Dr. Sandy Simpson, an international expert in forensic mental health, joined CAMH in 2010
from New Zealand.
CAMH forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Colleton conducts mental health assessments at
Toronto’s Old City Hall Courthouse in order to divert those with mental illness away from the
criminal justice system.
Treating offenders with mental illness
This year the problem of people with mental illness staying untreated in
jails grabbed public attention.
“We need a continuum of care for mentally ill offenders,” said Dr. Alexander
(Sandy) Simpson, the new clinical director of CAMH’s Law and Mental Health
Program, in a commentary published in the Globe and Mail. An international
expert in culturally specific, recovery-based forensic mental health services,
Dr. Simpson joined CAMH in 2010 from New Zealand, where his published
outcomes have been among the best in the field. Under Dr. Simpson’s
leadership, CAMH has succeeded in reducing the wait times for our 165
forensic inpatient beds below those of other forensic services across the
CAMH has developed innovative service delivery models to help meet the
demand on the system, including an out-of-custody treatment order team
for people considered low-risk; a diversion program in which CAMH
psychiatrists conduct mental health assessments in the courthouse to keep
people with mental illness out of the criminal justice system; and enhanced
outpatient assessment services. We are working to improve our ability to aid
people with mental illness in jails and prisons. In addition, CAMH operates a
large outpatient service dedicated to community reintegration of more than
250 people under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board.
Forensic psychiatry is a specialty that is newly recognized by the Royal College
of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. CAMH is active in the education of
medical students and physicians in this area. We are proud of our research in
the areas of sexual behaviours, dynamic risk assessment, prediction of violence,
and pathways into forensic mental health care.