Logo of National Resource Center on AD/HD
Home · Register · NRC Library    in Spanish
Ask a Question About AD/HD
Dealing with Systems

Criminal and Juvenile Justice

Find us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter HelpForADHD on YouTube

Can't find what you're looking for? Our health information specialists are here to help. Contact us at 800-233-4050 or online.

Much like other systems, the laws governing the criminal and juvenile justice systems vary from state to state.

Juvenile Justice System

Youth with ADHD can come into contact with the juvenile justice system when he/she violates the law or as a result of a status offense, such as running away from home (Rouse, 2002).

When dealing with the juvenile justice system, it is important that all parties involved -- law enforcement officers, judges, detention facility staff, and others -- are aware of the youth's disability as well as any current treatment that the youth is receiving.

It is also important that parents and guardians know that even though a youth is involved with the juvenile justice system, the youth is still entitled to a free and appropriate public education.

Criminal Justice System

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 16 percent of the population in prison or jail has a mental illness.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, corrections facilities must provide screening, evaluation, and treatment for individuals with mental disabilities.

Also of significant importance is the transition from incarceration to community life, and reducing the chances of the individual with ADHD from re-entering the criminal justice system.

Many efforts are being made to improve the interaction between individuals with mental disorders and the criminal justice system:

  • jail diversion programs, such as mental health and drug courts
  • educating judges, police officers, correction facility staff, and others
  • helping recently released inmates access housing, mental health services, and public benefits 


Rouse, G. (2002, December). ADHD and the Juvenile Justice System. Attention!, 27-32.

Other Web Sites:

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Executive Function?
Can you help me find a doctor or mental health professional?
Is there a simple test to diagnose ADHD?
What is Section 504?
If I request an evaluation, doesn't the school have to do it?
View all Frequently Asked Questions

Ask a question about AD/HD

Print Page · Email Page · About Us · Contact Us
Terms of Use · Privacy Policy · Site Map