South Etobicoke Reintegration Centre

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Based loosely on the United Way’s Service Hub model, The South Etobicoke Reintegration Centre is a one-stop-shop collaboration comprised of service providers specializing in housing, mental health and legal services to address the reintegration needs of men released from the Toronto Intermittent Centre (opened December 2013) and the Toronto South Detention Centre (opened January 2014). These provincial facilities make up the largest jail in Canada and, at capacity, will house over 1920 men. Most of the inmates will be on remand; charged but not sentenced and waiting for trail. Since they do not have definitive release dates, the jail’s discharge planners are often unable to effectively plan for their release. Therefore, it is essential that JHS-T and its partners are able to respond to these men as immediately upon their release as possible in order to help to increase community safety by reducing the likelihood of recidivism. As well, our opportunity to provide important harm reduction information, education, and tools can prevent deaths resulting from accidental drug overdoses. Research shows that a significant majority of opioid related deaths occur within 7 days of release from jail, and generally, deaths causes by accidental drug overdoses are much higher for recent jail releasees than other marginalized groups.

Providing a safe place in immediate proximity to the jail allows for men to access food, clothes and shoes, hygiene items, 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 via the utilization of” warm” referrals. These referrals may be to internal agencies via our partners at the Centre or, externally, to programs across the City. This is especially important given the high numbers of men released from provincial jails who will be in need of emergency income assistance and who are homeless (33-44%) and planning to return to places formerly identified as “priority neighbhourhoods”. Unfortunately, no emergency shelters and only one multi-service provider exist in the jail’s vicinity. Further, our Peer Support Program at the Centre has meant the hiring of people with lived experience (in the correctional system and with substance use issues), who receive excellent training and employment and the ability to provide released men with a sense of hope. Together, Peers and releasees can travel to specified referral points. This accompaniment can reduce feelings of anxiety and increase chances that client’s will successfully reach their destinations. Further, the jail is situated in a large industrial area but is also within one kilometer of a major residential community and a College campus. Providing support in the way that staff at the Reintegration Centre can and do has a specific impact on increasing community safety to the neighbhourhoods in South Etobicoke.

Current on-site RC partners include:

Cota – cotainspires.ca
Margaret’s – margarets.ca
African Canadian Legal Clinic – aclc.net
F.E.A.T. – featforchildren.org

Contact info

215 Horner Avenue
Etobicoke, Ontario
647-429-7808

Hours of operation
Monday:        10:00am to 7:00pm
Tuesday:        10:00am to 5:30pm
Wednesday:  10:00am to 5:30pm
Thursday:      10:00am to 7:00pm
Friday:           10:00am to 5:30pm

For more information, please contact:
Amber Kellen
Director of Community Initiatives, Policy and Research
akellen@johnhowardtor.on.ca

RC in the News

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/05/31/my-past-doesnt-define-me-how-former-inmates-are-helping-others-start-over.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/01/04/a_fresh_start_just_outside_the_prison_gates.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/08/04/new_support_for_released_prisoners_in_south_etobicoke.html

http://torontostar.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4840733-social-workers-set-up-shop-to-help-inmates-released-from-toronto-south-detention-centre/

Additional resources can be found at the following links:

http://www.unitedwaytyr.com/document.doc?id=163
http://forabettertexas.org/images/HC_2014_07_RE_PeerSupport.pdf
http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/research/r87-eng.shtml
http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/files/PiPs_Research_Briefing.pdf
https://www.shu.ac.uk/_assets/pdf/hccj-SupportModel.pdf
https://www.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/offender-peer-interventions.pdf
http://www.doleta.gov/pri/pdf/mentoring_ex_prisoners_a_guide.pdf
http://www.streethealth.ca/downloads/best-practices-in-harm-reduction-peer-projects-spring-2007.pdf
http://www.regentparkchc.org/sites/default/files/files/RPCHCShiftingRolesPeerWorkFinalReport22.pdf
http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/system/files/private/document/Peer_Support_Guidelines.pdf
https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2015/08/ontario-building-a-new-multi-service-centre-in-prescott-russell.html
http://download.pwc.com/ie/pubs/2012_transforming_the_citizen_experience.pdf