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April 30, 2012

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice:

Successful Program Helps Inmates Transition into Community

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand today to provide an update on an important program offered at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. The Justice Project is operated by the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and helps inmates diagnosed with mental illness make a successful transition to the community. This innovative program has now been in operation for two years and receives $280,000 from the Provincial Government.

The Justice Project was born out of the release of Decades of Darkness: Moving Towards the Light which was an independent review of adult corrections in the province. The Justice Project provides a continuity of mental health care services from the prison to the community. Through intensive case management, individuals have been able to secure and maintain appropriate housing and receive specialized support and interventions upon their release. By working closely with other community organizations clients are linked with individuals and agencies offering further specialized support. This is particularly important to those returning to other areas of the province.

Mr. Speaker, the department recognizes the important progress that participants have made. To date 32 people have received this service. Many individuals have been able to remain out of further trouble with the law for longer periods of time or return for lesser charges. Some, through the support of the mental health association program, have for the first time in years, maintained a healthy and crime-free lifestyle.

Mr. Speaker, the Justice Project has become recognized nationally for helping inmates diagnosed with mental illness make a successful transition to the community. The Department of Justice is pleased to support and work with the mental health association as they operate this ground-breaking program. This relationship is a clear indication that change is possible and our corrections service is moving in the appropriate direction.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

2012 04 30             1:55 p.m.

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