The Government of Yukon will now provide the Community Wellness Court with permanent annual funding of $459,000, effective April 1. The innovative court provides sentencing alternatives for offenders with mental health, addictions problems and disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
The Community Wellness Court is accessible by application for offenders prior to sentencing. Individuals accepted into the program receive a personalized wellness plan in addition to programming arranged by the affiliated Justice Wellness Centre. Programming includes counselling, employment and medical assistance, help from government and community agencies, supervision and support from probation officers and assistance with community reintegration.
The Wellness Court is an excellent example of the kind of alternative therapeutic approaches our government is pursuing for qualified offenders in Yukon’s justice system. For more than a decade the court has helped offenders with mental health, addictions and cognitive challenges avoid being caught in a prison-probation cycle. This permanent funding is well-deserved and will allow the court to more effectively plan for staffing and programming needs.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Tracy-Anne McPhee
The Community Wellness Court has served as a model for similar courts in other jurisdictions, including New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Over the past 10 years, the court has been effective in reducing recidivism and protecting public safety.
The Justice Wellness Centre provides wrap-around support and programming to Community Wellness Court participants. It also serves as a drop-in location for program participants, low-risk probation clients and individuals on bail.