View Full Version : Percentage of inmates with AD/HD

04-03-03, 02:19 PM
Does anybody know of any current study or literature that gives the percentage of US inmates who have AD/HD?

I've been trying to find info but the percentages I have found have a range of 20% to 90%.

04-03-03, 03:38 PM
" The Utah survey found approximately 24 % of male inmates to have ADD/ADHD with classical clinical findings. Other studies and our own experience have led us to believe that upwards of 40% of our residents in a medium security prison have the findings along the Tourette/ADD spectrum. If you separate out the nonviolent, impulsive criminals (whom I term my basic, charming and even lovable car thieves and traffic offenders), the percentage is much greater. "-

"researchers found that significantly higher percentages of individuals with ADHD had been arrested (39 percent vs. 20 percent), convicted of a crime (28:11), and incarcerated (9:1)."

ADHD: new evidence of crime link; advocacy group calls
for research on role of diet, food additives

04-03-03, 06:56 PM
I haven't been able to find anything more recent either which really surpises.

01-28-06, 08:20 PM
I think to [essentially] allude that "ADHD=criminals who are incarcerated", or vice-versa, is extremely misleading.

ADHD, alone, does NOT lead to incarceration.

The main problem is not their ADHD. It is their "Anti-Social Personality Disorder" or being a "Psychopath", or shades of Sociopathy. (Or in childhood, "Conduct Disorder".)

-=The Co-morbidity of ADHD=- is extremely well known by Professionals and Academics -- but for some reason, the Public and the Media don't "get" this concept.

'ADHD' is just another concurrent syndrome that these folks have, really. So is 'Addiction[s]', for most of this population.

What is one thing we are taught about Co-Morbidity? The more co-existing illnesses/diagnoses/syndromes and other negative factors that a person has "going on" at the same time, the more negative their outcomes.

They are on an exponentially more negative health trajectory when they have multiple diagnoses.

Lots of people have ADHD and get through life without violating the rights of others so flagrantly.

Some non-ASPD ADHDers are also at higher risk of being bullied, taken advantage of, and otherwise being victimized -- depending on their Co-Morbidities (eg. anxiety, depression, etc). For myself, I lived with a financially abusive partner for years. I was teased in school.

ASPDers and Psychopaths enjoy stealing from and hurting people. They even blame their Victims for being victimized. (Their cognitive distortions are at work.)

The active, uncaring violation of other's rights is more tied to failed early childhood bonding development, and abuse and neglect they experienced early in life. (aka Charles Manson, Ken Bianchi, Ted Bundy, Hitler, etc)

These folks have faulty OBJECTS-RELATIONS. They see their victims as 'objects to use' for their own profit. They can't see people as people.

That is not ADHD.

Thank you,


01-28-06, 08:26 PM
re: #2, Tourettes & incarceration.

That is not surprising. Tourettes is, like some ADHD, an Impulse Disorder

It occurs in many strengths, as does ADHD. (eg. some are highly impulsive, say, verbally, or with gambling/overspending; others of us are not.)

Their mouths (saying things; death threats, maybe?) and hands (stealing; hitting) would get them in 'Conflict with the Law", depending on the severity of their disinhibition level of their impulses.

Depending onthe law of the country, a good forensic psychiatrist would get them out in a heartbeat, i'm sure. (At least here in Canada; the USA is less tolerant of forensic patients/mentally disordered offenders.)

Some TD folks can improve on meds. (But not Stimulant meds. That worsens things, i understand.)


01-30-06, 02:03 PM
Actually, after Tourettes is treated stimulent medication is sometimes also used. For some ADHD meds actually improve their Tourettes symptom -- for others they make them worse.

Tourettes, ADHD, OCD and addictions all show a high rate 60%+ of a similar gene (D2R2, I believe it's called) that effects the dopamine transporters. While OCD is not associated to my knowledge with criminal conduct, addictions obviously are and as a impulse disorder those with ADHD with Conduct disorder have a high rate of incarceration. I read once that a researcher doing the kind of prison research that is no longer allowed, collected data that would meet our current definition of ADHD for about 80% of inmates.


