Chapter 8 Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the criminal justice system
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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a condition caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol and characterised by severe neurodevelopmental impairment which have lifelong implications. Impairments in executive function, memory, cognition, language and attention are common, and can lead to early and repeat engagement with the criminal justice system. International research indicates that there is a high prevalence of FASD among individuals engaged with the justice system, but limited capacity within the system to respond to their needs. This chapter will describe the relevance of FASD to the criminal justice system and explore the challenges individuals with FASD may face throughout all stages of the justice system, such as during interactions with police, court proceedings, incarceration and complying to community-based orders. The need for the criminal justice system workforce to be aware of FASD and have the skills to adapt processes to meet an affected individual’s needs will also be discussed.

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