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People who have a mental illness and who come in contact with the law have special needs. The mental health system or the criminal justice system alone cannot always meet those needs. The forensic mental health system is the place where the mental health system and the criminal justice system meet.

The forensic mental health system can be confusing for people who have a mental illness. The legal system can be intimidating and a client's freedom may be limited. Many new people may suddenly become involved in the client's life, including police, lawyers, judges, doctors and members of review boards.

This guide is designed to help clients and their families find their way through this system.

The guide:

  • • outlines who works in the forensic mental health system
  • • describes what happens inside this system, and what a forensic assessment is
  • • explains what the Ontario Review Board is
  • • discusses accepting or refusing treatment
  • • explores living in a forensic mental health setting
  • • discusses family involvement.

This unique and important guide will be useful to anyone involved in the forensic mental health system, including clients and their families, police officers, lawyers, patient advocates, doctors and other professionals.

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