01-31-06, 12:48 PM
2002 Dyslexia and AD/HD among Swedish Prison Inmates ( 3148&referrer=parent&backto=issue,6,7;journal,7,11;linkingpublicationre sults,1:105638,1): "Twenty-eight (62%) were diagnosed with dyslexia, in line with our previous study. Childhood hyperactivity was reported by 25 of the inmates (55%) and persisted into adulthood for half of these subjects".

"In Los Angeles it found that children diagnosed with ADHD between 6 and 12 years old had significantly higher juvenile (46% versus 11%) and adult (21% versus 1%) arrest rates. An average ADHD sufferer cost society through crime $12,868 compared to the average non-sufferer who only cost $498."

This may be a factor in ADHD crime rates
"Compared to the control group, the ADHD adults started having sex a year earlier; about a third dropped out of high school, compared with none of the control group; 1 out of 3 had become parents by their early 20s vs. 1 in 25 of the controls. They also had less than half the savings and more debt."

01-31-06, 03:35 PM
I'm a criminal defense attorney. This is based on my observations- not on research.

The VAST MAJORITY of my clients either ADHD/ODD, bipolar, and/or depressive. They self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

01-31-06, 06:27 PM
When you walk into the office at our school, the above group are always the majority of kids sitting in chairs waiting to see a VP. When a kid does something major at school, odds are the kid has ADHD.

02-01-06, 09:32 PM
When you walk into the office at our school, the above group are always the majority of kids sitting in chairs waiting to see a VP. When a kid does something major at school, odds are the kid has ADHD.This is not surprising, when by definition ADHD (at least the kind with the H) involves an impulse control problem. It will be even clearer if Barkley's Behavioral Inhibition Disorder ever comes to replace ADHD.

02-01-06, 09:47 PM
I have talked to a few former inmates who gave surveys to other inmates while in prison and they said about 80% of the people they asked had AD/HD symptoms. Yes, I know this isn't scientific and the people have not been officially diagnosed but it's a start.

It really suprises me that there has not been more research done on the prison population.

I went to a wonderful session at the 2004 CHADD Conference. The presenters were two police officers from the UK who noticed that a lot of the young people they were arresting had AD/HD symptoms. They began a program supporting and treating these kids for AD/HD and the crime rate where they lived was reduced drastically.

I can't remember their names or what part of the UK they were from but people at the session including Tom Brown were all very impressed.

02-02-06, 12:07 AM
I did a little reading and the guess is that about 25% of the population has ADHD.

Here is some more from PBS and Dr.'s Klein and Mannuzza.

"Substance Abuse

Klein and Mannuzza found that in adolescence, the ADHD subjects were more likely than the controls to develop Substance Use Disorder. (SUD) (17% v. 2%). Interestingly, however, it was only those who subsequently developed Conduct Disorder who showed this increased risk, so it was not the ADHD itself that predicted the SUD.

It is also interesting to note that the discrepancy between the ADHD subjects and the controls only existed for substances other than alcohol; they were no more likely than the control subjects to have a problem with drinking.

Criminal behavior

ADHD children may be at higher risk for criminal behavior. Klein and Mannuzza found that 39% of their ADHD subjects had been arrested in adolescence or early adulthood, compared to 20% of the controls. Conviction rates for the former ADHD children were also higher, 28% v. 11%. However, as with substance abuse, the arrest and conviction rates among the ADHD subjects were higher only for those who also had developed Conduct Disorder or Anti-Social Personality Disorder later in life.

Four percent of the ADHD subjects were incarcerated in adulthood, while none of the controls were."

02-02-06, 09:10 AM
I am 44, adhd and recently medicated. I went to a private catholic school for 12 years and didn't get into much trouble when growing up because I had parents that were very involved in what I did, who I was with, etc...As I grew older, I didn't get in trouble myself, but I did hang around with the wrong crowd alot.

