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category: Law
published: Jan 2007
ISBN:9781552212790
publisher: Irwin Law Inc.

Mental Health Courts

Decriminalizing the Mentally Ill

by Richard D. Schneider; Mark Heerema & Hy Bloom

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mental health, criminology
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $54.00
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
category: Law
published: Jan 2007
ISBN:9781552212790
publisher: Irwin Law Inc.
Description

Mental health courts began as grassroots initiatives in the mid-1990s. Early versions found inspiration from the success of drug courts—an emerging brand of court dedicated to accused with substance addictions. On a very basic level, drug courts operate by offering accused a simple option: avoid serving a sentence for your drug-related offence by completing a drug-treatment program.

One of the first known programs to tackle the problem of mentally disordered accused in the criminal justice system was created in Toronto. The "Diversion of Mentally Disordered Accused" became a program which was part of the Crown Policy Manual in 1994. The success of these specialty courts, along with a growing awareness that the traditional criminal justice system was failing individuals with mental disorders, combined to legitimize the emergence of mental health courts.

In writing this book, the authors have sought to assist two groups of professionals primarily involved with these courts, namely, mental health care service providers and the various criminal justice professionals.

Part I of this book is an overview of the historical and theoretical foundations underlying the mental health court movement. It outlines the various factors which precipitated the emergence of these courts. Part II offers a thorough description of a typical mental health court in operation. In addition to describing the role of each mental health court team member, it goes on to provide guidance to those seeking to establish a mental health court. Part III analyzes the successes and failures of these courts and ends with a critical look at the long-term desirability of mental health courts.

About the Authors

Richard D. Schneider

The Honourable Richard D. Schneider is a justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, where he presides at Toronto's Mental Health Court, and alternate chair of the Ontario and Nunavut Review Boards. He is also an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto, and an adjunct lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Schneider was a criminal defence lawyer, a clinical psychologist, and counsel to the Ontario Review Board. He was recently appointed honorary president of the Canadian Psychological Association. He has published extensively in the area of mental disorder and the law.
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Mark Heerema is currently studying in the Masters of Law Program at the University of Cambridge as a Rt. Honourable Paul Martin Scholar. He has published in the areas of mental health law, criminal law, and constitutional law and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
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Dr. Hy Bloom is a forensic psychiatrist and lawyer who assesses individuals who have mental illnesses and outstanding criminal charges. He is an associate of the Central Branch of the PSILEX Group, which provides consultation in behavioural sciences and the law. He is also a part-time staff member of the Law and Mental Health Program at the Clarke Branch of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto; and an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. Dr. Bloom is both an alternate chairperson and psychiatry member of the Ontario Review Board. He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1980. He has published on a number of topics in psychiatry and the law.
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Editorial Review

"This is a practical book, of immediate use to its principal intended audience: those working in mental health court and diversion programs in Canada.... [The] relationship of the criminal justice and mental health systems, and the development of different models of mental health courts, are deftly discussed in the interdisciplinary and theoretical context of the therapeutic jurisprudence perspective. In that respect the book constitutes a major contribution to the therapeutic jurisprudence literature, and its discussion of the Canadian and comparative contexts will be of great interest to the legal and mental health communities in many jurisdictions. I am confident that it will soon take its place as a leading resource both in Canada and internationally."

— David B. Wexler, Lyons Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology, University of Arizona

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