The intersection of law and mental health is fraught with challenges for individuals living with mental illness, their families, and for criminal justice and mental health professionals, alike. My students and I focus our scholarly work at this important juncture and concentrate our research on projects that have strong bench-to-bedside application. Our study results are intended to have direct relevance and speedy application to shaping practice and policy decisions in civil, forensic, and correctional settings. We have several large-scale programs of research:
Our CIHR-funded PATHWAYS study is documenting and evaluating the Redevelopment of Riverview Hospital;
CIHR is also funding a study of risk assessment and risk management to inform treatment planning and ultimately improve outcomes among former BC Corrections inmates and probationers;
We developed a concise clinical measure for the assessment and management of risk to self and others (Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability, START);
We are also studying success and resiliency among individuals returning to the community following hospitalization and/or incarceration in jails and prison;
I am part of two national teams funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.The first project is studying mentally ill individuals who have come into conflict with the law and ultimately have been found 'not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder' in three Canadian provinces: Quebec, Ontario and BC (The National Trajectory Project). The second project is based on a "Housing First" approach. The At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project is investigating mental health and homelessness in five Canadian cities: Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic Response in a Forensic Psychiatric Hospital: Informing Future Planning
Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice
Christian Farrell and Tonia L. Nicholls and Karen L. Petersen and Lynn Pelletier and The FPH Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)
Assessing the confidence-accuracy relationship in risk assessments using the START: introducing calibration analysis
The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
Christian Farrell and Karen L. Petersen and Tonia L. Nicholls and Ronald Roesch
Expanding the early and late starter model of criminal justice involvement for forensic mental health clients.
Law and Human Behavior
Anne G. Crocker and Michael S. Martin and Marichelle C. Leclair and Tonia L. Nicholls and Michael C. Seto
Forensic mental health contacts among homeless mentally ill individuals.
International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Predictors of criminal justice system trajectories of homeless adults living with mental illness.
Roy L and Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Latimer E and Isaak CA
Forensic mental health tribunals: A qualitative study of participants’ experiences and views.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
James D. Livingston and Anne G. Crocker and Tonia L. Nicholls and Michael C. Seto
Factors Associated with Review Board Dispositions following Re-hospitalization among Discharged Persons found Not Criminally Responsible.
Wilson CM and Nicholls TL and Charette Y and Seto MC and Crocker AG
Identifying gender specific risk/need areas for male and female juvenile offenders: Factor analyses with the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY).
Hilterman EL and Bongers I and Nicholls TL and van Nieuwenhuizen C
Profiles of criminal justice system involvement of mentally ill homeless adults.
Roy L and Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Latimer E and Gozdzik A and O'Campo P and Rae J
The perceived impact of trauma-focused research with forensic psychiatric patients with lifetime victimization histories
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics
Research Priorities in Mental Health, Justice, and Safety: A Multidisciplinary Stakeholder Report.
Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Seto MC and Roy L and Leclair MC and Brink J and Simpson AI and Côté G
The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada. Part 1: context and methods.
Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Seto MC and Côté G and Charette Y and Caulet M
The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. Part 5: how essential are gender-specific forensic psychiatric services?
Nicholls TL and Crocker AG and Seto MC and Wilson CM and Charette Y and Côté G
The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada. Part 4: criminal recidivism.
Charette Y and Crocker AG and Seto MC and Salem L and Nicholls TL and Caulet M
The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada.
Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Seto MC and Côté G
The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada. Part 2: the people behind the label.
Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Seto MC and Charette Y and Côté G and Caulet M
The national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in Canada. Part 3: trajectories and outcomes through the forensic system.
Crocker AG and Charette Y and Seto MC and Nicholls TL and Côté G and Caulet M
The use of risk and need factors in forensic mental health decision-making and the role of gender and index offense severity.
Wilson CM and Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Charette Y and Seto MC
La non-responsabilité criminelle pour cause de troubles mentaux (2014): Non criminellement responsable pour cause de troubles mentaux: Vers des pratiques et des politiques informées
Barreau de Quebec
Dynamic and static factors associated with discharge dispositions: the national trajectory project of individuals found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD) in Canada.
Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Charette Y and Seto MC
Criminal behavior and victimization among homeless individuals with severe mental illness: a systematic review.
