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The National Trajectory Project profiles individuals found Not Criminally Responsible in Canada

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The results of the National Trajectory Project (NTP) have been released. A series of six articles have been published as a special in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

A national research study that followed 1,800 people found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) has been published as a special issue in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. This is the largest study of its kind to be conducted in Canada to date.

The National Trajectory Project (NTP) investigated individuals in forensic systems across British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. Dr. Tonia Nicholls, a Senior Research Fellow at the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (FPSC) and BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS), was a part of the team of Canadian researchers who have developed a clearer understanding of people found NCRMD through this research.

The key findings of this research have shown that the rate of recidivism or reoffending for people found NCR is 17%, which is low in comparison to those offenders who go through the regular criminal justice system. Another key finding was that people with mental illness who come into contact with the law and are deemed NCRMD do not usually commit serious violent offences, the study found about 7% had homicide or attempted murder as an index offense. Another interesting finding of the study was a need for gender-specific treatment for women found NCRMD. It was found that women tend to offend against their children and partners more often, while men tend to target strangers. And while women generally have a less extensive criminal history than men, women were more likely to have murder or attempted murder as an index offense.

To learn more about this research and the findings, you can find read the six articles published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry online.

About Dr. Tonia Nicholls

Dr. Tonia Nicholls, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, and Senior Research Fellow at the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services. She earned her Ph.D. in Law and Forensic Psychology at Simon Fraser University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and the BC Institute Against Family Violence. She held consecutive salary awards and several grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. As a forensic psychologist, Dr. Nicholls’ research interests are at the intersection of law and mental health. She focuses her programs of research on studies with strong bench-to-bedside relevance. Her studies are designed to have direct application to shaping practice and policy decisions to improve the health and well-being of diverse mental health and forensic populations. Her work has earned her numerous awards including the Canadian Psychological Association’s President’s New Researcher Award, the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions and the Association of Threat Assessment Professional’s Dr. Chris Hatcher Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in Forensic Studies. She has conducted more than 80 risk assessment workshops worldwide with direct care providers, researchers, and decision-makers working in civil, forensic, and correctional settings. She has published 100 chapters, books, manuals and articles. Most recently, the Adolescent Version of the START and a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry featuring six articles on the National Trajectory Project.
 
 

 

 

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