Incarcerated individuals are more likely to deal with mental health challenges than the broader Canadian public. Mental illness can be a contributor to criminal behaviour, while the experience of incarceration can exacerbate underlying mental health conditions. However, there are limited existing supports for these incarcerated individuals, meaning that offenders may become trapped in vicious cycles of recidivism linked to ongoing mental health challenges. This study explores what might be done to this policy problem in Canadian correctional facilities. Drawing on existing literature, case studies and a series of expert interviews, the study presents, and evaluates, four possible policy paths forward. The analysis supports three policy recommendations to begin to tackle this issue: transferring healthcare responsibilities to provincial Ministries of Health; introducing mandatory mental health training for staff; and creating a community program liaison officer pilot project.
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Thesis advisor: Gordon, Josh
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