Letter to the Editor, The Globe and Mail
Your editorial “The Vince Li Problem” (February 12, 2013) did little to dispel the misinformation about those found “not criminally responsible,” review boards and the process to ensure public safety. It’s important to understand that people with mental illness constitute a very small minority of those who commit crimes. In Ontario, only 0.001 per cent of individuals charged with Criminal Code violations are found “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.” The recidivism rates for individuals found NCR ranges from 2.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent – far lower than that for federal offenders in the regular system, of whom 41 per cent to 44 per cent reoffend. While the system for managing people found NCR is very effective, improved public safety and increased sensitivity toward victims and their families, the stated intent of the reform, are laudable goals. But we must remain vigilant to ensure a balance between community safety, victim needs and the recovery of those with mental illness involved with the law so they may productively re-enter the community.
Suzane Renaud, President, Canadian Psychiatric Association