Searching for Accommodations within the Ontario Criminal Justice System for Persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Views of Social Service Agency and Justice Professionals
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Although persons with intellectual disabilities have been conceptualized as having rights to equality in Canada and internationally, there continue to be gaps in the delivery of justice when they are involved within the criminal process. The literature consistently reported that individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASDs) often experienced challenges within the justice system, such as difficulty understanding abstract legal concepts (Conry & Fast, 2009). In the Canadian legal system, accommodations are available to enable persons with disabilities to receive equal access to justice; however, how these are applied to persons with FASDs had not been fully explored in the literature. In this study, in-depth interviews were conducted with social service agency workers (n=10) and justice professionals (n=10) regarding their views of the challenges persons with FASDs experience in the justice system and their suggestions on the use of accommodations. The findings showed that while supports have been provided for individuals with intellectual disabilities, there has been a lack of specialized accommodations available specifically for individuals with FASDs in accessing their right to justice.