Welcome to the John Howard Society of Toronto.
We provide programs and services to adults (18+) who have been in conflict with the law. Our focus is in three areas: alternatives to prison, in-reach to the prisons and post-release services for inmates upon leaving jail. We have four offices in the Toronto area (Eglinton West, Danforth, Scarborough and South Etobicoke). Our goal is to make Toronto safer by prevention, intervention and reintegration. We provide New Beginnings!
A Second Chance is all it Takes
The job market can be a though place for anyone. Imagine looking for a job with a criminal history. So many great employees are over looked because of there past instead of given a future.
JHST – Reintegration Centre – The Other Side of the Road
The Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) is a maximum security jail that opened January 27, 2014 in South Etobicoke. At capacity is will house 1,620 male inmates. More than 180 men will be released from the jail each week and 33-44% will be homeless. Mental health and substance use issues are also prevalent among those released from jails which may present significant hurdles for local social and emergency service providers. In the communities surrounding the jail, there is a lack of affordable housing while both men’s shelters and addiction treatment centres are non-existent. In general, social services and resources are deficient in the area and there are concerns about the ability of the existing programs to manage the large number of high needs prison releasees. Our solution has been the South Etobicoke Reintegration Centre, or, the “RC”. The RC is a triage and referral site for newly released individuals leaving the Toronto South Detention Centre who require assistance to transition into the community. Based loosely on the United Way’s “hub” model, the John Howard Society’s staff, peers and partners offer a one-stop-shop, judgement-free environment to help men to connect with the systems and support services across the City of Toronto that they need. Accompaniment and community support is also provided by peers (people who have lived experience with the correctional system as well as substance use). RC staff and peers also provide harm reduction education and tools in an effort to prevent overdoses. Clothing, snacks, coffee, access to telephones, and also made available at the RC. Our current on-site partners include the African Canadian Legal Clinic, Margaret’s, Cota and F.E.A.T.
Amalgamation: A Success!
The John Howard Society of Toronto is pleased to announce that following a merger with St. Leonard’s Society of Toronto, it now stands as one of the largest local providers of community correctional services and programs.
TORONTO- “We are confident that our enhanced capacity will better serve people who are and who have been in conflict with the law. Together, we can make communities safer and improve the outcomes of those we help. I am extremely proud of the work being done at the new John Howard Society of Toronto and I am honored to lead this team as we consolidate, support and expand our programs”, said Sonya Spencer, the John Howard Society of Toronto’s new Executive Director.
Leaders in correctional programming and related services, the new John Howard Society of Toronto boasts over 80 years of experience in the Greater Toronto Area with strong legacies and a foundation built through both John Howard and St. Leonard’s Society.
A statement from The Board of Director’s President, Gus Lyn-Piluso, thanked outgoing Director Greg Rogers for his role in helping to catalyze the merger to make it reality. He also expressed a sincere gratitude to all of our stakeholders, clients, and employees for their patience and support. He said, “This is truly an exciting time in correctional programming. Together, we eagerly await what we know will be the positive results of the synergies of this amalgamation which will ultimately provide a full continuum of services in the support of safe and healthy communities”.
The team at the newly amalgamated John Howard Society of Toronto has the ability to champion important change by leveraging new partnerships in developing a full spectrum of services, including innovative and creative programs for our clients, while reducing costs in the long-term.
For more information contact Sonya Spencer, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 925-4386 ext. 224
Reintegration Centre Doors Remain Open!
April 6, 2016
TORONTO- John Howard Society of Toronto is pleased to announce that the doors at the Reintegration Centre will remain open into the foreseeable future.
“The uncertainty of funding for our Reintegration Centre had us planning to close our doors today. We shared our challenges with various Ministries and media outlets and we are thrilled that the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) came to our aid. MCSCS recognized the funding challenges faced by JHST and its partners and worked hard to ensure there would not be a disruption in the services they considered vital in the pursuit of safer communities. We are extremely grateful to Minister Yasir Naqvi and his staff for the one time funding support and recognizing the importance of our work. We are further encouraged by their commitment to assisting us in finding long-term sustainable funding solutions”, said Sonya Spencer, the John Howard Society of Toronto’s Executive Director.
The Reintegration Centre provides a safe place in immediate proximity to the South Detention Centre which allows men to access food, clothes, hygiene items, counselling and support through the identification of their individual needs. The use of a specially developed “needs-identification-tool” helps ensure that each person can access appropriate services throughout Toronto. These referrals may be to our onsite partners (Cota, Margaret’s House, African Canadian Legal Clinic, and F.E.A.T.) or, externally, to programs across the City. This is especially important given the high number of men being released who lack basic necessities, will be in need of emergency income assistance and/or who are homeless (33-44%).
“We know that we are absolutely on the right track. We simply needed some help to become more established in order to be able to sustain this very unique and impactful model of care for some of our most vulnerable Ontarians in the midst of their difficult reintegration journey. MCSCS has provided this help!” said Amber Kellen, Director of Community Initiatives, Policy and Research.
The Reintegration Centre is an excellent example of public-private partnership and voluntary sector collaboration in the advancement of community based best practices.
For more information contact Amber Kellen, Director of Community Initiatives Research and Policy at email@example.com or (416) 925-4386 ext. 227