“Effective, just and humane responses to crime and its causes”
The goal of the John Howard Society of Ottawa is to provide services that prevent crime, reduce poverty and build self-sufficiency.
In the beginning was a concerned businessman, Tom Lamothe, who organized a group of Ottawa citizens to take responsibility for the problems of crime and the prison system. This resulted in the inception of the John Howard Society of Ottawa in 1951 with Mr. Lamothe as the first President of the volunteer Board of Directors. The Society took its name from John Howard, a British social reformer who advocated for the improvement of prison conditions.
Most of the early history of the organization has been gleaned from news clippings in the Ottawa Citizen. A few highlights follow to illustrate organizational development, community education activities, and community development initiatives.
- 1952 – Ottawa Red Feather provides modest financial support; this is a precursor to the Community Chest and then United Way/Centraide
- 1955 – Accepted as a United Way agency
- 1957 – Louis Zeitoun (MSW, University of Ottawa School of Social Work) announced as first Executive Secretary (combination of counsellor and board liaison)
- 1958 – Budget announced to be “in excess” of $16,000 to provide material assistance and support for “persons paying or who have paid their debt to society”
- 1958 – Annual Dinner guest speaker is A.J. MacLeod (Q. C., Director of Remission Service and Criminal Law Section of Department of Justice) who noted, “I think that we, as citizens, should be alert not to impede, by our attitude, the conscientious effort toward reform and rehabilitation of the offender.”
- 1959 – Annual Dinner guest speaker is Arthur Maloney (Conservative Member of Parliament) who made a plea for the abolition of present laws concerning habitual offenders and minimum sentences so judges could decide “after acquainting themselves with all the facts”
- 1960 – JHS collaborates with St. Patrick’s College (later part of Carleton University) to institute a course of evening lectures on Criminology and Correction
- 1961 – JHS Executive Secretary, Louis Zeitoun, participates on organizing committee to found the Youth Services Bureau
One of the most significant, yet tragic events to occur within JHS Ottawa was the murder of Celia Ruygrok at Kirkpatrick House in July 1985. Celia was a Carleton University student working alone on an overnight shift when she was murdered by a Kirkpatrick House resident. This tragedy resulted in changes to the operation of community residential facilities across Canada (including the development of detailed Operating Standards) and recognition at JHS Ottawa that comprehensive staff and client safety practices must be a fundamental component of all of our services.
Board of Directors
- Richard Lamothe, President – Communications Consultant
- Jane Fjeld, Vice-President – Youth Services Bureau
- Glenn La Rusic, Treasurer – Accountant
- Bruce Simpson, Past President – Defence Counsel
- Sheila Arthurs, Director – Department of Justice Canada (ret’d)
- Tim Farr, Director – Public Safety Canada (ret’d)
- Jody Brian, Director – Hopewell
- Allan Clarke, Director – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
- Robert d’Arras, Director – Secondary School Teacher
- Semirath Fagbemi, Director – Export Development Canada
- Vicki Grisim, Director – Child and Youth Worker Program, Algonquin College
- Howard Krongold, Director – Defence Counsel
- Emile Therien, Director – Canada Safety Council (ret’d)