Cost analysis of the Saskatoon Mental Health Strategy (MHS) court
Keywords:mental health court, administrative charges, recidivism
Housing inmates, particularly those living with mental health concerns, is a very expensive prospect. Mental health courts (MHCs) are designed to divert justice-involved individuals living with mental health concerns away from the traditional criminal justice system and to mitigate some of the issues commonly seen in these systems. Given this diversion, it would seem that MHCs could reduce costs associated with crimes committed by this population. While intuitive, these cost savings are an untested assumption as there has been very little research examining the costs of these programs, particularly in Canada. Thus, this study presents the findings from a cost analysis of the Saskatoon Mental Health Strategy Court in Saskatchewan, Canada. Results demonstrated that Court costs increased in the first and second year post-Court entry. Most concerningly, a large proportion of these increased costs seem to be attributable to administrative charges applied by the Court. Recommendations for MHC operation and potential impacts of the cost analysis are further explored.
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