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ADD/ADHD News

July 18th 2003

Many Young Offenders
Could Have ADHD

Feltham Young Offenders Institution

In an interview with BBC News yesterday, one of the UK's leading ADHD specialist's, Dr. Geoff Kewley, revealed that he believed many young offenders could be suffering from the condition. The report goes as far as saying the figure could be as high as 60%, and that Dr. Kewley believes as many as 95% of those could be successfully treated. You can read more of the article on the BBC website by clicking here.

Sadly this is what many of us working with ADHD youngsters have been saying for a number of years. Our own article in the Autumn 1997 issue of The Prison Reform Trust Magazine, highlighted this very problem. Now it appears the penny may finally be dropping, as according to this report, "Although other experts disagree the figure could be so high, the Youth Justice Board is to investigate the problem" and Sir David Ramsbottom, former Chief Inspector of Prisons is reported to have said that, "he believed ADHD was a significant problem" and that, "All people coming in to young offenders institutions ought to be assessed for the whole variety of things that could be wrong with them."

Over the last 6 years we have been in touch with Government on this very issue and we know of prison governors who have been trying to get funding for just this type of screening when a young offender comes to them, so that they can be properly assessed and given the appropriate help.

Even if the figure is a half of 60%, surely it makes common sense to address the issue before young people slide into the downward spiral of the criminal justice system just from a cold cost effective point of view? More investment in early detection of ADHD and if necessary, appropriate treatment, at Junior School level must be the most sensible step to take?

Simon Hensby for adders.org

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