Prison mental health
TheGlobeandMail – news/opinions/letters
Published January 26, 2011.
The Canadian Psychiatric Association (To Heal and Protect – Jan. 22) agrees with the warnings of Canada’s Correctional Investigator that the scarcity of treatment for mentally ill inmates is a growing crisis and that getting tough on crime by locking up more Canadians as proposed by the federal government will aggravate the problem.
What is needed, are services for inmates and policies that favour early detection and treatment, preventing our citizens with mental illness from filling our prisons.
Nizar Ladha, president, Canadian Psychiatric Association, Ottawa
The hospital bed-cutting initiative of the Mike Harris Ontario Conservatives in the late 1990s has resulted in growing numbers of the mentally ill in correctional settings.
One solution, not my preferred option, is to designate correctional beds as “health” beds as Pima County, Arizona, has done, in a model pretrial program called Restoration to Competency.
Michael Chan, Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston
Your articles on mental health in prisons offer up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper the historical moment urged by Brian Mulroney in Do Something Big (Jan 22).
Use the millions intended for building new prisons to expand Canada’s mental health infrastructure. If individuals requiring mental health treatment were moved from prisons to specialized mental health facilities, we would not need more prisons.
It would be a laudable legacy for the Prime Minister.
Maxine Davis, Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, Vancouver
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