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Newsletter of the Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee
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Human Services and Justice

April 2015


Message from the Co-Chair

I will admit, in taking on the role of P-HSJCC co-chair I have some very big shoes to fill. Sandie Leith acted as the Provincial HSJCC co-chair for two years, and together with Katie Almond, provided strong, consistent leadership to this diverse group of passionate people. Sandie’s contributions to the HSJCC include: advocating for an HSJCC secretariat, helping to plan the 2013 conference, and strengthening the partnerships between the HSJCC, CMHA Ontario, CAMH, and our partner ministries. 

Getting to know Sandie over the last few years, there is one thing that quickly became clear to me. Sandie has an unwavering dedication to the people we all work to serve.  Individuals and families who have experienced firsthand what we call the “intersections of the justice and mental health systems,“ but what some call a reality of life. And it is for those individuals and families that we are here. Sandie’s ability to maintain a course focused on improving system collaboration and client care has been enduring enough to withstand the strong winds of political change and service system challenge, when others may have become frustrated.  You can see now, why I was a little nervous to follow such an outstanding leader. 

I thought it may be helpful to tell you a little bit about myself. At present, I am approaching my one year anniversary as the Director of Research, Evaluation and Quality Improvement at CMHA Simcoe County Branch. Prior to this appointment I managed the justice and opioid treatment programs at CMHA Simcoe County for three highly enjoyable years. My background is primarily in mental health and addictions and I have been fortunate to work in a variety of roles and settings, ranging from hospital-based research in Ottawa, to street-outreach in Toronto.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the Provincial HSJCC for the past three years and look forward to the opportunity to be more actively involved in the invaluable work of this group. 

As I look ahead to the 2015/16 year I do so with excitement and anticipation. We have the HSJCC Conference: Mobilizing Communities in November. We have webinars including Gendered Pathways to Crime (April) and Bridging the Gap between Mental Health and Criminal Justice Sectors by addressing the Social Determinants of Health (May). We have work being done to look at specialized courts across the province, develop a new and improved HSJCC website and to provide a comprehensive justice system resource booklet to everyone in the HSJCC network. All of this work is possible because of a group of like-minded people who truly want to improve the mental health and justice systems, and I am proud to play a small role in this work.  

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to be part of the HSJCC network and support this work. I would especially like to thank our partners at CMHA Ontario for their dedicated support. This is going to be a monumental year for the HSJCC and I am happy that we can all be part of it together.


Michael Dunn
Co-Chair, PHSJCC
mdunn@cmhastarttalking.ca
 

The Ontario Provincial Human Services & Justice Coordinating Committee,CMHA Ontario, and EENet present:
 

 Gendered Pathways to Crime

 
Thursday, 30 April 2015 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Overview:
This free webinar will explore the role that a history of victimization or mental health issues play in the responses of women to a correctional environment, and to the nature of the programming that women require.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understanding the different pathways to crime that related to gender 
  • Understanding and addressing the differences needs/risk of females in the criminal justice system to better develop programming for women
  • Understanding the research and evidence to promote gender responsive services in community corrections

Presenter:

Heather Lumley, MA , Executive Director of St. Leonard's Community Services, London and Region. Heather has over 15 yrs of experience in working with individuals with the full spectrum of mental health and addictions issues in community and hospital settings. She strives to improve collaboration and integration of services in our communities across the multi- sectors of care to promote positive change in all individuals.
 

Landmark study dispels ‘not criminally responsible’ myths

According to the National Trajectory Project, a landmark study published in the March 2015 edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, less than one-tenth of Canadians found not criminally responsible (NCR) on account of a mental disorder commit a serious violent crime. Moreover, 72 percent of NCR individuals have at least one psychiatric hospitalization before their offence and less than one percent re-commit a serious violent crime once released back into the community.
 
Researchers in the study analyzed 1,800 NCR cases to examine common pathways of people deemed NCR and to address some of the current misconceptions that are held about this population. Some of the most common notions about NCR cases involve serious personal violence, that the verdict is used far too frequently (and conveniently), and that, after a brief period of hospitalization, those found NCR are released back to the community where they promptly reoffend.
 
This important study helps to dispel many of these notions by offering the first evidence-based picture of the NCR population and contextualizing actual experiences of NCR individuals. The Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee commends this research and has been involved in this issue through submissions to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada around Bill C-14 the NCR Reform Act
 
Richard Kachkar’s story is a telling example. Kachkar is a man who was found NCR for fatally striking Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell with snowplow in 2011. After the incident, the media immediately labeled Kachkar as a “cop killer.” The reality behind the Kachkar story and many others like it, is actually grounded in our fragmented mental health care system. Kachkar and many other NCR individuals sought treatment for their serious mental illness before their crime was committed. So, in some ways, their crimes are a reflection on systemic failures of the mental health system.
 
