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Mental Health Screening for Ontario Inmates

October 10, 2013

In a landmark human rights case, Christina Jahn, a woman with mental health issues, has received a settlement from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS).

Jahn, an inmate at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, alleged she was placed in segregation for over 200 days, sometimes without running water and lights that were kept on day and night.

Further, she alleged she was discriminated against as MCSCS failed to accommodate her mental health needs and provide the appropriate services.

The case was filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Ontario Human Rights Commission intervened to address the broader systemic issues exemplified in Jahn’s experience.

The settlement states that MCSCS has agreed to:

  • Conduct a study and complete a report on how best to serve female inmates with major mental illness within 18 months, the results of which will be implemented within a further period of 18 months.
  • Screen and reassess inmates for mental health issues on admission to a correctional facility. The evidence-based mental health screening tool is currently being piloted and accompanying training will be provided to all corrections staff that will be using it.
  • Not use segregation unless all other options have been exhausted. If placed in segregation, an inmate with a major mental illness must be seen by a psychiatrist every 5 days.

The full details of the settlement are available online.

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