Off-ward passes in the Forensic Mental Health System – A misunderstood privilege and rehabilitation tool
By Dr. Sandy Simpson, Chief of Forensic Psychiatry at CAMH
Forensic patients are people who, because they are unwell, have committed an offence. Because their mental illness caused the offence they are sent to a hospital – not prison – to get treatment and rehabilitation for the causes of their offending. This process of recovery is a slow and careful one, overseen by the Ontario Review Board.
Initially, most patients are confined to secure hospital wards while staff work with them to understand their illness, their treatment needs and to develop a rehabilitation and recovery plan in accordance with their Review Board disposition. During this time, staff members also determine the potential risk the patient has to others, as well as to themselves. Once this is achieved, a gradual plan for increasing privileges is put in place so the person may attend treatment opportunities available off the ward. This may also include passes for recreation and socialization opportunities. Read more