Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Offender Populations: 

  • Jerrod Brown Pathways Counseling Center, Inc., American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS)
  • Deborah A. Eckberg Metropolitan State University (MN)
  • Mario L. Hesse St. Cloud State University (MN)
  • Nikki Freeman
  • Julie Martindale


A lack of screening tools for the identification of offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is problematic. The development of tools to help identify the disorder in offender populations would enhance treatment and intervention outcomes, while preventing subsequent criminality. This article addresses issues related to the development of screening tools, including the current state of screening, presence of comorbid symptomology, warning signs that should trigger screening, and consequences of inaccurate identification. The development of effective tools is critical as a means to effectively identify and modify approaches for working with offenders with FASD.

Keywords: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), identification, offender, screening 

Author Biographies

Jerrod Brown, Pathways Counseling Center, Inc., American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS)

Jerrod Brown, MA, MS, MS, MS, is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST). Jerrod is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctoral degree program in psychology. 

Deborah A. Eckberg, Metropolitan State University (MN)

Dr. Deborah A. Eckberg, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University (MN) and the Director of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program. Dr. Eckberg’s research and teaching interests span a wide range of topics related to criminal courts, special populations in the criminal justice system, and program evaluation. 

Mario L. Hesse, St. Cloud State University (MN)

Dr. Mario L. Hesse, Ph.D. is a Professor of Criminal Justice at St. Cloud State University (MN). Dr. Hesse’s research and teaching interests focus on corrections, gangs and media and crime. Mario has extensive practitioner-based experience working in the corrections field (adult community-based programs, juvenile detention centers and juvenile probation). 

Nikki Freeman

Nikki Freeman, MA, LPCC, is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Certified Facilitator of the FASCETS Neurobehavioral Model. She has clinical experience in many settings: school-based mental health, in-home therapy, therapeutic foster care, behavioral health coaching, and case management. She specializes in using the neurobehavioral approach with people who have FASD and their caregivers at Hardy& Stephens Counseling Associates in Elk River, MN. Nikki has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. 

Julie Martindale

Julie Martindale, BA, is a consultant and trainer in the areas of disability, FASD and adoption related issues. As a parent of a son with autism, she has worked as a parent-to-parent advocate for families as they seek appropriate educational, social, and legal services for their child with autism and other disabling conditions. Her graduate work has focused on child psychology and education. Additionally, she serves on the Ethics Committee at Children’s Hospital Minnesota and speaks to medical professionals regarding health care practices and those with an ASD diagnosis. She has volunteered with ARC Minnesota, North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), and served on the STARS Children’s Mental Health board of directors.