New Book "ADHD and The Criminal Justice System"
  A new book designed for people who work in the criminal justice system from police officers to jail staff, judges, attorneys, probation, prison and parole staff. Also useful for family members of loved ones who have gotten in trouble with the law.

(PRWEB) January 23, 2005 -- Patrick J. Hurley is co-author of "ADHD and the Criminal Justice System." Hurley said his contributions to the book largely are based on his own battle with and observations of others with ADHD. Press-Citizen / Jason A. Cook.

Living with attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder is akin to living within a personal mental prison, Patrick J. Hurley says. And it's no wonder that those with ADHD often times end up in trouble with the law, he said.

That's one reason why Hurley co-wrote "ADHD and the Criminal Justice System." Released Dec. 14, Hurley, 51, said his contributions to the book largely are based on his own battle with and observations of others with ADHD.

Hurley, an Iowa City native, worked in the Johnson County Sheriff's Department from 1972 to 1989. After that, he worked as a parole and probation officer for the Iowa Department of Corrections. In August 2003, Hurley founded the ADD Coaching Clinic in Cedar Rapids, where he works as a ADHD life skills coach.

"People who have run into problems with the law on repeat offenses, they're more frustrated than anybody else. They don't know why, but they keep running into problems," Hurley said. "A lot of people tend to have ADHD symptoms from time to time, but people with ADHD kind of struggle with them on a day-to-day basis."

ADHD is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, attention and, in some cases, hyperactivity. It is a neurological disorder that affects 3- to 5-percent of school-age children. However, it is now known that many symptoms continue into adulthood. Current research reflects rates of roughly 2 percent to 4 percent among adults, according to the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder Web site.

"It's primarily genetic. It's a combination of genes, but no one quite knows what the combination is," said Robert Eme, Hurley's brother-in-law, a psychology professor at Argosy University in Schaumburg, Ill., and co-author of the book.

Eme said people with ADHD typically develop other disorders, such as depression, which requires psychosocial treatment in addition to medical treatment for the ADHD.

Hurley said he was diagnosed with ADHD in the mid-1990s during a divorce from his first wife. He said family members noticed him acting strange so they suggested he see a doctor.

The doctor, who initially didn't think Hurley had ADHD, gave Hurley a series of tests. Hurley said he scored well on all but two of them. The doctor prescribed Ritalin, and when Hurley retook the tests, he said he scored significantly better.

"The changes in my life were just unbelievable. Before, I was struggling with self-esteem issues. I was always beating myself up over things I had done way back in the past," Hurley said. "As soon as I took medication, I wasn't doing that anymore. It didn't make sense to beat myself over those things anymore."

Hurley started researching ADHD and began cataloging his experiences. As he did this, he said he began identifying people on the street with ADHD, including people he saw while he worked as a parole officer.

"I started realizing that I was seeing quite a few people who ran into problems with the criminal justice system. I started reading up on it and found there's quite a few people involved in the criminal justice system that were previously diagnosed with ADHD when they were younger and had no longer taken medication."

Hurley said one estimate cited in his book lists as many as 70 percent of criminals have ADHD. Hurley said he is not sure if he believes the estimate is that high, but he does think there is a "significant" number of with diagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD.

The book, Hurley said, was originally intended for cops, lawyers, judges and workers in the criminal justice system. However, he said the book might be helpful for people whose family members are inexplicably running into problems with the law.

Eme said he hopes the book will raise awareness of the problem.

"I hope that, because the criminal justice system is so ignorant about this, it provides much better treatment to individuals who have it with the result hopefully having more success as opposed to abysmal failures," Eme said.

By Mike McWilliams
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Posted January 2, 2005
The book is available at or at 

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