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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH partnering to improve mental health services in the justice system

Improved access to mental health intervention for people within the criminal justice system is a priority issue for CAMH. CAMH is pleased to announce we are partnering with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term (MOHLTC) to enhance timely access to voluntary mental health services for individuals whose mental illness may make them unfit to stand trial or who may have a defence of not criminally responsible available to them. 

MOHLTC is investing $3 million in a Forensic Early Intervention Service (FEIS) that CAMH will deliver at the new Toronto South Detention Centre when it opens later this year in Mimico. The 1,650 bed adult male remand centre will include a 26-bed unit for people with acute mental health needs.  Inmates will be screened for mental health issues when they are admitted to custody and those who screen positive for serious mental illness will be referred to FEIS for triage and assessment. 

FEIS Announcement
CAMH President and CEO Catherine Zahn ( second from the right) is joined by Marg Welch, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) (l) , Dr. Sandy Simpson, CAMH Chief of Forensic Psychiatry, MCSCS Minister Madeleine Meilleur and  Steven Small, MCSCS following the announcement of a  $3 million investment in a Forensic Early Intervention Service that CAMH will deliver at the new Toronto South Detention Centre.


“Through FEIS, CAMH staff will provide specialized forensic mental health services and supports to this vulnerable group of individuals,” says Sarah Downey, Executive Vice-President, Clinical Programs.

FEIS is expected to:

  • improve safety as inmates with serious mental illness will be identified sooner;
  • reduce court back logs caused by delays due to concerns about an inmate’s fitness to stand trial;
  • and improve inmates’ chances of rehabilitation with a resulting decrease in recidivism.


“This investment is a true example of how innovative partnerships can build capacity and affect positive system change,” says Sarah. “It will enhance our ability to provide forensic services and reach out to those most in need.” 

This service will build on the existing role CAMH has in the assessment and treatment of people in the forensic mental health system.  Our Complex Mental Illness Forensic Program provides care and supports to individuals whose mental illness has led to them encountering the criminal justice system.  We care for over 30 per cent of Ontario’s NCR population with the goal of providing treatment and rehabilitation to successfully reintegrate individuals back into the community.  We also advocate for healthy public policy that will enable people in the forensic system to live their best lives.

The last word to CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn. “CAMH strives to provide mental health services to people when and where they need it — this new partnership speaks directly to that and will build on the existing role CAMH has in the assessment and treatment of people in the forensic mental health system. The need for services and intervention among people on remand has increased over the past decade, and CAMH is making a commitment to address this demand and provide support to this vulnerable population.”

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