THIS SITE IS INTENDED as an introduction to my Queen’s University PhD study exploring whether or not rehabilitation-oriented mental health programs in criminal courts in large Canadian centres and elsewhere can be used in the absence of the resources usually associated with these courts to achieve their therapeutic objectives in remote, mainly Inuit communities in Nunavut.
The site provides an overview of my research and its goals. It will also provide a place where I can post news and findings relevant to my work while I conduct my study in the communities of Iqaluit, Arviat and Qikiqtarjuaq beginning in January 2013. Readers wanting more information are invited to reach me using the contact information on the final page.
Priscilla Ferrazzi LLB, LLM, PhD Candidate
While work to analyze my extensive data is proceeding well, stakeholders, government, and community organizations are working with me to develop a plan for the dissemination of results anticipated in late 2014. This plan will ensure results are accessible and can meaningfully inform programming and policy development in mental health and criminal justice.
Qikiqtarjuaq focus group members met on October 30, 2013 to discuss themes arising from individual interviews in that community held in February. One theme related to the need to identify the role of elders in helping people with mental illness in this small Arctic community. I would like to thank focus group participants and the Qikiqtarjuaq community for its ongoing participation in this study.
An October 23, 2013 focus group in Iqaluit reviewed emerging themes from individual interviews in the capital conducted over the past year with members of the justice and health sectors, community organizations and elders. The focus group discussion centred around four themes: i) the need to understand how communities and sectors define and identify mental illness ii) the importance of reconciling contemporary and Inuit conceptions of mental health rehabilitation iii) the need to explore community capacity issues to support a mental health court diversion program iv) the importance of inter-sectoral collaboration for effective mental health problem-solving in Arctic criminal courts. I wish to thank focus group members for their interest and engagement in this study and for their feedback in relation to emerging study themes.
The 33rd International Congress of Law and Mental Health in Amsterdam was an opportunity for me to present the framework, methodology, and emerging themes of this study. The International Congress, which is held every two years, brings together “an international community of researchers, academics, practitioners and professionals … whose wide range of perspectives contribute to a comprehensive picture [of] the main issues of law and mental health” from around the world.
Analysis of interviews and focus groups in this study started with live eWorkshops about NVivo10, a qualitative software program that helps manage and analyze data. The eWorkshops on June 10, 12 and 14 followed earlier training in NVivo at Queen’s University facilitated by QSR International, software training specialists.
A second year of funding for this study has been provided by the Nunavut Law Foundation, a non-profit foundation that provides support to important law-related projects and initiatives in Nunavut. The Foundation’s continued financial support of this mental health and criminal justice research is an important signal from a notable northern organization of the relevance and timeliness of this work in northern communities. The funding comes at an important juncture in this research and will go a long way in helping offset the costs of transcription, interpretation and research assistant services in the Far North. I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the Nunavut Law Foundation for its ongoing support of this endeavor.