Evaluation of Mental Health Court (2010)

In 2010, NORDIK and multiple community partners evaluated the Sault Mental Health Court in order to determine the effectiveness of the program and address any gaps in the service. Researchers: Jim Horley (Phd) and Robert Rawn (MSW Candidate) Read more

The Mental Health Court (MHC) is a special court that diverts individuals with mental health problems into treatment programs to address their difficulties with the criminal justice system. The goals of the court include decriminalizing individuals with psychological problems; lowering rates of incarceration in correctional and psychiatric facilities; and increasing effectiveness of regional mental health services.

The evaluation collected data on participants who have used the MHC in order to determine the effectiveness of the program and address any gaps in the service. Outcomes of the research indicated that participants had a positive experience with the court overall, but improved clarity of roles and processes is needed. Greater public awareness is needed to address the stigma surrounding mental illness in the community. The research was funded by Proceeds of Crime Grant through the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Dr. Jim Horley, a forensic psychologist and professor from the University of Alberta, has recently been leading a NORDIK research project that studies the effectiveness of the Sault MHC. Jim Horley’s focus within psychology is the assessment and treatment of criminal offenders. His current research includes a number of projects relevant to forensic psychology and is currently completing a book on human sexuality. Jim Horley worked closely with NORDIK intern, Robert Rawn (MSW Candidate, Grand Valley State University).