A ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal in the province of Ontario has led the government to promise significant changes to the way inmates with mental illness are screened and treated in the province’s jails and detention centres.
Christina Jahn took the Corrections Ministry to the tribunal over her treatment at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. She has mental illness, addictions and cancer and alleges she was put in segregation for 210 day because of her mental health disabilities.
Jahn also alleges the service discriminated against her by failing to accommodate her mental health-related needs.
Prisoner advocacy groups have long argued that too many people with mental health issues end up in jail instead of in health care facilities. A policy of deinstitutionalizing them adopted in the 1960s left many on the street without promised community support. Some are picked up by police and end up in detention centres which are ill equipped to serve them.