John Howard Societies across the country are marking John Howard Society Week (March 3rd to 9th) by showing their support for the Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism.  Prompted by Conservative MP Richard Bragdon’s Private Member’s Bill, this initiative was endorsed by all parties and seeks to keep communities safer by reducing repeat crime.  The goal is to support crime free living by helping those overcome the barriers they face when returning to our communities.

After extensive consultations, the federal framework identifies five priority themes to support successful returns to communities: housing, education, employment, health, and positive support networks.

The John Howard Societies across the country together constitute the largest charity providing reintegration services in more than 60 communities throughout Canada.  We take our name and values from the great 18th century prison reformer, John Howard, and still try to improve prison conditions, but our collective mission is one of service provision to some of the most marginalized people who need a helping hand to get back on track.  Responding to the needs of our communities, John Howard Societies have been delivering programs that address the five pillars of the Framework for many years.  These programs are often supported by federal, provincial, and/or local governments, our donors, and our dedicated staff and volunteers.  We are grateful for the support of all who share our goal of reducing crime and making communities safer.

We welcome the federal government’s framework and what we hope will flow from it.  The requirement that reports to Parliament on the progress of the initiative will be made every year after 2025 signals an ongoing commitment to make communities safer.  Research shows that community-based programs are more effective and cost-efficient at reducing repeat crime.  Yet community corrections is an under-resourced sector.  The physical and emotional cost paid by victims and the significant criminal justice system and correctional costs would be significantly reduced if repeat crime was decreased.  A reallocation of savings from reductions in recidivism could be redeployed to expand and maintain those programs that have proven to be successful in reducing crime.  Also, the federal framework invites testing innovative approaches and metrics that allow us to know what programs are working to reduce recidivism and where efforts should be strengthened to overcome challenges.

During John Howard Society Week, we invite you to reach out to your local John Howard Society to learn what is happening in your community to curb repeat crime and what more could be done.  We also invite you to view our Youtube Channel where we will post presentations being made during the week on each of the priority area of the Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism.

Some believe that the best way to reduce crime is to increase penalties and lock people away for as long as possible despite clear evidence that tougher penalties do not deter crime.  John Howard Societies know that providing support to those in our communities who are now trying to turn their lives around reduces repeat crime.  We look forward to working with all levels of government and with everyone who shares our interest in furthering the priority areas identified in the Framework.  This is a great opportunity to make our communities safer.




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