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John Howard Society Press Release

JOHN HOWARD SOCIETY OF ONTARIO RELEASES NEW REPORT OUTLINING PLAN FOR DECRIMINALIZING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN ONTARIO


TORONTO - Ontario is fighting a losing battle – one that it cannot afford – to punish people for their mental health issues, claims a new report from the John Howard Society of Ontario (JHSO). The report, entitled, Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario, asserts that the province must stop relying on the justice system as a key responder to individuals who have mental health issues, and provides recommendations aimed at shifting Ontario toward prevention.

In recent decades, the criminal justice system has become a warehouse for people whose mental health issues have gone untreated or undetected in the community. The absence of meaningful prevention and community-based mental health services has resulted in a large and growing proportion of people falling through the cracks, only to get caught the widening net of the justice system. In short, when the healthcare system fails to treat mental illness, the criminal justice system punishes the symptoms.

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