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International Collaboration for Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health in Corrections - I‑CEIsMIC

$1.6 million for 2017-20

Toronto, Ontario

Scientific Director
Alexander (Sandy) Simpson Alexander (Sandy) Simpson

Improving access to mental health services in corrections

The opportunity

Studies have shown that mental health problems are more common and severe in correctional institutes than in the general population. Increases in suicide, violence and other problems have escalated public concern about this vulnerable and marginalized group of people. Despite agreement that inmates should have the same access to care as the wider community, services have remained relatively underdeveloped. Incarceration provides an opportunity to engage with individuals with serious mental illness who could benefit from treatment.

How I-CEIsMIC is seizing the opportunity

Led by the two major Canadian forensic mental health centres (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, BC), the International Collaboration for Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health in Corrections (I-CEIsMIC) is mobilizing an international and interdisciplinary network of leaders in correctional mental health. Network activities cover the period from initial contact with the law to post-release reintegration. They are designed to improve the health of inmates, increase the safety of institutions, promote public safety and reduce the economic burden of crime. Among its key tools, I-CEIsMIC implements and disseminates the evidence-based STAIR (screening, triage, assessment, intervention and reintegration) care model, stimulating service improvement and policy changes.

Among the expected results

  • The network will develop infrastructure and support implementation of the STAIR approach at a minimum of 15 sites in Canada and internationally, resulting in faster and more reliable identification of those with mental health needs and better planning for their service needs. Better care is expected to result in reduced recidivism, while improving inmates’ ability to function and be productive in society.
  • Evidence and research gaps to be addressed by the network and its partners include gathering data to determine how mental health affects recidivism, “revolving door” problems (people who are repeatedly in contact with mental health and legal systems), public safety, and suffering related to unmet mental health needs.
  • I-CEIsMIC will improve the engagement, responsiveness and capacity of organizations and individuals who deliver care or play another role that places them in regular contact with inmates (e.g. correctional institution staff). Specific engagement efforts include workshops and seminars at international meetings, as well as on-line webinars and self-paced learning.