Roseanne Fulton free on bail after assault

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS ARTICLE: Roseanne Fulton free on bail after assault

Yahoo! 7 News, 11 July 2014

Accessed on: 18 July 2014

Commentary by: Jeanelle Mandes

Rosie Fulton, from Alice Springs – the largest town in the Northern Territory in Australia, was incarcerated in an Australian prison for crashing a stolen vehicle.

She “was deemed unfit to stand trial because she has fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) and the mental age of a young child.”

Although it doesn’t specify if her FASD diagnosis was addressed or not, it makes you wonder about issues of vulnerability those with FASD face when it comes to crime.

According to a FASD online fact sheet, “People with FASD generally have problems understanding abstract concepts such as money or law. Theft of money is different to a person who is able to understand the value of money.”

“This difficulty with abstraction means that many persons with FASD cannot adequately imagine or consider the future. This places them at risk during stages of court processing, such as plea-bargaining, sentencing or a parole hearing, not to mention in their everyday life.

“FASD also increases vulnerability to manipulation and coercion because they want to please those they perceive to be in positions of authority.”

After reviewing the fact sheet and the news source, it indicates how some people with FASD can be easily intimidated by others. It’s unfortunate society takes advantage of those who have FASD looking at them as puppets on a string.

In situations such as Rosie Fulton, it is such a sad reality that she was sent to a prison because the Australian legal system didn’t have a place for her that met her needs. But there are people like the 120,000 who signed a petition to free Fulton that show the support and understanding of FASD.


Click here to see a CBC video called “Justice for people with FASD who commit crimes”.

Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing ‘The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself’

Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing: ‘The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself’

Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing: ‘The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself’

Kamloops: The Daily News (October 23rd, 2013) (Accessed November 3, 2013)

Commentary by Krystal Glowatski

Derek Baptiste, an inmate at KRCC (Kamloops), will serve one additional year in prison for stabbing a fellow inmate.  While the defence wanted the one-year sentence to be served concurrently, to avoid the “warehouse” phenomenon, the judge agreed with the Crown that one additional year is not excessive.  Baptiste was originally jailed for: four break-and-enters, a breach of recognizance, and possession of a dangerous weapon.  Based on these offences, the fact that this individual has FASD, and the recent Consensus Development Conference on FASD and Legal Issues, there are likely a number of people out there who would argue that jail is excessive for this individual.

While FASD should not be a “get-out-of-jail-free-card,” there should be special consideration for the issues that plague individuals with FASD.  Unfortunately, these individuals are vulnerable to begin with and placing them in prisons only makes them that much more susceptible to victimization.  Alternative forms of accountability should be considered more often when the court is aware of an individual’s diagnosis of FASD.  As stated in the draft of the Consensus Statement (Vol. 5), it is recommended that there should be consideration by Parliament to make conditional sentences more available for vulnerable individuals, such as those who have FASD.  I suppose the question remains – where should these changes take root?  Is it the responsibility of judges to acknowledge FASD and use what discretion they have to recognize the special considerations necessary to help these individuals, or is it the responsibility of higher powers such as the government to drastically change legislation?  This is an interesting case, in which the individual is documented as having FASD (something that isn’t often recognized in the prison population), yet he was sentenced based on regular standards.  Perhaps more time is needed to start seeing changes within sentencing as they have been envisioned at the Consensus Development Conference in September 2013.