The expansion of Community Transition Teams will double the number of teams from five to 10, and the length of time people will get services is increasing from 30 to 90 days.
“The treatment and supports people get in the weeks following release from a correctional centre are key for a safe transition back into community,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These new and expanded Community Transition Teams will help people get the support they need on their pathway to recovery.”
“We recognize how critical it is to support individuals with substance-use and mental-health needs as they return to their community following incarceration.”
The five new teams will serve people leaving the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, Ford Mountain Correctional Centre, North Fraser Pretrial Centre, Okanagan Correctional Centre and Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. There will also be a centralized hub team to provide specialized clinical support and program co-ordination to all 10 teams.
“We recognize how critical it is to support individuals with substance-use and mental-health needs as they return to their community following incarceration,” said Jennifer Duff, COO, BCMHSUS. “The expansion of the Community Transition Teams program will have a positive impact on individuals, as well as the communities they will be returning to. We are excited to continue our excellent working relationship with government, BC Corrections and other organizations in the community.”
Teams will include social workers, nurses, peer support workers and Indigenous patient navigators, who will provide short-term substance-use or mental-health treatment, medication-assisted treatment and motivational interviewing, and will connect people to psychiatric, clinical and social supports, among other services.
“We see the Community Transition Team as an integral part of our health-care team and the care continuum for individuals placed in custody and returning to their home community,” said Nancy Desrosiers, executive director, Correctional Health Services with BCMHSUS. “Correctional Health Services assumed health-care responsibility for individuals in provincial correctional centres in 2017 and have seen a commitment to improving health outcomes for individuals often requiring significant care, support and intervention when incarcerated.”
The new teams are in addition to the five Community Transition Teams that currently support people leaving Surrey Pretrial Services Centre, Prince George Regional Correctional Centre, Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, Nanaimo Correctional Centre and Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.
“As a person who utilized the service, it really went a long way to helping create a situation where I could have a life today,”
“As a person who utilized the service, it really went a long way to helping create a situation where I could have a life today,” said Steve Pelland, a former client and now a peer support worker with CTT. “I had really nothing when I got released last time, and they really helped me to make sure I was safe, gave me the transportation I needed and made sure that the services I needed were there.”
- Since 2019, the five original teams have helped approximately 1,500 people get support on their pathway to recovery.
- Community Transition Teams have continued to provide services during the pandemic.
- More than 2,500 take-home naloxone kits were distributed to people leaving a correctional centre since 2020.
- With the expansion, each of B.C.’s 10 provincial correctional centres will be supported by a Community Transition Team.