Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mental health court to open for April 1

From today's edition of Metro Halifax:
By Paul McLeod

The courtroom is being built, the staff are set to be hired in the new year, and by April 1 Nova Scotia will have its own mental health court.

Calls for a specialized court for people with mental illness have grown louder in recent years after incidents such as the death last year of Howard Hyde, who suffered from schizophrenia.

Other provinces such as Ontario and New Brunswick already have such courts, which are tailored to deal with the intricacies of people with mental health in the justice system.

Yesterday Justice Minister Cecil Clarke said staff were set to be hired in January, with the goal of the court opening in April. Dartmouth provincial court is being renovated to create the new room.

“Quite simply, we want to make sure people do not find themselves behind bars, but in a proper housing setting and treatment program for their mental illness,” said Clarke.

The annual operating budget is projected at $1.8 million, but first year costs are expected to range up to $2.3 million Clark explained.
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