St. Joseph's Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental health care 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. Staff and physicians within various forensic programs assist patients toward recovery. Through intensive work with our teams, patients are able to develop the skills and supports needed to successfully reintegrate back into their communities.
The Forensic Program has a regional mandate serving Southwestern Ontario which includes the counties of Elgin, Middlesex, Grey, Bruce, Essex, Kent, Lambton, Oxford, Huron, Perth and Kitchener-Waterloo.
The population served includes people with a broad range of diagnostic categories such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, and personality disorders who may or may not also have a concurrent disorder.
We serve both men and women who:
- Are on court ordered assessments
- Are found either unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible
- Have been transferred from correctional facilities requiring treatment under conditions of security
What Specialized Mental Health Care Has To Offer
The Forensic Program is comprised of 89 inpatient beds as well as outpatient programs and services.
Forensic Assessment Unit: A medium secure environment which focuses on providing consultation and specialized assessments regarding fitness to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and sentencing to the justice system.
Forensic Treatment Unit: A medium secure setting providing longer-term integrated treatment, rehabilitation, and support to clients on Ontario Review Board dispositions. The unit operates under a model of psychosocial rehabilitation. Patient privileges are introduced gradually depending on each patient's illness status, security needs/risk, and tolerance for less structure.
Forensic Rehab Readiness Unit: A minimum secure unit with a lower level of security that reflects the improvement in clinical status of the patients and their changing Ontario Review Board dispositions. Intensive engagement and initial rehabilitation take place on this unit with a focus on developing personal goals and initial steps toward community reintegration.
Forensic Rehabilitation Unit: An open minimum secure unit with a low level of security that reflects further clinical improvement and also development within the rehabilitation process. An intensive focus on preparation for community reintegration takes place on this unit.
Forensic Outreach Program
The Forensic Outreach Team plays a crucial role in the safe and successful transition of forensic patients back into the community.
Intensive rehabilitation efforts continue within the community setting where skill training and ongoing risk assessment and management take place. The team works closely with other community-based agencies across our Southwestern Ontario catchment area to link individuals with the appropriate ongoing supports outside the hospital such as ACT teams, residential treatment, group homes, Homes for Special Care, etc.
Once discharged to the community, forensic patients remain on Ontario Review Board dispositions for varying amounts of time.
The outreach team provides ongoing forensic monitoring and risk management for these individuals. The outreach team uses its forensic knowledge and expertise to assist the Ontario Review Board in determining an individual's suitability for absolute discharge from the forensic system.