The word is out! FASD in the justice system is a hot topic.  The topic seems to have caught the attention of researchers, reporters, and intervention programs, with numerous recent research studies, news articles, and interventions highlighting the issue. The Edmonton Journal published an article about FASD and justice on January 22, revealing one man’s experiences with FASD and the law, which follows a general trend experience by many individuals with FASD. The article discusses the gaps in our system when working with offenders with FASD. Our system punishes criminals with the assumption that offenders will learn from the consequences of their actions. Individuals with FASD often lack the ability to learn from consequence and experience, which causes repeat offences, as is the case with the individual in the article.

The article quotes a number of experts suggesting that we need to find a new way of dealing with individuals with FASD after they commit an offence and an effective way of diverting them from committing an offence in the first place. The problem lies in HOW to divert/correct criminal behaviour within this population. For the man in the article, intervention came in the form of a supportive partner, an understanding neuropsychologist who encouraged healthy practices, and an advocacy program at Edmonton’s Bissell Centre

The Bissell Centre is an agency aimed at eliminating poverty in the community. The centre hosts and number of programs and resources with the goal of self sustainability, community participation, and daily needs being met for their clients.

Read the full article

For some previous posts about FASD and the criminal justice system, check out “FASD Interventions on CBC Radio” and “FASD and Criminal Justice Interventions“.