FASD and the Criminal Justice System: From Arrest to Community Supervision Webinar


1 Hour | 1 CE (CEU)

Program Description

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term designated for a group of disorders that are caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. FASD may consist of a wide range of physical (e.g., abnormal facial structure), cognitive (e.g., executive control and short- and long-term memory), social (e.g., verbal and non-verbal communication skills), and adaptive (e.g., decision making and problem-solving ability) symptoms. Because these symptoms can vary in their presence and severity, along with their high rates of comorbidity with other psychiatric and developmental disorders, FASD often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. As a result, individuals with FASD typically do not receive the appropriate treatment and services. In the absence of adequate treatment, individuals with FASD are prone to involvement in the criminal justice system as victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of crime. Unfortunately, FASD also makes it difficult for these individuals to navigate the criminal justice system. For example, FASD may interfere with competency to make legal decisions (e.g., waive Miranda rights or the right to an attorney) or stand trial, increase the risk for false confessions and wrongful convictions, and make it difficult to comply with the requirements of confinement and community supervision. These problems emphasize the importance of increasing the awareness of FASD among criminal justice, forensic mental health, and legal professionals.

The overarching purpose of this advanced level training is to begin with a review of the definitional features of FASD and then explore the diverse consequences of FASD in criminal justice settings. Participants are expected to arrive at the training with a basic understanding of FASD, which is built upon by six key training objectives. First, the training provides a comprehensive review of the warning signs, behavioral indicators, and consequences associated with FASD. This also includes a discussion of the DSM-5’s recently proposed Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE; APA, 2013). Second, attendees explore the comorbidity of FASD with other developmental and psychiatric disorders, cognitive impairments, and victimization. In particular, the proneness to victimization observed in this group confers risk for developing trauma-related issues such as PTSD. Third, attendees acquire a basic working understanding of how FASD increases the likelihood of criminal justice involvement. During the course of this objective, the prevalence rates of FASD in criminal justice settings and the general population is covered along with a discussion of FASD’s role in different criminal behaviors (e.g., firesetting and sexually inappropriate behaviors). Fourth, attendees learn how a range of FASD symptoms (e.g., short- and long-term memory loss, confabulation, and suggestibility) make it difficult for individuals with this disorder to successfully navigate the criminal justice system. In fact, memory impairments along with suggestibility and confabulation can increase the risk of false confessions, inaccurate testimony, and wrongful convictions. Fifth, the training identifies techniques to improve the assessment and treatment of individuals with FASD in criminal justice settings. Accompanying these tips is a review of common barriers and challenges during these processes. Sixth, this training concludes by discussing existing FASD research and identify future directions for FASD research in criminal justice settings. Together, these six key training objectives present an opportunity for professionals from criminal justice and mental health backgrounds to develop a stronger understanding of FASD’s deleterious impact in the criminal justice system while identifying ways to help address these issues.

Webinar Outline
This webinar covers six key training objectives.

  • A comprehensive review of FASD
  • Comorbidity of FASD
  • FASD and criminal justice involvement
  • FASD symptoms
  • Assessment and treatment of individuals with FASD
  • FASD research

Intended Audience
This webinar is relevant for mental health professionals and legal professionals who want to understand how FASD can impact a defendant’s competence-related abilities, including those working in forensic, clinical, criminal justice, health care, social service, and educational settings. This webinar is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:


  • Describe the warning signs, consequences, and DSM criteria of ND-PAE/FASD
  • Describe the comorbidity of FASD with other psychiatric disorders and victimization
  • Describe a basic working understanding of how FASD increases the likelihood of criminal justice involvement
  • Describe how a range of FASD symptoms make it difficult for individuals with this disorder to successfully navigate the criminal justice system
  • Describe techniques to improve the assessment and treatment of individuals with FASD in criminal justice settings
  • Describe existing FASD research and identify future directions for FASD research in criminal justice settings
  • About Jerrod Brown

    Jerrod Brown, Ph.D., is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the lead developer of an online Master of Arts degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Forensic Behavioral Health from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota, the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST) and the Journal of Special Populations (JSP). Jerrod has completed four separate master’s degree programs and holds graduate certificates in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Other Health Disabilities (OHD), and Traumatic-Brain Injuries (TBI). Jerrod is certified as a Youth Firesetter Prevention/Intervention Specialist, Thinking for a Change (T4C) Facilitator, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Trainer, and a Problem Gambling Treatment Provider.

    Continuing Education Credit

    This Distance Learning Recorded Webinar is an online Training Program. To earn CE’s, you will have to complete the webinar quiz and evaluation for this Distance Learning Recorded Webinar. No partial credit is available. For this webinar, you will need to pass the webinar quiz with 70% correct and complete a webinar evaluation form to earn the certificate. You can take the test as many times as necessary to pass. Participants will earn 1.5 CE hour for completion once they have completed these requirements. Each participant will be able to print their CE certificate immediately after completing and passing the post-test and evaluation.

    Board Approvals: APA, CPA, NBCC. Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

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