Should Alberta Have a Mental Health Court?

Original air date: August 8, 2011. Posted with the permission of ACCESS TV and Alberta Primetime.

“Mental health courts have the power to order treatment in cases where mental health issues are the likely cause of criminal behavior and they already operate in provinces like Ontario and B.C.

“Some say mental health courts reduce the backlog of cases before the system, while helping lower the rate of recidivism. But others question their effectiveness, arguing mental health courts open a door for criminals attempting to avoid jail time.

“Should Alberta adopt the mental health court system? And should mentally ill criminals be ordered into treatment instead of jail cells?

“Joining us for this discussion is Chris Hay, criminologist and Executive Director of the John Howard Society; Brent Rathgeber, Edmonton area Conservative MP and lawyer; and Doug Brady, Executive Director of the Edmonton Drug Treatment and Community Restoration Court.”