Press Release

The John Howard Society of Canada’s Response to the Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security: “Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the Federal Correctional System”

Kingston, December 15, 2010 – The John Howard Society of Canada supports the Standing Committee Report on Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the Federal Correctional System.

The Report, released yesterday, which contains 71 recommendations, concluded that “the unmet needs of offenders with mental health and addiction problems are both urgent and troubling”.

Ed McIsaac, Director of Policy for the John Howard Society of Canada stated: “it is encouraging that the Committee has clearly identified both the immediacy of the current problem and the requirement that federal, provincial and territorial governments must work together to ensure that the current gaps in the system are filled.”

The Report further concluded that the demands for mental health services in the federal correctional system have increased considerably and offenders who do not receive adequate treatment and programming are more likely to re-offend after their release and compromise public safety.

“Prison is a totally unsuitable environment to address the needs of the mentally ill”, McIsaac said. “We encourage the government to take immediate action on the Committee’s recommendations related to the skyrocketing rates of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, the use of segregation, inclusive of independent adjudication, double bunking and the availability of community support services for offenders on their release.”

The Committee has requested that the government table a comprehensive response to their Report. Given the urgency and longstanding nature of the issues raised, the John Howard Society of Canada calls upon the government to table an immediate response.

For more information, contact Ed McIsaac.


Contact: Ed McIsaac, Director of Policy, The John Howard Society of Canada Phone: 613.384-6272,,,



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