Saskatoon

Study says mental health court positive for Sask.

A study released by the U of R says the Metal Health Disposition Court in Regina has proven to be a success in the province by achieving its goal of diverting individuals out of correctional facilities.

The report shows that less people with mental disorders are going to jail

The Metal Health Disposition Court is proving the be successful for the province, a new report says. (CBC)

A unique court in Regina focusing on cases involving mental health issues has proven to be a success in the province by achieving its goal of diverting individuals out of correctional facilities.

On Thursday, a report was released by a research team from the University of Regina. The group had been studying the functions of the Metal Health Disposition Court in the justice system since its inception in the Queen City two years ago.

I think what we have here is a promising model but one that asks us to do more in the city because we can't simply do this all in the courts.-  Michelle Stewart, associate professor with Justice Studies at the U of R

 "You have the Crown that will look for particular people that will qualify for the court," explained Michelle Stewart, associate professor with Justice Studies at the U of R. "These are individuals that are facing jail time."

According to the group's findings, since November 2013, the court has dealt with 79 individuals. Of those, 36 cases have concluded with the majority of the outcomes resulting in community-based dispositions. Only five participants have been sentenced to jail time to date.

"That's quite a remarkable number if you think that everybody was facing jail time," said Stewart.

She said the report confirms that the collaborative approach to case management and the requirement to have multiple stakeholders involved is proving to have positive results for the participants. This includes increased connection to community supports and the implementation of more successful treatment plans.

"I think what we have here is a promising model but one that asks us do more in the city because we can't simply do this all in the courts," Stewart added.

With files from CBC's Afternoon Edition