By Jenneth Mainil, Law Society of Saskatchewan Library
As the 6th International Training Symposium: Innovative Approaches to Justice, held in Regina in June, ended, I listened as a dozen recovering addicts candidly spoke about their heartbreaking experiences with drugs and addiction, their horrific tales of crime, abuse, loss and desperation. It was a most humbling experience. But they also spoke about the program that finally offered them support and provided the platform for treatment and recovery. Now they are productive members in the community, counsellors, university graduates and advocates for change and awareness. They have had babies born drug-free, reconnected with their families, made peace with their past and started to make plans for their future. And they are all graduates of the Regina Drug Treatment Court (“RDTC”).
This fall will mark the tenth year of operation for the RDTC, and it’s something we should all be celebrating, quite simply because it works. The program, which plays a large role in Saskatchewan’s reply to a need for a more therapeutic approach to justice, is one of seven courts in Saskatchewan that are taking a closer look at mental illness, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (“FASD”), domestic violence and addiction issues. To learn more about the program, I sat down with the Honourable Judge C.C. Toth, who was instrumental in opening both the RDTC and the Regina Mental Health/FASD Court.