November 17, 2005

Mentally ill inmates left untreated - Canada

This news in from Canada's Globe and Mail Newspaper (and we suspect that the problem is even worse here in the USA):

The federal prison system is leaving mentally ill inmates untreated, violating their rights and endangering public safety because it has not put money into dealing with a huge increase in their numbers, according to the prison ombudsman.

In his annual report released yesterday, Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers said the number of inmates with "significant, identified mental health needs" has doubled over the past decade, but treatment services have declined. "The level of mental health services is now seriously deficient."

The report concludes that Correctional Service Canada has developed a plan to deal with the problem, but does not have money to put most of the changes into place.

"The Service has developed an action plan filled with desirable commitments and timelines, but we anticipate little or no progress as the Service has admitted that it does not have a matching funding plan . . . ," the report states.


Penny Marrett, chief executive officer of the Canadian Mental Health Association, said in a statement that Mr. Sapers's report underscored a Senate committee's finding that prisons "have become warehouses for the mentally ill due to funding cuts and closures in community psychiatric facilities.

Source: Globe and Mail, Nov. 5, 2005

More information: Mentally ill inmates more than double in decade, services decline: report (Maclean's Magazine)

Press Release: Report Highlights Dramatic Increase in
Numbers of Inmates Mentally Ill - Implementation of National Strategy
Urged to Address Crisis

REPORT: Annual Report 2004-2005 of the Correctional Investigator of Canada


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