Panel Says Criminal Code Should Allow Conditional Sentences for People with FASD

Article excerpt

Conditional sentences best for FASD:study

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EDMONTON - A panel on legal issues facing people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is recommending conditional sentences would be better for those convicted of offences.

Ian Binnie, a former Supreme Court justice, chaired a panel which heard evidence from experts over three days in Edmonton.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy; conditions can include a range of physical, behaviour and learning problems.

On Friday, the jury came up with statement advocating that the federal government amend the Criminal Code to provide for conditional sentences for people with FASD.

Binnie said right now, judges have to sentence according to mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes brought in over the years by the Harper government.

But Binnie says people with FASD can't adjust to the structure of jail, and then parole.

He says the panel agreed that conditional sentences, along with house arrest, is the best way to help people with FASD reintegrate back into society. …