20 November 2003

CPS plea on hyperactive juveniles

Two Lancashire police officers are establishing a pilot scheme to improve screening for ADHD among young offenders to help reduce juvenile crime.

After a recent facting finding trip to the United States, Inspector Phil Anderton told 5Live: 'This condition exists, it's blighting people's lives and disrupting whole families.

'We need to get on top of ADHD. There are also strong links to addiction, particularly drugs and alchohol as a way of self medication.

'If we can get on top of ADHD we can get on top of a significant amount of juvenile crime.'

In the United States various intervention projects have been established.

Dr Dwaine McCallon used to run a pilot scheme at a US prison.

He said: 'It showed that with intervention only one in 20 former inmates with ADHD went on to reoffend.

'The rate would normally be much highter. One offender told me, 'Dr McCallon I never learned to learn.'

In Britain, the Youth Justice Board has commissioned research based at young offender institutions and youth offending teams to see how prevalent ADHD is.

Somehow, I keep forgetting to blog more about ADHD. More seriously, the overrepresentation in the prison population is massive, both because of the tendency to addiction and to impulsive behaviour. A Norwegian study found a prevalence of 46% in their prison population compared with 3% in the general population. That makes ADHD a serious social problem, not fodder for anti-Ritalin pieces on infonews programs.

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