Mental Health Court
The New Brunswick Association of Social Workers applauds the decision by the provincial government to reintroduce the mental health court in the region of Saint John. Reintroducing the mental health court is a positive step towards providing enhanced mental health services for individuals who plead guilty to a criminal offence.
This model ensures that individuals accept a plan developed together with social workers and others, which must be adhered to. If they fail to comply, the individual will have to return to court and face regular court proceedings. Research demonstrates that this approach significantly reduces the rate of reoffending by people with severe mental health issues and is also less expensive to the criminal justice system.
Social workers believe the reintroduction of the Mental Health Court in Saint John is only the first step, the next step is to expand this approach across the province.
Miguel LeBlanc is the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers