“Ontario Justice System ‘Punishes’ Mental Illness”


The Toronto Star reports on a 40-page analysis of the criminalization of mental illness released by the John Howard Society of Ontario last week.  The crime and justice non-profit claims that “jails have replaced asylums as repositories for people who don’t have adequate resources to cope with community living,” with the unintended consequence that people in need of treatment “are forced to navigate a system that was never intended to be therapeutic.”

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Read the full John Howard Society Report here→


  1. Since when was the mental health system designed to be therapeutic? Clearly these people have no concept of the lived experience of those that do access the mental health system. Everyone I have ever communicated with who has experienced both mental health and criminal justice systems will choose the criminal justice system ay day of the week.

    That does not mean the criminal justice system could not be doing a better job, but the attitude that if people got better access to medications, they would be better is not of any use at all, and is usually what makes things worse.

    I have massive problems with solitary conferment, but I fail too see why there is so much push to have it removed from the criminal justice system, yet it is defined as therapeutic treatment when carried out in the mental health system. The mental health system uses solitary conferment more than any other.

    As for why we have increasing numbers that would be because we are labelling everyone and then drugging them up with toxic substances that only make them worse. They blame a lack of treatment for these problems, when in most cases it is the treatment that is causing the problems.

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    • Yeah, they always make it sound like closing down asylums was such a bad idea because all these poor people end up in prison. Well, first of all these are not the two alternatives and secondly (and more importantly) people forget while these lovely places called asylums were closed in the first place.

      “Everyone I have ever communicated with who has experienced both mental health and criminal justice systems will choose the criminal justice system ay day of the week.”
      I agree 100%. Plus this is not even an alternative in the current system either. People end up locked up in psychiatric so-called “hospitals” which are essentially more abusive forms of prisons and spend more time there than they would have otherwise served in prison have their offenses not been deemed due to mental illness. It has actually been studied in Austria and the results were clear – the worst that can happen to you during a trial is being assessed “crazy”. You end up locked up for much longer and often indefinitely as your release depends on some power-tripping psychiatrists’ opinion.

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    • Btw, it’s enough to read the stats provided in the very article to see that it’s not a problem of lack of “mental health treatment” – it’s the problem of stupid laws and over-policing and generally police state:
      “60% of Ontario prisoners today are on remand, which means they have not been tried and are presumed innocent — only 26% were on remand 30 years ago.
      20% of Ontario prisoners today are being held on non-violent administration of justice charges, such as failing to comply with bail or breach of probation.”
      Well if 60% of your prisoners have not been sentenced then you have more problems than just “crazy people”.

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  2. What a joke.
    The man (Josh Priess) in the article said “a five-day nightmare in jail that he says ruined his life.”

    Five days? Boo Hoo . I’m crying for you. NOT

    A real living nightmare is being poisoned by people who say they are helping you. A real living nightmare is when you have no lawyer and no trial. A real living nightmare is being unable to see and talk from the poisons your jailers are forcing on you. A real living nightmare goes on for months, not days. A real living nightmare is no access to toilet facilities or water. A real living nightmare is being tied down (posey belt).http://shop.posey.com/Images/products/1135-6_200x200_Posey%C2%AE-Self-Releasing-Roll-Belt.jpg
    A real living nightmare goes on for months, not days.

    Have you tried the new and improved posey belt? http://www.tvcogeco.com/salaberry-de-valleyfield/gallerie/emissions-2015/7280-autrement-vu-2015/100420-recours-collectif

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