The Yukon Community Wellness Court

The Yukon Community Wellness Court (CWC) is an innovative therapeutic court designed to contribute to the building of safer Yukon communities through crime reduction. It does this by working with offenders in the criminal justice system on the root causes of their criminal behaviour. The court officially opened in April 2007 and it accepted its first referral in June 2007.

The court targets individuals with addictions, mental health problems, and/or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Participants work with a coordinated team of professionals and community supports to develop and follow a holistic wellness plan.

The Community Wellness Court is a response to the high percentage of cases before Yukon criminal courts with offenders that have significant wellness-related issues and problems. The court recognizes that these problems, including addictions, historical trauma, and poverty, are deeply embedded in the fabric of many Yukon families and communities. Holistic and culturally relevant approaches to working with offenders on the underlying issues that lead to their criminal behaviour are required in order for positive changes to occur in Yukon recidivism rates.

The CWC is a collaborative project that involves a partnership among the following:

  1. Yukon Territorial Court
  2. Yukon Department of Justice
  3. Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  4. Yukon Legal Services Society
  5. Council of Yukon First Nations
  6. RCMP
  7. Yukon Department of Health and Social Services

The Community Wellness Court receives funding from the Government of Yukon.

The Community Wellness Court is being evaluated and the evaluation will fully document the program’s activities, development, and outcomes.

 


 

PDF Documents for downloading


 

 

CWC Questions and Answers:

 


Who can participate?

Participation in the CWC is open to all adults (age 18 and over) with outstanding Criminal Code or Controlled Drugs and Substances Act charge(s). One or more of the following must be viewed as a contributing factor to the criminal conduct:

Participants must demonstrate significant motivation to start working on serious problem areas in their life, such as addictions, and be willing to work closely with a team of professionals and community supports.

Where the charge(s) are drug-related, the offence must be addiction rather than profit motivated, and therefore, the quantity of drugs involved will usually be small.

An individual cannot participate in the CWC in the following circumstances:

Note: offences related to domestic violence will be dealt with in the Domestic Violence Treatment Option Court.

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How does the CWC work?

The CWC is a voluntary program. To participate, individuals must:

The CWC is a voluntary program. To participate, individuals must:
  1. Meet all legal eligibility criteria;
  2. Enter a guilty plea, waive the right to immediate sentencing, and agree to abide by the terms of the program;
  3. Follow detailed bail conditions setting out restrictions on activities and required conduct, including drug testing;
  4. Work with a Primary Case Manager and other treatment staff to complete a suitability assessment and develop a wellness plan;
  5. Follow an intensive treatment and support program (wellness journey);
  6. Appear in Yukon Territorial Court on an as-required basis to assess progress.

The participation and progress of an individual in the CWC will be reflected in their sentencing. Participants who do not fully comply with their program may be subject to sanctions.

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What does treatment and support include?

Treatment and support in the CWC follows a holistic model. Participants in the CWC will be assisted to access a wide range of treatment and supports.

Some services and supports will be provided directly by the CWC wellness team. Other services and supports will be provided through referral to community agencies or services provided by other territorial government departments and/or First Nations.

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How long does the program take?

 

If there are no major setbacks, the CWC program generally lasts 12 – 18 months.
Upon successful completion of his/her Wellness Plan, a participant shall proceed to a sentencing hearing.  The CWC Judge will impose a sentence that, while applying the sentencing principles set out in sections 718, 718.01, 718.1 and 718.2 of the Criminal Code, particularly recognizes the positive rehabilitative steps taken by the participant. 

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Where can I get more information?

Tanya MacKenzie, Therapeutic Courts Coordinator
e-mail: tanya.mackenzie@gov.yk.ca

Community Wellness Court
c/o Court Services
Main Floor, Law Courts Building
2134 2nd Avenue
Whitehorse, YT
Y1A 5H6
(867) 393-6229

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