Mental Health Strategy

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has developed and implemented a Mental Health Strategy based on five key components for care of an offender from intake to warrant expiry.

  • By law and in keeping with professionally accepted standards, CSC provides every inmate with essential health care and reasonable access to non-essential mental health care to help the inmate's rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.
  • CSC has developed a mental health strategy to ensure essential mental health care services match the needs of the offender population.
  • Effective and timely intervention in addressing mental health needs of offenders is a corporate priority for CSC.
  • CSC provides offenders with a variety of mental health interventions, including assessments and treatment. Mental health services are provided by qualified professionals, and are based on an assessment of the individual offender's needs.
  • Mental health services for offenders can be provided in psychiatric hospitals, in- treatment centres and institutions, mental health clinics in institutions, and select sites in the community.


  • Mental health screening is provided to inmates at their arrival to quickly identify mental health needs and facilitate follow-up assessments and interventions.

Primary care

  • Institutions have inter-disciplinary teams of mental health professionals to provide services and supports, and interventions to assist offenders in addressing their mental health needs.
  • Mental health care teams collaborate with other professionals in the institution to provide a holistic and coordinated approach for offenders.

Intermediate care

  • Intermediate Mental Health Care is provided to inmates who do not require admission to a hospital and whose needs exceed the level of care provided through primary care.

Psychiatric hospital

  • Each region has an accredited facility to provide intensive mental health care for offenders.
  • Psychiatric in-patient hospital care is provided to inmates who have serious mental health needs and require a hospital environment that provides 24-hour health care. Inmates must agree to be admitted or be certified under provincial mental health legislation.
  • Upon discharge from these facilities, plans are actioned to place the offender back in the institution, while continuing to meet the offender's needs.

Transitional care

  • Provincial and territorial governments provide health care services for offenders in the community. Some mental health services and supports are made available through CSC to assist offenders with serious mental health issues in their release and transition to the community.
  • Staff regularly work with community resources to ensure a smooth transfer of care to community-based mental health and social services. This is essential to improving our services and supports the reintegration of offenders with mental illness.
  • Effective mental health screening, identification, and treatment contribute to referrals and timely information exchange between service providers.

Updated January 2019

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