Forensic Mental Health Care Program

Southwest Centre
Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care in Elgin County

St. Joseph’s Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care (Southwest Centre) is located in Elgin County and is devoted to caring for people with a mental illness who have also come into contact with the criminal justice system. Encompassing a recovery philosophy of care, the state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly LEEDs building provides a healing environment that promotes each individual’s journey of recovery.

Southwest Centre is focused on providing exceptional clinical psychiatric recovery services and reporting to the Ontario Review Board our patients' clinical progress and any risk of significant public threat.

The Forensic Psychiatry Program at Southwest Centre is comprised of 88 secure inpatient beds which include assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation programs, as well as an outpatient Forensic Outreach Team that services Southwestern Ontario.

seating area inside Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care
Seating area inside Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care

Interdisciplinary teams within the Forensic Psychiatry Program assist patients toward recovery. Through intensive work with our teams, patients can develop new skills and support that is needed to successfully reintegrate back into their communities.

The facility serves patients living in South-Western Ontario which includes the counties of Elgin, Middlesex, Grey, Bruce, Essex, Kent, Lambton, Oxford, Huron, Perth and Kitchener-Waterloo. However, forensic programs across Ontario function as a provincial system so individuals may be delegated to any forensic facility in Ontario, depending on bed availability.

patient area inside Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care
Area for gathering inside Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care.

Our patients

Patients within Southwest Centre’s Forensic Psychiatry Program are individuals who have been declared either unfit to stand trial, have been found not criminally responsible on account of a mental illness or are referred for assessment by the criminal justice system.

The population served includes people with a broad range of severe and persistent mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, mood disorders and personality disorders, who may also have an addiction disorder.

Ontario Review Board

All patients within the Forensic Psychiatry Program are under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board (ORB) and are required to attend an ORB hearing annually, which is supported by the hospital.

The Ontario Review Board (ORB) is the oversight panel that annually reviews forensic patient’s progress and risk to the public, and operates under the context of the criminal code. The ORB panel consists of judges, lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists and public members. Find more information about the ORB process on the Ontario Review Board website.

Our partners

The Forensic Psychiatry Program values its academic relationship with Western University, Fanshawe College and other academic institutions. The program offers a wide range of training opportunities for students in medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, spiritual care and therapeutic recreation.

In addition, our teams provide education and consultation to the community and other health care providers regarding general forensic issues.

Southwest Centre also links with community partners to support continuity of care for patients as they recover and as they work towards reintegration back into the community, including opportunities for transitional and permanent housing, dual diagnosis community supports, Indigenous Health Care, and non-forensic community supports. 
Partnerships include:

  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Community Living Elgin
  • St. Leonards Society
  • Atlohsa Family Healing Services
  • Indwell
  • Ministry of Health, Forensic Mental Health and Justice Unit
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