My husband is 45, add and recently medicated. He is one of 8 boys in his family. All add in denial. They all still self medicate with drugs or alcohol. All did bad in school. Half dropped out. Half are divorced. All of them have financial problems. My husband always hung out with the wrong crowd. His mom is still in denial as to anything being wrong with any of them. They were "just being boys". Luckily neither he nor any of his brothers ended up in jail for anything but they were mighty close alot of times and several of their friends are in jail.

My 12 year old son is adhd, ocd and mood disorder. He's been medicated since preschool due to being so off the chart hyper.

He always seems to flock toward other adhd kids. "Birds of a feather flock together." Whenever he is in trouble at school, it always involves another kid in his special education class.

We are constantly reminding him that he needs to hang with the right crowd because it's by association. If someone does something wrong and he is with them, he will also get in trouble. We constantly tell him about people we know that were at the wrong place at the wrong time and got in trouble. It's just not worth it.

We know how important incentives are for him to be good. If he stays in school, hangs around with the right crowd, and doesn't do drugs, he has a 77 Harley Shovelhead sitting in the garage waiting for him plus a 47 Chevy (Bonnie and Clyde car).

The kids I know that are juvenile delinquents do show signs of a mental issue that has not been properly diagnosed and/or are not properly medicated. Usually their parent also has issues of their own. Alot of these kids don't have insurance and we all know how expensive add/adhd medication is. Plus how expensive it is to go for doctor visits several times a year. Plus some don't have transportation there. Plus how time consuming it is to take off work to go, etc...

It's no wonder that these kids end up in jail as adults. They don't get the help they need in jail or out of jail. And the vicious cycle continues.... They have kids with mental issues, who don't get properly diagnosed and medicated..who end up in jail....and have kids that.....

02-02-06, 03:28 PM
While the ADHD part of things is by in large a genetic thing the progression of ODD to Conduct disorder to criminal behavior also has a lot to do with the environmental circumstances. A loving stable family who sets good boundaries and get appropriate treatment for their child can do a lot to help minimize the bad and accentuate the good -- so all you ADDer parents out there keep on plugging -- you make a huge difference to your kids!!! Sam Goldstein writes some very encouraging words related to the difference families make!


02-02-06, 08:56 PM
Kids who have conduct, Mary, and Joseph(JMJ for short). Parenting a kid with conduct disorder must be one of the most challenging tasks that is ever asked of any parent. The few true CD kids that have come through our school are already invovled in with the law and usually don't last long in High School. They just do too many things that really rubs against the grain and there is very little tolerance for them. I can see how they would statistically have much poorer outcomes in life.

02-02-06, 11:59 PM
I agree that environment plays a huge part in people with AD/HD ending up in the prison system. It 's not just the home though it's peers, the education system, social services system. It's amazing how one choice somebody makes at the age of 13 can have a dominie effect that has them spending a good part of their teens and early adulthoot in the prison system.

Plus quite often they just throw these people back into the streets after they have served their time. So we take somebody with untreated AD/HD who was just in a highly structured envirnoment and throw them the streets with no structure. Talk about being overwhelmed and over stimulated.

Imagine if just a fraction of these people received a proper diagnosis and began treatment with support in place. Imagine if in addtion to the probation and/or parole officers that these people also received counseling and coaching.

