WHITEHORSE—A recent evaluation of Yukon’s Community Wellness Court has confirmed that it is meeting its primary objectives. The therapeutic court, which targets offenders with addictions, mental health problems and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), has been appraised as successful by reducing incidents of reoffending and increasing public safety.
The 2014 evaluation report by Dr. Joe Hornick cites Yukon’s Justice Wellness Centre as a significant support in administering programming and skill development training to offenders. The centre is managed by the Yukon government’s corrections branch.
“The Community Wellness Court continues to be successful in providing offenders who face wellness-related issues with the means to develop the skills and supports to keep themselves from re-entering the justice system,” Minister of Justice Brad Cathers said.
In 2007, the Community Wellness Court was implemented as a response to recommendations set out in the Yukon Substance Abuse Action Plan. The therapeutic court recognizes that wellness-related problems, including addictions, historical trauma, and poverty affect many Yukon families and communities.
The implementation of a holistic approach to wellness planning, as well as provision of relevant programming to address underlying issues that can lead to reoccurring criminal behavior, is shown to be effective.
“With the support of the Justice Wellness Centre and our partner organizations, the Community Wellness Court has consistently met its objective of reducing rates of re-offending,” therapeutic courts coordinator Tanya MacKenzie said. “We have received calls from many other jurisdictions looking to use Yukon’s Community Wellness Court as a model.”
The Community Wellness Court and Justice Wellness Centre currently receive funding from the Government of Yukon and were recently approved for federal Department of Justice support. Funding is in place until 2018.
The Yukon Community Wellness Court