Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours Psychology and Honours Sociology (Laurier, 1991), a clinical Master of Social Work degree (Laurier, 1993), a Master of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Leicester, 2015), and he is currently a PhD student in Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland. For the past ten years Thomas has been a Registered Social Worker at a large hospital-based forensic mental health program in Hamilton, Ontario where he works with men and women being assessed for or who have been found Not Criminally Responsible or Unfit to Stand Trial. He has been an elected professional member on the Council of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers for the past five years, currently sitting on the Executive Committee. His professional memberships include the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the U.S., and the National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW), also in the U.S. He was admitted to the Academy of Certified Social Workers (through NASW) in 2013, and in 2016 he passed the board examinations to become a Certified Master Forensic Social Worker (through the American Board of Forensic Social Workers). Thomas has been a regular sessional instructor of MSW students through the University of Windsor since 2011, and for the past six years he has held the rank of Assistant Professor (p/t) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.
Thomas’s research interests include:
- The experiences of mental health service users, especially in forensic mental health (including both hospitalized and imprisoned persons with mental health concerns)
- Discharge planning and community adjustment/re-adjustment of recently hospitalized or imprisoned persons
- Stigma and public opinion towards consumers with mental health and criminal social labels
- The effects of de-institutionalization including the criminalization of people with mental illness
- The conflict between social order and critical theory