting antisocial and/or criminal behavior.” I researched in to it more and found that 65 % of children with ADHD have discipline problems and exhibit trouble with authority figures. This can include verbal hostility and temper tantrums. I also found that by a 2008 study it is estimated that 5-10 percent of all American adults suffer from the disorder. The same study shows that 11-13 percent of Americans live below the poverty line. And 70 percent of juvenile offenders come form impoverished households. This raises the question, if we are going to grant special treatment for criminal offenders with ADHD why aren’t we doing the same for people in poverty?

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