Forensic Assessment Program

Forensic Assessment Program


The Forensic Assessment Program admits patients from the courts, provincial and federal correctional facilities, and regional psychiatric hospitals. The program provides interdisciplinary assessments, care, management and identification of patients with a serious mental disorder and/or those who pose a significant risk to their self or others. Assessment procedures are designed to examine issues relevant to the courts, diagnosis, and future treatment dispositions.

We provide...
Individualized assessments focused on determining the strengths and needs of each patient. The interdisciplinary assessments examine issues related to fitness to stand trial, criminal responsibility, and potential for future dangerousness, risk, diagnostic clarification, and future treatment potential. The team is comprised of psychiatry, medicine, nursing, psychology, social work, and recreation.

Specifically we provide the following:

  • Assessment of Fitness to Stand Trial – In Ontario, the judge, the Crown Attorney, or the defendant’s lawyer may request and assessment of an individual’s fitness to stand trial. A fitness assessment may be completed in the courthouse, at a detention centre or at a forensic psychiatric hospital that specializes in assessments of the same. According to the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC Section 672.22), one is Unfit if they are unable to understand the nature, object, or possible consequences of the proceedings or if they are unable to communicate with and instruct counsel. It is important to understand that Fitness fluctuates; an individual may appear Fit one day, but not the next.
  • Assessments of Criminal Responsibility – As with an assessment of Fitness to Stand Trial, if either the judge, the Crown, or the defendant’s lawyer believe that mental health issues may have played a role in the commission of the alleged offence, an assessment of criminal responsibility may be requested. Typically these types of assessments take place at a forensic psychiatric hospital, and are generally for 30-60 days in length.
  • The Criminal Code of Canada (CCC Sub-Section 16(1)) states that an individual is not criminally responsible for an offence if a mental health issue prevents them from understanding the nature and quality of their actions or of knowing that the actions were wrong.
  • Treatment Orders – On the basis of expert testimony, the hospital may consent with the court to carry out a Treatment Order (CCC Section 672.58). Anti-psychotic medications would be provided with the goal being to restore an individual’s fitness such that he can participate in his legal matter. A Treatment Order usually lasts for 60 days in order to ensure the medications take effect.
  • Recommendations to the Ontario Review Board.

Special information for patients, families and visitors
The focus of the Forensic Assessment Program is on short-term hospitalizations with a specific purpose. An assessment will be completed based on your needs, and an individualized care plan is provided. We encourage you to participate in the process so that we can be as thorough as possible. Your participation includes meeting with members of the team as required. You are also encouraged to take advantage of our many activities including the indoor pool, the recreation centre, and the large yards for physical activities.

Visiting a patient
Positive contact with family and friends is important to patients’ recovery; it reduces anxiety and loneliness. Visiting with family and friends encourages patients to maintain their family and community ties. It enhances the chances of patients’ success throughout their hospitalization. Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care recognizes the importance of visitors and encourages families to visit as often as their circumstances allow. 

Nevertheless, visiting a patient in a secure hospital can be intimidating and confusing, especially when visiting a patient for the first time. These guidelines will assist you through the process, ensuring you are aware of our procedures and providing information and guidance on what you will need to do to visit. 

Planning for your visit
It can take four weeks or more for a newly admitted patient to reach a security level that will allow him access off the unit. As such, visits during that time period will take place on the unit. With that in mind, you are asked to contact the program’s social worker in advance of your visit, in order to make arrangements. 

Visits on the unit must be pre-arranged and are subject to space and time availability; visits are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. There may be occasions when, due to operational needs, a visit cannot take place. The social worker will be best able to provide that information to you. Should a social worker not be available, you may also make arrangements with the clinical manager, the shift nurse manager, or the charge nurse. 


Entering Waypoint's Provincial Forensic Division
When visiting a patient in the Provincial Forensic Division, it is best if you leave all personal items in your vehicle (purses, wallets, tobacco products, cellular phones, pagers, cameras and other electronic devices). Should you forget, we have keyed lockers that you may use. 

Once inside the secure area, you will be asked to complete a Visitor’s Approval Form (on your first visit) and to present a piece of government-issued photo identification that includes your current address. You will then be required to pass through a metal detector located in the Forensic Security Office and a scan of your person with a portable wand may be required. A temporary visitor’s badge and a personal alarm device will be provided to you; you are asked to wear these throughout your visit. You will be escorted either to the unit or to the Visitor’s Centre, depending on the security level of the patient you are visiting. 

Please be aware that there are cameras located throughout the facility for the security of our patients, staff, and visitors. 
No cameras or recording devices are allowed in the program. 

Your visit on the Forensic Assessment Program
Patients who do not have access to off-unit privileges will visit on the unit. While we are aware that you may be traveling from a distance, these visits will be limited to one hour as each visit requires that the unit be locked up.  A maximum of four visitors are permitted per patient and each must be 14 years of age or older. 

We will do everything in our power to ensure your pre-arranged visit takes place, nonetheless please be aware that there is always the possibility that it may be interrupted or cancelled on short notice dependent upon operational needs or due to patient illness. 

Your visit in the Visitor's Centre
If your family member/friend is able to visit off the unit, the visit will take place in the Visitor’s Centre. The Visitor’s Centre is a large, open area with a large number of tables and chairs for your comfort. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:50 p.m. daily dependent on hospital operational needs. A maximum of four visitors is permitted, unless you make special arrangements in advance. Visitors under the age of 18 may visit, provided they are accompanied by an adult. 

There is a canteen in the Visitor’s Centre which is open for limited hours during the week and on weekends. You will need cash to make a purchase. There is no bank machine on the secure side of the hospital. 

General Policies
Waypoint will respect all non-contact orders as implemented by the courts.
Due to space limitations and security concerns, it is best if you speak to the social worker in advance
        about what you are permitted to bring in. A list of restricted, prohibited and contraband items can be
        provided to you. 
You may want to bring money for your family member/friend for canteen purchases. Please leave all
        monetary funds with the Forensic Security Office staff. A receipt will be given to you and the funds will
        then be transferred to the patient’s account.
In order to prevent infection, please do not visit if you have any signs of a communicable disease
        including cough, fever, runny nose, or sore throat.  
You may hear emergency codes throughout your visit. It is important that you follow staff direction. 

Contact Information
The Forensic Assessment Program consists of two units: A and B. 

For questions, please contact the social worker:

FAP A - Tara Murdock at ext. 2166 or Allison Jones at ext. 2247
FAP B - Theresa McArthur at ext. 2669 or Mary Kraftscik at ext. 2070

Please feel free to use Waypoint’s toll free number: 1-877-341-4729.

 

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How to access this service
Referrals to Waypoint’s forensic mental health programs are accepted only through the court system or under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board. We do not admit individuals directly from the community to these programs.

For more information about this program and whether or not it is suitable for your needs please contact 705 549-3181 extension 2665.