Roy L and Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Latimer EA and Ayllon AR
Predictive validity of risk assessments in juvenile offenders: Comparing the SAVRY, PCL:YV, and YLS/CMI with unstructured clinical assessments.
Hilterman EL and Nicholls TL and van Nieuwenhuizen C
Towards a national agenda on mental health and criminal justice
The validity of Version 3 of the HCR-20 violence risk assessment scheme amongst offenders and civil psychiatric patients
International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Predictive validity of dynamic factors: Assessing violence risk in forensic psychiatric inpatients.
Law and Human Behavior
Catherine M. Wilson and Sarah L. Desmarais and Tonia L. Nicholls and Stephen D. Hart and Johann Brink
Redevelopment of tertiary psychiatric services in British Columbia: a prospective study of clinical, social, and residential outcomes of former long-stay inpatients.
Petersen KL and Nicholls TL and Groden D and Schmitz N and Stip E and Goldner EM and Arnold LM and Lesage A
Using dynamic risk and protective factors to predict inpatient aggression: reliability and validity of START assessments.
Desmarais SL and Nicholls TL and Wilson CM and Brink J
Risk assessment instruments in clinical practice.
Côté G and Crocker AG and Nicholls TL and Seto MC
Taking Stock and Taking Steps: The Case for an Adolescent Version of the Short-Assessment of Risk and Treatability.
Viljoen JL and Cruise KR and Nicholls TL and Desmarais SL and Webster C
Pilot Implementation and Preliminary Evaluation of START:AV Assessments in Secure Juvenile Correctional Facilities.
Desmarais SL and Sellers BG and Viljoen JL and Cruise KR and Nicholls TL and Dvoskin JA
Assessment of Multiple Risk Outcomes, Strengths, and Change with the START:AV: A Short-Term Prospective Study with Adolescent Offenders.
Viljoen JL and Beneteau JL and Gulbransen E and Brodersen E and Desmarais SL and Nicholls TL and Cruise KR
To detain or to release? Correlates of dispositions for individuals declared not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.
Crocker AG and Braithwaite E and Côté G and Nicholls TL and Seto MC
Resilience and successful community reintegration among female forensic psychiatric patients: a preliminary investigation.
Viljoen S and Nicholls T and Greaves C and Ruiter C and Brink J
A narrative review of the effectiveness of aggression management training programs for psychiatric hospital staff.
Livingston JD and Verdun-Jones S and Brink J and Lussier P and Nicholls T
Mentally ill individuals in limbo: obstacles and opportunities for providing psychiatric services to corrections inmates with mental illness.
Olley MC and Nicholls TL and Brink J
Domestic violence and child custody
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research
Kausalitätsmodelle zum Zusammenhang zwischen aggressivem Verhalten, Viktimisierung und versuchter Selbsttötung sowie relevante Risikofaktoren aus Sicht forensischer Patienten [Causality models about the association between aggressive behavior, victimization and suicide-related behavior as well as relevant risk factors as perceived by forensic patients]
Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform
Forensic psychiatric inpatients and aggression: an exploration of incidence, prevalence, severity, and interventions by gender.
Nicholls TL and Brink J and Greaves C and Lussier P and Verdun-Jones S
The Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START): a prospective validation study in a forensic psychiatric sample.
Nicholls TL and Brink J and Desmarais SL and Webster CD and Martin ML
Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability (START): The case for a new structured professional judgment scheme.
Webster CD and Nicholls TL and Martin ML and Desmarais SL and Brink J
Of mice and men: will the intersection of social science and genetics create new approaches for intimate partner violence?
Janssen PA and Nicholls TL and Kumar RA and Stefanakis H and Spidel AL and Simpson EM
Women inmates' mental health needs
International Journal of Forensic Mental Health Services
Assessing risk for violence among psychiatric patients: The HCR-20 violence risk assessment scheme and the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Kevin S. Douglas and James R. P. Ogloff and Tonia L. Nicholls and Isabel Grant
Assessing risk for violence among psychiatric patients: the HCR-20 violence risk assessment scheme and the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version.
Douglas KS and Ogloff JR and Nicholls TL and Grant I
Research Group Members
Jennifer Krentz, Research Assistant
Ahead of speaking at the Women in Science event, Feb. 10, Dr. Tonia L. Nicholls talks about her path to working at the intersection of the criminal justice and mental health systems, factors that facilitated her academic and career success and how her research has evolved over time.