Offenders with mental illness pose ‘unique challenges’ to justice system

Written by Sarah Sacheli on April 17, 2017

In a scene that could have been pulled from The Silence of the Lambs, seven police officers usher a handcuffed man into a Windsor courtroom.

The man has been made to wear a mesh hood with clear plastic over his face.

He has mental health issues and spits when agitated, Ontario court Justice Micheline Rawlins explains to the courtroom in the moments before the man enters.

He also smears his feces on the walls when he’s in jail, she adds.

“This is the reality we deal with every day,” said Patricia Brown, a defence lawyer with a mental health practice.

For some people with mental illness, getting arrested is a godsend, Brown said. Now, there will be a psychological assessment and probation officers arranging for counselling and treatment.

Read the full article: Windsor Star