In Canada, s. 278 of the Criminal Code sets out a two-stage procedure for the disclosure of records to the defence when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. In this article, we summarize the nature of this legislation and the cases that directly led to its formation. We then review the implications for practice for mental health professionals. The main purpose of this article is to review a relatively new role for forensic mental health professionals: acting as experts in informing the court whether the disclosure is in the interests of justice.Read more
Objective: This systematic review synthesizes mental health court (MHC) research across the United States and Canada. This study reviews and compares the operations and practices of MHCs across both countries, as well as their recidivism rates.
Methods: We gathered from existing literature to present common MHC practices used across the United States. However, in response to the lack of literature about Canadian day-to-day practices, we developed a questionnaire and contacted every Canadian MHC. In total, we contacted 36 Canadian MHCs, and 19 courts filled out a questionnaire. With respect to recidivism rates, we conducted a comprehensive literature search in February and March 2019 in PsycINFO, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts using the keywords mental health court, therapeutic justice, serious mental illness, mentally ill offenders, mental health diversion and problem-solving courts.
Results: Canadian and American MHCs have similar practices. However, American MHC’s have more robust screening measures and typically admit more participants with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder into their programs compared to Canadian MHCs. MHC participants in both countries typically had lower recidivism rates compared to regular docket court participants.
Conclusions: MHC research should inform public policy. Additional research should move in the direction of discovering the predictors for why MHCs reduce recidivism.Read more