Another important reality revealed by the study is that a NCR verdict does not mean the individual gets an “easy ride.” In fact, quite the contrary as many NCR individuals actually spend more time in a mental health hospital than they would have spent in jail if convicted of a crime. Furthermore, when NCR individuals are released back into the community for day visits, they are often subject to intense public scrutiny around community safety.
 
Yet, the study finds that NCR individuals are less likely to reoffend than those who commit less severe offences and go through the “traditional” correctional system. While recidivism or reoffending was nine percent and 10 percent in Ontario and B.C. respectively, it was twice as high in Quebec at 22 percent. Anne Crocker, the report’s lead in Quebec says there are multiple factors that lead to this result including the fact that Quebec has more NCR individuals with minor charges, which is the population that is more likely to reoffend.
 
Strangers are also rarely the victims of NCR individuals (23 percent) while the rest are family members (34 percent), other acquaintances (21 percent), and services providers such as police officers and mental health workers (23 percent).
 
The National Trajectory Project data is broken down into several ‘chapters’ as follows:
 
1.       Context and Methods – outlines the longitudinal data and analysis used in the project
2.      The People Behind the Label – provides a description of the NCR population in Canada, their age, primary diagnosis, prior psychiatric hospitalizations, type of offence and related victims
3.      Trajectories and Outcomes Through the Forensic System – looks at time spend detained in hospital, time under review board supervision and likelihood of received conditional or absolute discharge as metrics of the trajectories of NCR individuals
4.      Criminal Recidivism – compares recidivism rates across the 3 provinces studies and the type of offences
5.      How Essential are Gender-Specific Forensic Psychiatric Services? – provides a comparison between NCR men and women examining differences and similarities
 
For more information and to read the full project results, visit The National Trajectory Project website.
 









 

Coordinating across Sectors to Support Justice-Involved Youth with Mental Health/Addiction Needs in Niagara 
 
As one of four Justice Service Collaboratives across Ontario, the Niagara Youth Justice Service Collaborative (NYJSC) is striving to improve transitions between the health and justice sectors, with a specific focus on the interface between the court system and community services for youth.

Members of the NYJSC first began meeting in September 2013 to explore system needs and identify their specific area of focus. This diverse group of approximately 30 members from justice, education, health, First Nation, Métis and Inuit services, child welfare, mental health, and addiction sectors quickly came to a consensus – namely, that they wanted to support the development of a youth court in Niagara, which could then act as a platform for mobilizing community supports to identify and respond to youth needs.  Since their first meeting, the NYJSC has been steadfast in their goal. They have been working collaboratively to develop a coordinated community response involving screening for mental health and addiction issues and the creation of pathways for directing youth to appropriate community services based on their unique needs.

The NYJSC’s coordinated community response specifically involves a small screening team of community service providers who will be present at youth court to engage youth in mental health and addiction screening. For youth who consent to participate, screening team members will use the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2), an evidence-based tool that is widely used in youth justice contexts to screen for suicide risk and emergent mental health and addiction concerns. In addition to the MAYSI-2, the NYJSC screening team will use a supplementary screening form designed to capture key social determinants of health (such as housing, education, and employment needs) and health equity considerations (such as language preferences and interest in obtaining culturally-based services). This form also includes evidence-based screening questions for head injuries, videogame playing, internet use, and gambling. Together, the MAYSI-2 and the supplementary screening form will be used to direct youth to appropriate community services and supports.

A key element of the NYJSC’s work has been identifying how their community response intersects with existing community-based programs for youth in the court system (such as the Early Intervention Program associated with the Youth Mental Health Court Worker, and Extrajudicial Sanctions programs in the region). The goal of coordinating the NYJSC’s work with the broader system of supports in Niagara is to ensure that youth and families experience a streamlined and coordinated journey built upon clear communication and cross-sectoral collaboration.

On January 13, 2015, an official communication from Justice P. Wilkie indicated that youth court was being reinstituted in Niagara, with sittings to be held twice monthly in St. Catharines to deal with youth matters arising in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lincoln, West Lincoln and Grimsby. With this announcement, the NYJSC is in a position to move forward with their coordinated community response, in collaboration with stakeholders in the justice system, including the Niagara North Crown Attorney’s office. Discussions are currently taking place to finalize how the NYJSC’s screening and referral processes will be integrated into broader youth court processes.

The NYJSC is looking forward to implementing their coordinated community response in the coming months, and will continue to work closely with stakeholders from across sectors to build on shared learnings and refine processes.  Indeed, the cross-sectoral partnerships developed through the NYJSC are both a fundamental goal of the initiative and a key factor that will contribute to the community’s capacity to best support youth in the court system.

