The Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Department of Court Services will host the official opening of the Bermuda Mental Health Treatment Court Programme (MHTCP) on Thursday, 20 October.
After years of preparation and development, the Ministry, in partnership with other agencies, launched the pilot programme in October, 2013 The programme models the Drug Treatment Court Programme and aims to provide appropriate levels of treatment and services to persons over the age of eighteen (18) accused of offences and suffering from a mental illness.
The MHTCP Programme employs a Court-monitored and case managed treatment system to supervise clients in the community, ensuring that clients have the greatest opportunity to address their mental health issues and become productive and contributing citizens.
Director of Court Services, Gina Hurst-Maybury said, “Since the implementation of the legislative framework in August 2016, the programme continues to make strides and validate that a team approach and judicial monitoring are effective in changing lives. We are proud of the work of all our agencies and team members, it is a work in progress but is showing signs of hope and great benefit for our entire community.”
Mrs. Hurst Maybury added, “The pilot programme demonstrated success in compliance to treatment and at least four individuals have completed the programme. The Programme consists of five Phases. The team of dedicated professionals from the Judiciary (Magistrate); office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); Legal Aid; The Department of Court Services (Case Managers); The Bermuda Police Service; Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and the Department of National Drug Control. There are also partnerships with other agencies and services providers, employers and most importantly, the family members of participants.”
The Bermuda programme used the Buffalo New York’s Mental Health Court as its mentor Court and the relationship over the past nine years has afforded training, development and mentorship for local personnel. In addition a team from the Buffalo Court, led by the Judge, the Hon. Robert T. Russell Jr from the Buffalo City Court visited Bermuda in the past and provided recommendations and technical assistance in developing our programme. Judge Russell will be the guest speaker at the opening on Thursday. The Ceremony on Thursday will be a closed court session however family and friends will be invited to attend and the Acting Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator, The Hon. Michael Fahy, JP will give opening remarks.