Healing to Wellness Court

Brief Description

The Elsipogtog Healing to Wellness Court (HWC) is a specialized session of Provincial Court. It is a therapeutic court, an alternative to detention, intended to address underlying issues such as addictions, FASD and/or mental health issues for both youth and adults through counselling, family therapy, job employment, cognitive behavioural therapy, mentoring, parent training, peer counselling, mediation, etc. 

The HWC program is an opportunity for an accused person to make positive changes in their life. It is available to Elsipogtog Band members charged with an offence that occurred within Kent County. If this is the first time the accused has been charged with an offence, admits responsibility for their actions, and agrees to follow a treatment plan, the charges may be withdrawn when the plan has been completed successfully. If the accused was previously convicted of an offence, pleads guilty to the charge, and agrees to follow a treatment plan, the sentence is generally reduced and/or community-based.


The main goals of the Healing to Wellness Court are to:

  • Reduce the revolving door of recidivism and re-offending through the use of alternative justice approaches, including community-based justice, therapeutic or problem solving approaches and restorative justice;
  • Address underlying issues such as addictions, FASD and/or mental health issues for both youth and adults;
  • Enhance the safety of the community by providing individuals who participate in the HWC Program with supports that reduce their risk to re-offend; and
  • Address the needs of the victims adequately.


The participants for the Healing to Wellness Court are members of the Elsipogtog First Nations community (12 years old and above) charged with an offence that occurred within Kent County. Clients for this program must also have a wellness related problem (mental health, substance abuse, cognitive impairment or FASD). This program also addresses the needs of victims of crime.

Core Components

The central components of this program are:

  • Through the use of monitoring, clients are provided support;
  • Individualized case plans are developed with the input of the community, service provider, court, victim and client;
  • Client must have a wellness-related issue (mental health, substance abuse, cognitive impairment or FASD);
  • Client must be sufficiently motivated to make changes and accept responsibility for their offending behaviour;
  • Accept the authority of the court and the guidance and direction of the healing team;
  • Using traditional cultural practices as an alternative to common criminal justice practices that have been deemed unsuccessful for the given population to produce longer lasting, more beneficial outcomes for everyone involved;
  • Ensuring that victims’ rights are not forgotten and their voices are heard; and
  • Using the input of the community for suitability and in-treatment planning development.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: There has to be community buy-in/desire to see changes in the way community members are dealt with in the conventional justice system. Community buy-in is an absolute must in order for such a program to succeed.
  • Partnerships: The Healing to Wellness Court has numerous partners. They include key partners such as: Provincial Court of New Brunswick, Public Prosecutions Branch, NB Office of the Attorney General, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Elsipogtog First Nation, Court Services Division and NB Department of Justice and Public Safety, NB Department of Health, RCMP, NB Legal Aid Services Commission and NB Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat.
  • Training and technical assistance: Provincial court staff received training from their respective employer such as court stenographer training for the stenographer, Primary Case Managers received Perceptions Training (by community of Elsipogtog), Applied Suicide Skills Intervention Training (by community), Wampum Critical Incident Stress Management (by community), Motivational Interviewing, LSCMI/YLSCMI (assessments), GAIN:SS (assessments), effective case work management, and Danger Assessment training were all provided by the NB Department of Justice and Public Safety.
  • Risk assessment tools: The risk assessment tools include: The Global Appraisal of Individual Needs: Short Screener (GAIN:SS), Level of Service Case Management Inventory (LSC/MI), Youth Level of Service Case Management Inventory (YLSC/MI), Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA), Danger Assessment (DA) Risk assessment for victims, Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI), Suicide Risk Assessment.
  • Materials & resources: Various treatment court (Yukon Community Wellness, Drug Treatment Court) forms (i.e., referral, waivers, wellness/treatment plans), Elsipogtog Restorative Justice Program framework, site visits of various specialized/treatment courts (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Justice Program, Toronto Gladue Court, Drug Treatment Court, Domestic Violence Court, Saint John Mental Health Court, etc.), Tribal Healing to Wellness Court materials, Fort Peck Community Wellness Court (Montana) process and outcome evaluations.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Elsipogtog Healing to Wellness Court is a pilot project that was first approved by the NB Provincial Government in August 2010. It had its first conventional court sitting on Elsipogtog First Nation in New Bruwnswick on Wednesday May 23, 2012 followed by the first Healing to Wellness Court monitoring session on June 27, 2012. The implementation is a joint initiative of the Elsipogtog First Nation and the NB Department of Justice and Public Safety (formerly NB Justice and Attorney Generals Office). The project is currently ongoing.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

Elsipogtog Healing to Wellness Court was evaluated after the three-year mark in 2015 by R.A. Malatest & Associates. The evaluation was initiated in February 2015 covering the first three years of the program. This publication is a provincial government document; results have not yet been made public.

Cost Information

No Information available. It is a cost shared program where the Elsipogtog First Nation provides community-based programming, staff who provide such programming as well as office space for Provincial staff and the Court room, and the Provincial Government provides some operational costs and salaries of government employees.


Clairmont, D. (2005, December). Elsipogtog Justice: Future Directions. Prepared for the Elsipogtog Justice Advisory Committee.

Clairmont, D. (2012, March). Elsipogtog Restorative Justice: A decade of growth. Prepared for the Elsipogtog Justice Advisory Committee and the Aboriginal Justice Directorate, Department of Justice.

For more information on this program, contact:

Tammy Augustine
Justice Manager/HWC Project Coordinator
Elsipogtog Health & Wellness Centre
205-2 Big Cove Road
Elsipogtog First Nation, New Brunswick E4W 2S1
Telephone: (506) 523-4747
E-mail: justice@ehwc.ca
Website: www.ehwc.ca

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-22
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: