Carceral abolition as disability justice for incarcerated people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

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Weir, Victoria
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People with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) are overrepresented in the Canadian carceral system (Flannigan et al., 2018a; Flannigan et al., 2018b; MacPherson et al., 2011; McLachlan, 2017). Reports indicate that their experiences in custody tend to be marked by higher rates of trauma, violence, and institutional struggles, contributing to continued contact with the carceral system over their lifetimes (Baldry, 2018; Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, 2020). Despite this adversity, a review of the existing literature indicates that research about FASD and contact with the carceral system has not adequately critiqued the legitimacy of the carceral system itself. Exploration of possible alternatives to imprisonment for people with FASD has been limited. The experiences of people with FASD in the carceral system underscore the need for prison abolition and the development of robust alternatives to incarceration. Research demonstrates that community-based alternatives, such as restorative justice, can be successfully adapted to meet the needs of people with FASD (Blagg et al., 2019; Evans & Bourgon, 2020; Flannigan et al., 2022). Furthermore, these alternative justice strategies are a meaningful step toward achieving both prison abolition and disability justice.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, FASD, prison abolition, disability justice, restorative justice