Saskatoon Mental Health StrategyProvincial Court | Saskatchewan
Courts of Saskatchewan
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 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 second and fourth Fridays in courtroom 4 at 11:00 a.m.
- First appearance occurs in another court and other appearances may be made before referral to the Crown for RMHD Court eligibility assessment.
- The Crown uses criteria to assess eligibility, including but not limited to the nature of the charges, criminal record of the accused and risk to community safety.
- Legal Aid duty counsel meets with the eligible individual at first appearance in RMHD Court and explains their options.
- If the accused individual agrees to enter the RMHD Court, the judge may, following a case conference meeting prior to the opening of Court, refer the individual to a psychologist or to meet with other professionals to assess needs and strengths and develop a case management plan.
- If the accused agrees to the case management plan, a guilty plea is entered and s/he agrees to follow the case management plan.
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.
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