Crown fights to designate mentally ill, suicidal inmate dangerous offender

October 6, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News

When Judge Sheila Whelan shot down an attempt to designate Marlene Carter a dangerous offender, she said the public would be “shocked” by the way Carter, an inmate with a history of abuse and severe mental illness, was treated in prison.

Now the Crown is appealing that decision, arguing that to protect the public Carter must be incarcerated indefinitely.

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Veterans’ families get counselling; better disability payments on hold

October 1, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny and Laura Stone, Global News

The federal government is promising counselling for veterans’ families and smoother transitions between military and civilian life in response to recommendations on how to better serve those who’ve served the country and suffered often crippling disabilities in the process – but says it needs to give more thought to proposals that would improve benefits for those with the worst disabilities and ensure equal treatment for hurt reservists.

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Why make soldiers choose between their pensions and their mental health?

September 30, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News

For members of Canada’s military, the choice to come forward about mental illness can be agonizing: Anyone deemed “unfit to serve” – due to mental illness, for example, if the Defence Department contends the illness’s roots predate military service – before having completed the minimum 10 years of service loses his or her pension.

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Magnotta trial: Not criminally responsible myths, debunked

September 30, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News

Luka Magnotta has said he killed and dismembered Chinese student Jun Lin, but is seeking a designation of NCR – not criminally responsible.

If Magnotta is found not criminally responsible it would mean a mental disorder was behind his actions. Instead of going to prison, he would go to a forensic hospital where he’s kept and treated for however long it takes until the illness is abated and he’s no longer a danger to the public (or himself).

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Ottawa considers closing some prison psychiatric beds: Watchdog

June 2, 2014 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News

Ottawa is considering closing psychiatric beds in federal prisons barely a month after announcing a new strategy on inmates with mental illness, the federal prison watchdog says.

At the same time, it has cut back on nursing hours, even as federal prisons are seeing more assaults, more injuries and more use of force – medical incidents that corrections officers, even ones trained in first aid, aren’t prepared to handle.

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