In 2018, the City of Edmonton, capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, established the Edmonton Mental Health Court, a pilot project intended to help those with mental health issues navigate the justice system. It was specifically designed for anyone with mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and major depression, with a brain injury, or with FASD, who have been charged with a crime; the Court is not currently open to those charged with murder, drug prosecution, or breaches of long-term offender orders. According to Amna Qureshi, a staff lawyer with Legal Aid Alberta, in addition to traditional legal activities, the Court seeks to help with issues like homelessness, poverty, addiction, and trauma. She added that those referred to the Court by a judge will find themselves not only dealing with more judges, lawyers, and other criminal justice officials, but also psychiatrists, nurses, and social service professionals. “It’s an approach to take into account — in a holistic way — all of these other factors or issues that people might be struggling with at the same time as maybe being in conflict with the law,” Qureshi said. “It gives us a chance to provide more meaningful types of resolutions.”

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