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Can J Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;60(3):117-26.

The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada. Part 3: trajectories and outcomes through the forensic system.

Author information

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Associate Director, Policy and Knowledge Exchange, Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec.
Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Student, Department of Criminology, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec.
Director of Forensic Rehabilitation Research, Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, Brockville, Ontario.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia; Senior Research Fellow, Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, Coquitlam, British Columbia.
Professor, Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Quebec; Director, Philippe-Pinel Institute Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec.
National Coordinator, National Trajectory Project, Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec.



To examine the processing and Review Board (RB) disposition outcomes of people found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD) across the 3 most populous provinces in Canada. Although the Criminal Code is federally legislated, criminal justice is administered by provinces and territories. It follows that a person with mental illness who comes into conflict with the law and subsequently comes under the management of a legally mandated RB may experience different trajectories across jurisdictions.


The National Trajectory Project examined 1800 men and women found NCRMD in British Columbia (n = 222), Quebec (n = 1094), and Ontario (n = 484) between May 2000 and April 2005, followed until December 2008.


We found significant interprovincial differences in the trajectories of people found NCRMD, including time detained in hospital and time under the supervision of an RB. The odds of being conditionally or absolutely discharged by the RB varied across provinces, even after number of past offences, diagnosis at verdict, and most severe index offence (all covariates decreased likelihood of discharge) were considered.


Considerable discrepancies in the application of NCRMD legislation and the processing of NCRMD cases through the forensic system across the provinces suggests that fair and equitable treatment under the law could be enhanced by increased national integration and collaboration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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