Justice System Failing to Deal with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Image: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, caused by excessive drinking whilst a child is in utero, has had a devastating impact on many communities in Australia. (FLICKR: NICO NELSON)

Image: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, caused by excessive drinking whilst a child is in utero, has had a devastating impact on many communities in Australia. (FLICKR: NICO NELSON)

People suffering from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, also known as FasD, often have reduced impulse control and are simply too trusting. Others are violent and so cognitively impaired that they are unfit to stand trial. But when defendants with FASD come to the attention of the law, they often encounter a system that seems fundamentally unable to cope with the range of challenging behaviours that their disorder brings. As a result, many end up behind bars, in some cases for just minor offenses.

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