Challenges Faced by Offenders with Mental Health Issues
Discuss about the Canadian Criminal Justice System.
The Author has deeply emphasized the mental issues faced by the offenders in correctional homes in modern criminal justice system in Canada. A majority of reports in Canada comprises of violence which has propounded serious consequences in the lives and wellness of the Canadian people. According to the Author, the number of violent crimes reported in Canada is relatively high as compared to other Western countries. However, in the last few decades, attempts have been made in order to predict the level of violence within the framework of criminal justice system. In traditional criminal justice system, the prediction of criminal justice system has been accompanied by the study of psychopathic and unstructured clinical judgment.
The Author has deeply focused on the situation that what actually happens between the police and the individuals suffering from mental illness during their first encounter. People suffering from mental issues are often encountered with the police officers. The intervention of police officers into the lives of the people suffering from mental health issues has proved to be beneficial in protecting their well being and safety. The Author highlighted the main issues that in spite of the advent of new techniques and programs, in order to improve the communication of the police with the people suffering from mental illness, effective evaluation in such field is limited. Since time immemorial, the objectives of these programs have been difficult to evaluate and measure. However, with the evolution of such effective programs, rates of arrest and injuries to the person suffering from mental illness has reduced considerably.
The author has emphasized on various community-based services which are effective in serving as an alternative to incarceration for those suffering from mental illness. It can be observed that individuals suffering from health disorders are often involved in the system of criminal justice. These communities suffering from mental illness has been creating huge influence on the criminal justice system and the health care departments. In order to get access to the community based services, the population is likely to get detained in order to lead a productive life by saving costs. The Author has also examined different range of programs that has been effectively employed by the local government with the involvement of various communities related to health and criminal justice systems. However, these programs from the very beginning have proved to be beneficial in improving mental health issues of the community while savings the costs involved in the process.
Police Interventions with Mentally Ill Offenders
The Author in this regard has intended to provide the impact of various treatments upon the persons suffering from mental issues in detention along with the impact upon recidivism. It is a universally accepted phenomenon that individuals suffering from mental illness are often over-represented in the criminal justice system of Canada. It has been observed that in Canada, most of the individuals suffering from mental illness have been placed in prisons rather than psychiatric centers. The author provided a brief idea about the concept of recidivism in which former offenders are at the risk to get arrested for similar offence twice.
The main points of the Article however deal with the interventions of the police department that has been designed in order to evaluate the challenges faced by the mentally ill offender communities. However, the police community has been regarded as one of the significant respondent in building contact with the offenders suffering from mental illness. In order to create positive impact on the offenders suffering from mental illness, various planning regarding the concept of pre-release planning and community responses have been created by the Canadian Criminal Justice System in order to provide assistance to the offenders coping up with the issues regarding mental health.
In the conclusion the author stated that the issues regarding mental health problems are still not recognized under the Canadian Criminal Justice System. However, with the introduction of recent policies, the identification of mental health issues has taken new directions. With the evolution of the process of rehabilitation and de- institutionalism of people suffering from mental illness, there has been reduction in the number of correctional centers. This may increase the number of mentally unstable prisoners in Canada. With the advent of various policies which is focused on the diversion of mentally-unstable offenders into convenient mental health services. However, such policies have proved to be inconsistent and therefore new ways has been proposed in order to improve identification and diversion of issues related to such offenders.
The author highlighted the existing situation of the Aboriginal people in Ontario for the purpose of Ipperwash Inquiry. In this regard, the Author was commissioned to examine the value of relationship between the Aboriginal people of Ontario and the criminal justice system. Since time immemorial, the Supreme Court of Canada has been referred to as the crisis in the Canadian Justice System. According to the Author, this is due to the reason that the condition of Aboriginal community has been clearly over represented in the criminal justice system of Canada. In the correctional centers of Ontario, the youths of Aboriginal origin are overrepresented at a higher rate than those of the Aboriginal adults.
Community-based Services as Alternatives to Incarceration
The Author identified the main issues and provided explanation of three significant factors- the cultural clash, impact of colonialism and socio-economic factors. The Author has intended to provide an explanation of the impact of over-policing. The concept of over-policing refers to the practice in which the police community targets individuals of different communities irrespective of racial backgrounds. The history of over-policing has a long impact on the Aboriginal people. The local governments of Canada have traditionally implemented the concept of over-policing on the Aboriginal community. Due to the practice of over-policing in Canadian justice system, it created distrust in the minds of the Aboriginal people against the police communities.
According to the Author, in modern world, the Aboriginal people are also overrepresented as victims under the Criminal justice system. They are even under-policed. The government of Canada from the very beginning ignored the request of the Aboriginal people by rejecting their claims and grievances. In this regard, it has been observed that, the concept of over-policing has created significant impact on the attitude of the Aboriginal people towards the police. The Author has referred the concepts of over-policing and under-policing as two sides of a same coin. However, significant measures were taken by the government and courts of Canada in order to address the problems faced by the Aboriginal people. The programs initiated by the Canadian government have been funded by both the federal and provincial governments. It has been observed that, in spite of all the initiatives, the overrepresentation of the Aboriginal people over the concepts of over-policing and under-policing has not diminished in the last ten to fifteen years.
The Author highlighted the belief that the Aboriginal people are considered to be less than equal. However, such belief is rarely enunciated as it had been influencing the relationship between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. In this regard, the Author has intended to provide an idea on cross-cultural awareness programs in order to break the stereotypes that are deeply rooted in the minds of the people. In order to challenge the stereotypes it is necessary to change the prevailing conditions that allow such stereotypes to stay in the society.
It has been observed that over a certain period of time, the number of Aboriginal offenders increased in custody. However, the number of non-Aboriginal offenders decreased subsequently. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of offenders in the Canadian Justice System. The jail population has increased considerably. The Author emphasized on the part that since time immemorial, the Aboriginal overrepresentation has not been a significant part of the Canadian Criminal Justice System.
The main points of the Article are associated with the identification of Aboriginal offenders that has been compiled regularly in order to provide admissions to the correctional centers and institutions, prisons and detention centers. In this regard, the Author provided a brief explanation regarding the issues faced by the Aboriginal people in such correctional institutions and prisons. The correctional officers often determine that whether a person is Aboriginal or not. The individuals are not directly enquired that whether they belong to the Aboriginal community or not because in spite of telling the truth they might not have been believed. Therefore, the prison inmates do not want themselves to be identified as Aboriginal. If they have been identified as Aboriginal while in jail custody, they may undergo harsh punishments.
In the conclusion, the Author has focused on the overrepresentation of the Aboriginal people in Canada in context of the federal and western provinces. This is because the overrepresentation has been observed in the percentage of Aboriginal people in prisons and detention centers rather than the issue which is prevalent in Canada as a whole. It can be observed that most of the provincial inmates in Ontario are of Aboriginal origin and they occupy half of the jail population in Canada. However, the Author has commissioned to examine that the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people has significantly increased in Ontario as it is a home for a large number of Aboriginal people.
Michalski, J. H. (2017). Mental health issues and the Canadian criminal justice system. Contemporary justice review, 20(1), 2-15.
Rudin, J. (2016). Aboriginal peoples and the criminal justice system.
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