Myth: The John Howard Society is preoccupied with offenders and offers very little to victims.

Fact: The John Howard Society is a strong advocate of Restorative Justice. Restorative justice is an approach to justice that personalizes the crime by having the victims and the offenders mediate a restitution agreement to the satisfaction of each, as well as involving the community. This contrasts to more punitive approaches where the main aim is retributive justice or to satisfy abstract legal principles.
Victims take an active role in the process. Meanwhile, offenders take meaningful responsibility for their actions, taking the opportunity to right their wrongs and redeem themselves, in their own eyes and in the eyes of the community. In addition, the restorative justice approach aims to help the offender to avoid future offenses.
Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender has shown the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.
(Source – Wikipedia)

Our Moose Jaw branch recently completed a Victim / Offender Mediation, through the Alternative Measures Program, relating to a theft under $5000.00 charge. The mediation was most successful with both parties being able to address concerns with the victim receiving restitution for the stolen item. The accused was very happy to be able to apologize in person, as these events were out of character for him. The offender was using heavily, when the offence occurred, and the victim was able to see that the theft wasn’t personal. During our follow-up with the offender we were told that the two of them are now friends on Facebook, having continued positive contact with each other. The victim was the one that reached out to the offender and added him as a ‘friend’. Our client stated, ‘Isn’t that crazy, we are now friends’.

For more information on Restorative Justice please click on the below link.
http://www.johnhoward.on.ca/…/facts-28-restorative-justice-…

Greg Fleet
Chief Executive Officer
John Howard Society of Saskatchewan

Myth:

Most people who go to prison will spend most of their lives there.

Fact:

It is estimated that over 90% of people who are sent to prison will eventually be released to the community.
Unfortunately, there are many who will re-offend, especially when they have not been treated for mental illness and/or addictions.
Approx. 80% of those incarcerated have mental health and/or addiction problems. This tells us that treatment and rehabilitation are critical to reduce recidivism, enhance public safety and instill confidence within our corrections system. People are sent to prison as punishment, not to be punished! The absence of effective programming and lack of resources to deal with mental health and addiction issues contribute immensely to those that re-offend once released.
Effective, Just & Humane treatment of those being incarcerated will result in safer communities.

Greg Fleet
Chief Executive Officer
John Howard Society of Saskatchewan

Myth or Fact

Myth:

The John Howard Society is opposed to Solitary Confinement.

Fact:

The John Howard Society is committed to effective, just and humane corrections.
Serious and detrimental effects on mental and physical health from solitary confinement and segregation are well documented.

John Howard Society seeks restrictions on the use of solitary confinement, segregation, and seclusion in all Canadian penitentiaries, correctional facilities, jails and detention centres and specifically that:
(a) consistent with the recommendations of the Coroner’s jury in the Ashley Smith Inquest,
periods of solitary confinement be limited to a maximum of 15-day periods separated by at least 5 days not in solitary confinement and no more than a total of 60 days be spent in solitary confinement in a calendar year;
(b) solitary confinement be prohibited for those with serious or acute mental illness; and
(c) access to judicial review of a prisoner’s solitary confinement be provided.

For further information please follow the link below.
http://johnhoward.ca/…/Special-Resolution-Solitary-Confinem…

Crime and Unemployment: What’s the link?

The rates of unemployment of those entering prisons, compared to the general population, illustrate the strong relationship between employment and crime. One study showed that 75% of those admitted to federal institutions were assessed as having some or considerable difficulty in the area of employment. The latest Canadian data indicate that both sentenced and remanded prisoners show dramatically high unemployment rates at admission of over 40%, while the national rate is normally between 6 and 7%.
Further to this correlation, researchers have identified unemployment as a significant risk factor for criminal activity and property crime in particular. Interesting evidence of this is found in Statistics Canada’s examination of crime and the broader labour market. The data below suggest that unemployment and property crime have been closely synchronized over the last 40 years.
These relationships, while significant and correlative, do not prove causality nor tell the whole story – after all, most unemployed people do not resort to crime. There are a myriad of predictive factors that interact to increase the likelihood that someone will commit crime.
Indeed, lack of employment may be entangled with the interrelated issues of education, literacy and learning delays. The relationship between employment and criminal behaviour can also be influenced by a variety of other social and health and factors, such as addictions, mental health concerns, developmental disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, poverty, discrimination and lack of stable housing.
Educational is a prime example of this interaction. Educational attainment has a clear relationship with stability and quality of employment, with, for example, unemployment rates in the general public being 12% for those with less than high school level education and 4% for those with university degrees, in 2006. Workers with less than a high school education unsurprisingly have significantly lower earnings on average.
It is also clear that educational attainment is related to criminality. While the 2006 census showed that 15% of the general population had not completed high school (with the concentration of this group being people over 55 years), the latest data show that more than half of those in custody have not graduated from high school. Given the increasing demand for higher levels of education and skill in the Canadian labour market, these low rates of educational achievement within the prisoner population underscore the need for employment-related interventions for those at risk of involvement in the criminal jus-tice system.
While the research in this area continues to clarify the nature of the relationship between crime and employment, we can confidently conclude that they are closely related. Offering client services that increase potential for stable employment for those at risk of future or further involvement in the criminal justice system can only have a positive impact on reducing criminal behavior.
(Source – John Howard Society of Ontario)

Greg Fleet
Chief Executive Officer
John Howard Society of Saskatchewan