For more information on the Niagara Youth Justice Service Collaborative and other Service Collaboratives, please visit www.servicecollaboratives.ca
Submit articles and events to the Editor, at trevor.tymchuk@humanservicesandjustice.ca
Webinar Recording:
Mental Health Adult Pre-Charge Diversion Program

Presentation by Constable Scott Logan and Yolanda Diston, RN, of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team of the Durham Regional Police Service on Thursday, March 26th.

When a person with mental health issues has committed a minor crime in Durham Region, the Adult Mental Health Pre-charge Diversion Program helps move them away from the justice system and into the healthcare system. This webinar will explain how the program has reduced the number of individuals experiencing mental health challenges who are charged with offences while helping them to take responsibility for their actions and linking them with the care they need.
Open House in Beaverton Promotes Local Support Services

Sponsored by the Durham Region Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee, the one-day event involved a showcase of local service providers and informative seminars from three speakers who shared their personal journey navigating the health and criminal justice systems.


Staff Sergeant Phil Lillie, Durham Regional Police, and Trevor Tymchuk, one of the featured speakers. Both are members of the Provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee.

Read More

 
Webinar Recording: Court Outcomes Data Project

The Northeast Regional Justice Programs, comprised of 8 community mental health agencies and the North Bay Regional Health Centre, have been working on a unique collaborative project to develop a set of commonly defined outcomes to measure program performance.

This presentation reviews the measures developed as well as the web based portal system to collect and analyze the data; demonstrating how universally defined measures will allow us to better analyze the effectiveness of the Justice programs as well as identify and evaluate local and regional trends in the systems.

Sarah Gauthier is a graduate of Carleton University with a degree in Criminology and currently works as the Justice Program Coordinator at the Canadian Mental Health Association- Sudbury/ Manitoulin.  She is also the Chair of the Sudbury /Manitoulin District HSJCC and the Co-chair of the Northeast Regional HSJCC.

Hélène Philbin Wilkinson, BScN, Reg. N., MN., is the Director of Dual Diagnosis and Mental Health & the Law Services at the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBHRC) where she provides support and leadership to the collaborative network of mental health court program and justice service workers in the Northeast Region.  She is also a member of the Northeast Regional HSJCC.
 

Lunch and Learn Presentation Recordings

Substance Use Treatment System 101 for Courtroom Decision-Makers with Dennis Long and Robin Cuff
West Toronto Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee

Fitness Hearings with Susan Adams and Michael Feindel
North York Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee

Criminal Justice Issues including Pardons and Criminal Convictions, and Its' Impact on Housing and Employment
Scarborough Local Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee

Women, Trauma & Incarceration: What They Say, How We Work with Dr. Flora I. Matheson and Robin Cuff
Downtown Toronto Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee
 
Haliburton-Kawartha-Pine Ridge Regional HSJCC in the News

"Young talent and entrepreneurial skill was on display Thursday at the Peterborough Golf and Country Club at the fifth annual Community Innovation Forum: Knowledge and Talent in Action.

The forum, hosted by Fleming College, Trent University, Trent Community Research Centre and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster showcased applied research projects done by students this academic year.

Fourth-year Trent student Olivia Emino focused her project on an issue prevalent in Peterborough.

Emino's project was aimed at comparing addiction treatment services - harm-reduction programs and abstinence programs. She was sponsored by the ... Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee to come up with a set of recommendations based on her research."

The Peterborough Examiner
Read More

Articles of Interest

Cost attributable to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Canadian correctional system (Open Access)
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

People with severe mental illness more often victims of crime
King’s College London

Interim Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing
President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing

Early Intervention for Psychosis: A Canadian Perspective
Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease

A Process Evaluation of Toronto’s First Youth Mental Health Court
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Who Said Anything About Justice?: Bail Court and the Culture of Adjournment
Canadian Journal of Law and Society

Mentally Ill and Locked Up: Prisons Versus Inpatient Wards for Psychiatric Patients
Psych Central Professional
 
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Upcoming Events

2015 Annual Addictions & Mental Health Conference
Toronto, May 24 - 26, 2015

Trauma and Resiliency: A Healing Journey
Keynote Speaker: Dr Wayne Hammond. Resilience: A Paradigm Shift, from “At Risk” to “At Potential”, A New Template for Caring for Traumatized Clients.
Orillia, May 14, 2015

Mental Health and the Law
Ottawa, May 21, 2015

DSM-5 in Action: Application, Assessment, and Treatment Strategy
Toronto, June 15, 2015

56th Annual Institute on Addiction Studies
Innisfil, July 12 - 16, 2015

Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee Biennial Conference
Mobilizing Community: Promoting Resiliency,Sustaining Recovery and Restoring Justice
Toronto, November 16 - 18, 2015
 
With Support from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
With Support from EENet
 
         
Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
 
         


 
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