Who We Are
The John Howard Society of Ontario is a not-for-profit organization of 19 local offices dedicated to effective, just and humane responses to crime and its causes.
For more than 90 years, we’ve worked to keep humanity in justice. Today we continue to build a safer Ontario by supporting the people and communities affected by the criminal justice system. Our local offices deliver more than 80 evidence-based programs and services focused on prevention, intervention and re-integration across the province. These range from helping youth develop the life skills that will let them achieve their full potential, to helping families navigate issues of criminal justice, to providing job training for those leaving incarceration so they can contribute to their community in a meaningful way. We promote practical, equitable policies while raising awareness of the root causes of crime and calling on Ontarians to share responsibility for addressing them. Within the system itself, we advocate for the fair treatment of every individual.
Each year, our work impacts the lives of more than 100,000 Ontarians.
What We Do
We promote practical, evidenced-based policies while providing services, programs and education to all those affected by our criminal justice system. This work includes:
Building bridges between people leaving incarceration and their communities to help them build productive lives.
Advocating for fair treatment for all incarcerated people in accordance with international standards for human rights.
Raising awareness of the root causes of crime and calling on Ontarians to share responsibility for addressing them.
Developing policies, programs, and educational material through our Centre of Research & Policy.
Inspired by prison reform pioneer John Howard, we trace our roots back to classes taught in Toronto’s Don Jail in the late 1800s.
Our organization was founded in 1929 by Brigadier General Dennis Draper, then Toronto’s Chief of Police, who recognized the futility in much of his work when prisoners released from jail were thrust into unemployment, isolation and poverty. We obtained registered charitable status in 1967, and have been working to keep humanity in justice ever since.