City of Montreal chief Crown prosecutor Julie Provost laughs when she recalls the trip that she and a dozen other Quebec legal and health-care professionals and bureaucrats took to Toronto in 2006 to see the Queen City’s mental health court in action.
“Everybody went,” says Provost, who has been with Montreal’s Crown attorneys’ office for 13 years. “It was like this big, multi-disciplinary expedition. But we learned a lot.”
Once home, Provost was tapped to spearhead the creation of a similar voluntary social program in Montreal that would link the justice and health and social services networks and provide close monitoring and support for people facing municipal court-level criminal and penal charges — but who show signs of mental health problems — as an alternative to incarceration.