“Effective, just and humane responses to crime and its causes”
John Howard was an 18th century Englishman who was captured by the French while sailing from England to Spain. He subsequently spent five years in French dungeons before returning to England as part of a prisoner exchange. Eventually, he was made the Sheriff of Bedford, a post which included among its duties, the task of inspecting local prisons. Few sheriffs actually bothered to carry out these duties but John Howard was different. Shocked by the corruption, stench, filth, starvation and disease he saw in the jails, he dedicated his life to improving prison conditions throughout England, Wales and continental Europe. His famous report, On the State of Prisons in England and Wales led to legislation against the more obvious evils of the system, and slowly moved public opinion to favour more humane prison conditions.
In Ontario, the organization was founded in 1929 by Brigadier General Draper, then the Chief of Police in Toronto. Draper recognized the futility in much of the work being done by police, trying to solve crimes and apprehend offenders, when prisoners who were being released from jail were thrust into circumstances of unemployment, isolation and poverty – circumstances that escalate rather than decrease the chances of re-offending.
The John Howard Society of York Region was founded in 2010. In years prior, the John Howard Society affiliates located in surrounding areas had received a number of inquiries and requests for service from community members and organizations in York Region. In many cases, surrounding JHS Affiliates were able to respond. However, as the Region grew, it became increasingly difficult for surrounding affiliates to provide direct service to members of the York Region communities, in addition to their own community. Thus, The John Howard Society of York Region was established. Today, the John Howard Society of York Region serves over 2000 people in our community each year.
Board of Directors