FASD Central has had a long standing relationship with the criminal justice system due to our clear understanding of the over-representation of individuals suspected or diagnosed with FASD in the system. We believe that only when there is a ongoing platform for FASD dialogue between individuals at all levels, including persons with lived experience, will we be able to create better solutions – both inside and outside institutions.
Because the disability of FASD is so misunderstood, we know that many adults have gone undiagnosed and untreated for most of their lives – and, more often than not, they have been failed by all systems put in place to help. It proves how resilient persons living with FASD are and calls us to action to respond in more meaningful ways.
Here is what we’ve accomplished in our region:
- In partnership with Bowden Institution, FASD Central has completed the only CSC (Corrections Services Canada) FASD Assessments in Canada. Yes, Canada.
- Since 2011, our Bowden Institution Project has established a system to focus on identification, referral, assessment and discharge to community planning for individuals who screen for or are known to be FASD affected.
- September 2017, our Corrections Service Coordinator began regular visits to Red Deer Remand to address the frequent Network referrals. To respond to need and demand in the institution and TRC’s Calls to Action #33 & #34, FASD Central introduced weekly Wellbriety sessions.
- March 2018, in partnership with NW Central FASD Network, we presented information for Edmonton Remand female residents about the causes of FASD, how to prevent it, and where to get support for self and family upon release to their community.
- Since March 2018, partnership initiatives have expanded at Edmonton Remand to include Early Intervention & Youth Branch | Youth Suicide Prevention to introduce the topics of suicide prevention and resiliency into the presentations for women.
- May 2018, FASD Central presented FASD workshops to members of the Parole Board of Canada.
- June 2018, FASD Central presented FASD workshops to the office of the Correctional Investigator.
- August 2018, in partnership with NW Central FASD Network, we presented information for the staff of EIFW (Edmonton Institute for Women). Routine FASD sessions will commence in September for residents.
- September 2018, FASD Central resumes ongoing training at Bowden Institution for both staff and residents.
We hear from Corrections Services Canada and Provincial jails, that they require ongoing FASD awareness education, FASD informed training, and targeted support so that they can better understand and respond to prenatally exposed individuals in their care. A systems-wide approach is of particular relevance in the criminal justice system, due to the high national cost and recidivism rates for individuals with FASD.
FASD Central has embarked on a quest to provide training and support to as many criminal justice institutions as we are able, even so our mandate is not National. We cannot do this alone – a strategic view and proper funding is required to initiate pan-Canadian approaches to address this crisis. We’re tenacious, so stay tuned.