Matt S.
01-12-07, 02:10 PM
I think the generalization that ASPD people stay that way or even want to is just plain wrong. I literally feel no guilt or remorse because there is something missing that let's me understand something that I NEVER LEARNED. I also have a few other axis II labels as a result of no empathy and rage and anal retentiveness. I don't know that I can ever learn love/hate in the same way as other people but honestly I was treated heinously as a child and left to adapt a sense of behavior and emotion after being severely abused. I feel even worse about myself because of the lack of shame. I probably shouldn't even mention the ASPD aspect of my illness because I am doing it the reasonable way and there are a lot of people most of whom aren't scumbags in jail who are Sociopaths and I resent that the standard of belief is that they are stuck that way. I know it sounds as if I am Mr. Victim here and after my brave admission to antisocial personality disorder... I feel righteous in my saying that NOT ALL OF US WANT TO STAY OR BE CONSIDERED SCUMBAGS FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES... I can say that I can't use what I never learned when my experience has centered around expressing too much forced guilt to not be beaten to a pulp or medicated to a zombie yet the fact that I was raped for years and beaten was just brushed under the rug as "bipolar disorder" which was a diagnosis that turned me into a pathologically dependent person who has spent years throwing tantrums and can't receive help for my illness because regardless of how quick i can sense a sociopath, the 'standard' of treatment doesn't offer a lot of help besides JAIL.

01-18-07, 06:41 PM
I guess you may know that my SO ran Forensic Assessment on a Minimum and Medium Secure Unit at a hospital here in Canada.


The Forensic Assessment side of things would say:

ASPD (and CD) moreso predict criminality, not ADHD alone.

In fact, the opposite outcome can occur -- there are plenty of ADHDers who have never had conflict with the law.

In fact, some of us, who have ADHD -- but not Axis II pathology (like CD or ASPD) -- are more likely to become VICTIMS of crimes and be bullied .

ASPD and criminality are esp. likely to result if the CD (which precedes ASPD in childhood] emerged before age 8. (Based on CD literature I have read.)

CD is basically a childhood form of ASPD.

The ADHD factor most responsible for conflict with the law would be IMPULSIVITY. Most crimes are Impulsive in nature. (Even those looking for drug money/stuff to fence/"boost" will see something thru a car window, or house window, and decide [b]impulsively [on the spot], to rob THAT house or THAT car. I think little crime is terribly pre-planned, and done leaving no clues... those that are have the least likelihood of being caught!)

You would also have a segment of gullible, bullied or low-IQ ADHD kids raised in anti-social parenting/settings who are 'conned' into taking the fall for the CD/ASPD kids that they associate with.

Canada has a famous inmate named Serena Nicotine. She is a gorgeous Native Canadian (who 'looks normal') but has low IQ, moderate FAS/FAE, and ADHD, and other problems. She is a designated "dangerous offender" b/c she will do whatever she is told. Someone said "hey, i think you should stab that girl with a pencil", and she did.

01-18-07, 08:39 PM
Gee it could be due to years of society treating the different kid like crap tooo

Expecting us to remain seated because that is what they want and they don't give a hang about our pain. . . . . . after years and years of this yea it might effect the out look on life just a little bit.

I am learning this week

It isn't always the ADD. . . . . .it is time society take thier share of the blame.

I am hyperactive and not a criminal I have have been don't plan to start now.

Matt S.
01-19-07, 12:49 PM
I am I guess learning something because I hurt someones feelings and felt sick and sad over it so maybe the Antisocial dx isn't 100% solid in it's treatment stereotype of they will never feel guilt etc.

01-19-07, 02:07 PM
I haven't been able to find anything more recent either which really surpises.They're not allowed to do that kind of research on prisoners now like they once could -- prisoners rights and all that stuff (never mind that such research might keep some of them out of prision in the future). The older statistics I've seen based on descriptions of criminals and how we'd apply that to the DSM diagnosis of ADHD is pretty high 50 - 90%.

Kind of makes sense that impulsive folks who don't have a good handle on the future and consequences might get into more trouble. Especially since they're probably not doing as well at school and having more problems in their social relationships. According to Barkley, however primarily inattentives don't have an increased risk of anti social behavior.

Whether someone with ADHD develops conduct disorder or ASPD has an awful lot to do with the type of environment in which they grew up. The fact of ADHD is mostly genetic, but the expression of it is very much influenced by environment.