Prison mental health

Posted on in Child & Family Debates

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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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One Response to “Prison mental health”

  1. Sharon Harrington says:

    I cannot believe there is such support for this Harper goverment that thinks the mentaly ill should be in jail. Harper would have work houses if he could. My son is very ill and is going back to jail and home in worse shape every time.He is delusional and suicidal . I HAVE TRIED TO GET HIM HELP FOR 3 YEARS. The goverment puts up every roadblock so no one can get any mental health treatment. PUTTING PEOPLE IN JAIL WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS GET WORSE AND ARE MORE APT TO COMMIT A VIOLENT CRIME.I would love to join a group that would try to help change the law that deals with the people that have mental health problems.


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