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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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The 2002 Mental Health Strategy For Women Offenders

Jane Laishes
Mental Health, Health Services



The 2002 Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders provides a framework for the development of mental health services for all women offenders within the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). The Strategy is similar to the 1991 Report of the Task Force on Mental Health which was developed for all offenders, however it acknowledges the mental health needs of women in general, and of women offenders in particular. It outlines the mental health issues and problems faced by women offenders and the treatment, intervention, and programs required by legislation and policy to address these issues. Further, the Strategy describes a continuum of mental health care including assessment, crisis intervention, group and individual counselling, and follow-up as well as the inter-connected nature of all programs and services in support of mental well-being for women offenders.

The Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders was originally published in 1997. The 2002 version was developed in order to reflect the numerous changes and developments in women's mental health issues in CSC during the intervening five year period. The Strategy was revised by the Senior Manager, Mental Health, Health Services, who authored the original Strategy. For consultation purposes the report was sent to a broad range of internal and external stakeholders and partners for input and feedback including wardens, deputy wardens, psychologists, women's inmate committees, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, and other women's organizations.