New information from the provincial Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) indicates that the majority of individuals in segregation during a particular snapshot in time live with a mental health issue.
The information, released on Aug. 30, 2018, identified all individuals who were in segregation on June 5, 2018 at six provincial correctional institutions. Nearly 220 of the 248 segregated individuals – or 88 percent – were identified as having possible mental health conditions, being at risk of self-harming or demonstrating suicidal behaviour.
Of the nearly 220 people, nearly 20 percent had been segregated for less than five days, nearly 50 percent had been segregated between five to 29 days and 35 percent had been segregated for 30 days or more.
The review also includes data on the mental health screening process, referrals to psychiatrists, treatment plans and segregation reviews.
The release of this information comes after an agreement was reached between MCSCS and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The government is committed to releasing time-specific data related to individuals in segregation and mental health.
Read the published data (http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/JahnSettlement/CSDatainmatesOntario.html)
CMHA Ontario works with MCSCS to ensure that the quality of care for Ontarians with mental health and addictions issues in correctional facilities continues to improve. CMHA Ontario is a partner in the Correctional Health Care Coalition, which engages a diverse group of stakeholders in making efforts to improve the wellbeing of incarcerated individuals in Ontario correctional facilities.
In 2017, CMHA Ontario, along with the Correctional Health Care Coalition, participated in several consultations with MCSCS and an independent advisor on corrections reform as they reviewed provincial segregation practices. Many of the recommendations from this consultation informed Ontario’s new Correctional Services Transformation Act, passed in May 2018. The Act prohibits individuals with mental health issues or developmental disabilities from being held in segregation, limits the duration of segregation for all individuals, and requires healthcare providers to assess the mental health of segregated individuals every five days.