Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Suggestibility: Tips for Criminal Justice Interviewers

Jerrod Brown

Abstract


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the adaptive, behavioral, cognitive, physical, and social impairments that can result from prenatal alcohol exposure. Not only do these FASD symptoms increase the likelihood of victimization and entanglement in the criminal justice system, consequences associated with prenatal alcohol exposure may also contribute to a heightened risk of suggestibility. In criminal justice settings, suggestibility may confer a proneness to falsely confessing to criminal activity. The likelihood of false statements and confessions is exacerbated by the use of deceptive suggestions and leading questions, which constitute some of the “best practices” of contemporary interrogations. This article provides tips and interview strategies for criminal justice interviewers to consider when interviewing individuals with suspected or confirmed FASD.

Keywords: Criminal Justice, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Interviewing, Suggestibility

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[JLE] ISSN 2161-0231 (Online)

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