31st Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice - Building and Sustaining Safe, Healthy Communities, November 1 - 3, 2007 at Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto

    (xx)Keynote Address by Glenn Thompson on "The State of Mental Health in

    TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - The 31st Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice
will take place November 1 - 3, 2007 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, 123 Queen
Street West, Toronto. Congress 2007 will primarily focus on creating awareness
around the tremendous challenges that exist for the mental health and the
justice systems and those with a mental illness who confront the criminal
justice system. We are pleased to announce that Glenn Thompson, Interim
President & CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), will present
this year's keynote address, "The State of Mental Health in Canada", Thursday,
November 1 at 9:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom - Lower Concourse Level.
    Biannually, the forum brings together local provincial and international
criminal justice professionals to discuss issues of mutual concern related to
those who administer the criminal justice system.
    "Michael Kirby, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC),
and those of us who work with him are very pleased that the Canadian Criminal
Justice Association has decided to make healthy communities the theme of
Congress 2007. Much of the content of this years Congress will focus on the
growing and necessary linkage between the mental health and addictions and the
criminal justice fields in Canada," says Glenn Thompson, Interim President &
CEO, MHCC. "Dramatic change and improvement has begun at the policy and
service levels in both fields. The MHCC has mental health and the law as one
of its key advisory committees chaired by The Honourable Justice Edward F.
Ormiston, who led the early development of the Mental Health Court in Toronto.

    Congress 2007 highlights include:

    -   Canadian Criminal Justice Experts - Making our Communities Safe;
    -   Crime and Mental Health - Myths, Economics and Social Investments;
    -   Origins and Impacts of Youth Gangs;
    -   Victims - Who are the Victims of Mentally Ill Offenders and How Do We
        Assure Their Safety?


    -   Dr. Peter Prendergast, Psychiatrist-in-Chief/Director of Professional
        Affairs at the Whitby Mental Health Centre and Vice-Chair, Clinical
        Services, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto;
    -   Glenn Thompson - Interim President & CEO, MHCC;
    -   Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Police Service
    -   Dr. Scott Wortley - Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto;
    -   Judge Richard D. Schneider, Ontario Court of Justice
    -   Dr. John Bradford, Associate Chief, Integrated Forensic Program,
        Royal Ottawa Health Care Group
    -   Dr. Shaheen Alicia Darani, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health,
        Law and Mental Health Program

    "We are very fortunate to have this unique and timely opportunity for
learning and dialogue around a theme that has become a national priority in
Canada. Over the next two days the challenges presented by the overlapping
concerns of mental health and the justice system will be discussed in-depth,"
say Hugh Osler, Chair, 31st Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice. "Highly
regarded experts in a wide range of health and related disciplines have been
brought together for just this purpose."
    Data from 2001, provided by the London Ontario Police Service, suggests
that between 2.4 and 5.8% of the total police budget was spent doing what is
essentially the work of mental health professionals. The Correctional Service
of Canada reports that 10% of its admitted offenders had current psychiatric
diagnoses while 20% were being prescribed medication for mental health needs.
    This year's theme, Building and Sustaining Safe, Healthy Communities also
highlights the importance of tackling crime in a responsible and proactive
manner. Safe and Healthy communities are a cornerstone of Canadian society and
affect all citizens, in particular youth. The major factors that impact the
health of a community include personal and public safety, which underscore
physical and mental well being.
    While there has been much debate about waiting times and the availability
of sufficient health care professionals for physical illness, relatively
little has been said about mental health services. Indeed, youth and adults
suffering from severe mental health problems often fend for themselves. The
lack of sufficient community and institutional mental health capacity has
caused them to find "shelter" either in the streets or unfortunately to be
placed in correctional institutions.
    Congress 2007 is co-hosted by the Canadian Criminal Justice
Association(CCJA) and the Ontario Association of Corrections and Criminology

    (xx)For complete downloadable Congress 2007 schedule, please visit:

For further information:

For further information: and interviews, please contact: Irving Kulik,
Executive Director, Canadian Criminal Justice Association, (613) 301-6611; or
Hugh Osler, Chair, Congress 2007, (416) 200-4354

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