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NCJ Number: 134843 Find in a Library
Title: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome -- Its Impact on Corrections
Journal: American Jails  Volume:5  Issue:6  Dated:(January-February 1992)  Pages:20-22,24
Author(s): W Jones
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 4
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Long-term behavioral effects of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are often the same behavioral characteristics observed in jails, leading the author to conclude that a significant percentage of high recidivist inmates are adults with unrecognized FAS.
Abstract: Doctors have noted that babies born with FAS are abnormally small in both weight and length for their birth age; the babies also exhibit unique facial features. In addition, FAS babies manifest various central nervous system problems which usually include some degree of mental retardation. Other signs of central nervous system involvement are delayed development, hyperactivity, attention deficits, learning disabilities, and seizures. In continuing studies at the University of Washington, doctors have discovered that adolescents and adults with FAS demonstrate significant levels of maladaptive behaviors including social withdrawal, impulsiveness, teasing and bullying, being stubborn or sullen, lying, cheating and stealing, being negative or defiant, and showing a lack of consideration for others. Researchers have also discovered that FAS adolescents and adults fail to consider the consequences of their actions, may show little initiative, and tend to be unaware of appropriate social behavior. With the preceding effects of FAS in mind, the impact on corrections is twofold: directly through inmates who may be adult victims of FAS, and indirectly through interaction with women of childbearing age. Research indicates alcohol is such a potent toxin that even if the mother drinks only occasionally, her child may be permanently damaged in some manner. Perhaps the greatest hope lies in prevention; FAS is totally preventable if pregnant women do not drink. Providing information on FAS is a low-cost step that every jail can take. 13 endnotes
Main Term(s): Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Index Term(s): Alcoholic beverage consumption; Children of alcoholics; Drug effects; Inmate characteristics; Pregnant inmates
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