St. Joseph’s Mental Health & Addictions Program opens new Forensic Unit

Since 1978, Hamilton has long awaited the arrival of a new medium secure Forensic Unit. With the help of staff and community partners, that dream has come to fruition.

This newly renovated inpatient service unit at the Centre for Mountain Health Services in Hamilton, ON will accommodate 18 clients who are mentally ill offenders. The forensic department will aim to provide effective mental health services in a safe and secure environment.

St. Joseph’s VP of Mental Health addressed the community’s need of this unit. “We are now able to offer our community and surrounding areas with comprehensive forensic services, dedicated to providing compassionate, sensitive care to patients.”

This was a significant team effort from administration and the building redevelopment team. Additionally, numerous community partners have worked tirelessly contributing to the success of this opening including police services, correctional services, the attorney general as well as the ministry.

“The long standing partnership the Hamilton Police Department has with this program allows us to service people who require treatment,” says Deputy Police Chief Tom Marlor. “Rather than to incarcerate offenders, it’s wonderful to be able to bring them to a new facility like this where they can be treated and receive the compassionate care they need.”

You can immediately sense the energy in the unit that staff are eager to assist these clients. Of course new services lead to new staff and future research as Dr. Richard Swinson, Chief Psychiatrist, St. Joseph’s Healthcare addressed. “St. Joseph’s Healthcare is remarkably supportive of the Mental Health & Addictions Program to advance such knowledge and gain expertise to be prepared for expansion.”

Administration and staff will pay close attention to the safety of the public and security of the unit, serving populations from our own catchment areas.

“It is our intention to become the best Forensic Service that we know of,” says Dr. Gary Chaimowitz, Forensic Services Psychiatrist. “We will be working with our partners to create a system that will develop services for mentally ill offenders in a way that treats them with dignity and allows them hopeful integration into the community.”