Prisoners in Scotland’s jails should undergo tests for signs of brain injury and be prescribed mood-altering drugs to help bring down re-offending rates, according to experts.
Studies have shown that up to half of the prison population have suffered brain trauma caused by accidents and assaults that could be a factor in persistent offending.
Now the Howard League Scotland, a penal reform charity, is urging the Scottish Prison Service to introduce screening programmes to pick up injuries that could be treated using drugs. Research has found that criminals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – which can be caused by brain injury – who took drugs such as Ritalin were between 32 and 41 per cent less likely to re-offend.
Trials of screening systems are already taking place south of the Border, including at HMP Leeds, and will be rolled out to include young offenders found to have traumatic brain injury.