The invisible disability caught in Canada’s prison system

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

The young man was illiterate, had an IQ below 70 and couldn’t tell time on an analog clock.

After receiving a court-ordered curfew, he started asking other people to notify him when it was 8 PM, in order to comply with that condition. Karrie-Noelle Plohman — an outreach program manager at Winnipeg’s Touchstone FASD Program who worked with the man — recalls that he quickly became aware of what it looked like outside at certain times, and when the sun set.

But the seasons changed. The sun started setting at different times.

“So he ended up getting repeated curfew breaches simply because he couldn’t actually tell time,” Plohman says.

It’s just one of the many problems that people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)  face in the criminal justice system due to difficulties with impulse control, learning from mistakes and understanding complex instructions…

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