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Review: NS Mental Health court “effective”; needs more followup

WATCH: An external review of the Nova Scotia Mental Health Court says funding for it should continue but a greater focus on some factors that increase the likelihood of a participant re offending would help drive down recidivism rates. Marieke Walsh reports.

HALIFAX – An independent review says Nova Scotia’s mental health court in Halifax should increase followup help for people who use its services to help reduce repeat offences.

The study by Prof. Mary Ann Campbell of the University of New Brunswick says people who use the court reoffend at about the same rate as a comparison group that used the traditional system.

About 31 per cent of the 22 people whose cases Campbell studied were charged with a new crime within a year of being referred to the mental health court, roughly the same as people who were referred to the court but used the traditional justice system.

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But the report also says of those who were charged with new crimes, people who successfully completed the mental health court program managed to stay out of trouble for a longer period of time than those who used traditional courts.

The specialized court was set up in 2009 for people with mental health disorders who end up in the criminal justice system.

The court sets up support plans for accused persons to improve their well-being and to try and reduce their likelihood of reoffending.