In a precedent-setting decision in Canada, a provincial supreme court in Ontario has imposed a six-month limit on how long people can be incarcerated under mental health laws, reports the Toronto Star.
According to the Star, the case involved a deaf, mentally ill man, at one point diagnosed as a pedophile, who has been held at a maximum security psychiatric institution with little or no attention being paid to his identified needs for years at a time. “Despite repeated, increasingly adamant recommendations by psychiatrists and mental health experts that he be moved to a less secure facility — or even released into the community — the man has languished in Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care… for 19 years.”
“In a lengthy decision written on behalf of the court, Justice Robert Sharpe placed a six-month limit on a Mental Health Act detention. A 12-month suspension had been set on the change, giving the provincial government time to respond,” reports the Star. “The decision was made in part because the MHA board — officially called the Consent and Capacity Board — that decides who can be detained under the act does not have sufficient powers to ensure the well-being of someone held for a lengthy period.”
Court puts 6-month limit on detentions under Mental Health Act (The Toronto Star, December 23, 2014)