It is integral that our judiciary be armed with all of the relevant facts when deliberating. Across Canada, the decision to include pertinent mental health information in pre-sentence reports is inconsistent. Majid’s legislation will create consistency across the country, standardizing an existing practice, and save our justice system time and resources. This minor, but far-reaching legislative change is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.
“POAO [Probation Officers Association of Ontario] would like to thank Mr. Jowhari for bringing the bill forward and to paraphrase Mr. Jowhari, while the bill is a small change to legislation, it may have considerable impact on our work and on some portions of the justice system. The bill is a necessary first step toward addressing the lack of resources and gaps in the system for clients with mental health needs.”
– Chris Podolinsky, President, Probation Officers Association of Ontario
Bill C-375 would legislate that pertinent mental health be included in pre-sentence reports alongside already mandated qualities such as character, attitude, behavior, or willingness to change. This pre-sentence report, which is given to a judicial official before sentencing allows them to make as informed a decision as possible. It would also highlight services available for any pertinent mental health issue in the justice system.
“It is important that you don’t have to win the postal code lottery to know that you live in a province that just so happens to provide and seek your mental health information.”
– Patrick Smith, National CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association
Majid’s Bill is well on its way to becoming law, having passed through the House of Commons earlier in the year, and now in deliberation in the Senate.
“We would like to see Bill C-375 proceed.”
– Catherine Latimer, Executive Director, John Howard Society
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