This webinar on FASD and the Criminal Justice System: A Review for Forensic Professionals is presented by Jerrod Brown, PhD.
In this webinar, participants can expect to learn about the benefits of routine screening for FASD in forensic settings and to acquire knowledge about the deficits commonly caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Specifically, the webinar focuses on how FASD may impact confabulation, competency, diminished capacity, disposition/sentencing, false confessions, sexually inappropriate behaviors, suggestibility, trial right deficits, and the likelihood of victimization during incarceration. Relevant research findings and case law are presented throughout the workshop.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a permanent disorder caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. FASD encompasses a range of symptoms including cognitive (e.g., intelligence, executive control, and memory), social (e.g., communication skills and suggestibility), and adaptive (e.g., decision making ability and capacity to solve problems) impairments. In combination with co-occurring disorders (e.g., ADHD, depression, anxiety, and substance use), the identification and assessment of FASD can become a complicated endeavor. To help address these complexities, Neurodevelopmental Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE) was identified as a disorder for future study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5th Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Nonetheless, many cases of FASD still go unidentified, which is particularly problematic because the disorder increases the likelihood of involvement in the criminal justice system. Further, the symptoms of FASD make it more difficult for an individual to participate in the criminal justice system (i.e., waive rights, enter pleas, stand trial, and abide by community supervision).
Research suggests that FASD is overrepresented in forensic settings and can present unique challenges and significant management problems for mental health, correctional, and legal professionals. These obstacles are often exacerbated when individuals with FASD are not accurately identified and responsively treated.