The Ministries of Health and Long Term Care, Community Safety and Correctional Services, Community and Social Services, Attorney General, Children and Youth Services, Housing, among others have initiated a strategy, “Keeping Persons with Mental Illness Out of the Criminal Justice and Correctional Systems”. The Strategy recognizes that pressures have been escalating in inappropriate sectors such as the police, courts, corrections, and hospital emergency rooms due to a lack of access to appropriate mental health services in the community.
The target population are people with a mental illness, developmental disability, brain injury, concurrent disorder and dual diagnosis who have come into conflict with the law and are at risk of being charged by the police, have been charged by the police, have been found unfit to stand trial, not criminally responsible or are under and Ontario Review Board disposition, and whose offense is considered low risk and whose mental health issue can be appropriately managed through services based in the community. In order to ensure Interministerial and interagency cooperation the strategy has included the development of Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committees at the Provincial, Regional and District levels.
These committees are funded and mandated to provide leadership to support the implementation of the policy framework for persons who come into contact with the criminal justice system and who have needs that can be met by one or more of the human service systems; to identify solutions to systemic problems, and to provide a forum for information sharing across systems.
Committee membership is expected to include agencies funded by the participating Ministries; community mental health and substance abuse providers, mental health programs of hospital forensic programs, police services, Crown Attorney’s offices, probation and parole services, children’s services, developmental services sectors, police, District Services Boards, District Jail personnel, among others.
The Kenora Rainy River District HSJCC has an active work plan that includes the development of a directory of mental health & addiction resources that are located within First Nation Communities. The resources listed are only resources that are housed within the communities listed and do not reflect mental health and addiction services that come into the community from outside larger urban areas. The intention of the directory will be to disseminate across all community partners, families and clients for information on these resources to allow for more awareness of on the ground resources to clients and community agencies on navigating services available in these communities.
The directory will be reviewed annually by the Kenora Rainy River District Human Services & Justice Coordinating Committee and amended as needed and disseminated to the network.
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