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Home > Provincial Court > Adult Criminal Court > Saskatoon Mental Health Strategy

Saskatoon Mental Health Strategy

The Saskatoon Provincial Court has introduced a collaborative model to coordinate treatment and criminal justice needs for individuals with mental health, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD), or cognitive issues who have been charged with a crime. The Saskatoon Mental Health Strategy (MHS) Court brings together health, social services professionals, and criminal justice professionals, and is designed to improve the Court’s access to information so that it is better able to support and supervise offenders safely in the community. This may include comprehensive assessments, case management plans, and providing services.

The process provides a more effective way of managing offenders who commit crimes because of their mental health, FASD, or cognitive issues. It uses a supportive case management model to help participants to reduce or eliminate criminal behaviour and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It uses a “connections approach” to break down barriers and encourage participants to connect with community services. The value added in this approach is an increased capacity for assessment and improved access to mental health services and resources for offenders.

Who It’s For

Adults accused of a crime may be referred to the MHS Court through the Crown Prosecutor if the accused appears to have issues related to mental health, such as cognitive disability, FASD, brain damage, or psychiatric disorder. The mental health issue must be related to the criminal behaviour. Legal Aid, defence counsel, social agencies, and individuals can contact the Crown Prosecutor and ask that a person be considered for this Court.

Who It’s Not For

Accused facing charges that include Criminal Code driving offences, sexual offences, offences with mandatory minimum penalties in the Criminal Code, and offences where the Crown seeks a penitentiary term are not eligible for this approach.

How It Works

  • Court is held on the first and third Mondays in courtroom 4 at 9:30 a.m.
  • First appearance occurs in another court and other appearances may be made before the Crown refers an accused individual to the MHS.
  • The Crown uses criteria to assess eligibility, including but not limited to the nature of the charges, potential to benefit from case management, criminal record of the accused, and risk to community safety.
  • To participate in the MHS, the accused individual must be out of custody and be prepared to accept responsibility for some or all of their offences.
  • If the accused individual agrees to participate in the MHS Court, the judge may refer the individual to a psychologist or to meet with other professionals to assess needs and strengths and develop a case management plan.
  • Participants are expected to attend appointments for assessments or other services. 
  • The offender may be sentenced or return to court for progress reports at the discretion of the judge.
  • The length of time to conclude the case depends directly on the case management plan and the offender’s progress in that plan.