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Date posted: 19 March 2014
New research is set to provide a better picture of those affected by Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in the West Australian (WA) prison system.
The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research was awarded in February more than $1.4 million in funding to screen young offenders for FASD, and provide training and FASD education for those working in the criminal justice system.
Chief Investigator for the project, Winthrop Professor, Carol Bower, says clear data is needed for a fuller understanding of the rates of people with FASD in prisons. 'We'll be able to actually identify how many kids in detention have Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We don't even know that now.'
It comes following calls nationally for a better outcome for those with FASD in the prison system.
The Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign says more than 30 people a year are detained in WA jails because they're mentally impaired and are unfit to plead.
Campaign Co-ordinator, Patrick McGee, says there's an imbalance when it comes to those affected. 'The only people who are indefinitely detained are Indigenous people. These are Australian citizens. They deserve the same rights to justice that you or I enjoy.'
Mr McGee would like to see limiting terms placed on judgements, rather than an option for indefinite detention. 'People need to know what's going on, and when it will end.'
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation