The Ontario Forensic Mental Health System: A Population-based Review Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Objective: The purpose of this study was to increase the understanding of the Canadian forensic psychiatry system by providing a population-based overview of the Ontario forensic mental health system. Methods: Data were collected on 1,240 accused adults who were subject to the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board (ORB) between 2014 and 2015. Archival data were retrieved from annual ORB hearing hospital reports for accused supervised by all nine adult forensic psychiatry facilities across Ontario. Results: The sample included not criminally responsible (NCR; 91.6%) and unfit to stand trial (UST; 8.4%) accused. The majority of the sample was male (85.7%), single (70.1%), unemployed (63.6%), with a high school education (48.8%). Most were on a detention order (78.5%) and almost half were living in the community at the time of the report (48.8%). The majority had prior contact with psychiatric services (83.1%) and/or the criminal justice system (70.6%) before entering the forensic system. A history of elopement (31.5%) and inpatient aggression was high (60.6%). Most had a psychotic spectrum disorder (81.6%) and over half had a substance use disorder (57.2%) in the reporting year. A range of index offences was observed (69.9% violent, 20.3% general, 9.8% sexual), and the majority of the sample (61.0%) had an index offence that resulted in no injury or a minor injury to the victim. Conclusion: The Canadian forensic psychiatry system is comprised of a unique subset of justice-involved individuals. This study provides a detailed examination of accused who are subject to the jurisdiction of the ORB and provides key insight into risk factors associated with offending behaviour in this population. The results of this study will provide a framework for future studies examining the association between mental disorder and violence and the treatment trajectories for those in the forensic psychiatry system.

publication date

  • June 2022