What is life like after exiting prison? Starting over isn’t easy. Those who are released from prison face all sorts of challenges as they work to reintegrate back into community. This can be difficult for individuals, as they navigate a system that doesn’t always set them up for success. Most inmates will return to their communities. So we have to decide. Do we want them to succeed, or are we satisfied with the status quo?

In part one of this series, we examine housing and homelessness after incarceration through the voices and stories of frontline workers and those with lived experience. Listen up and learn along with us!

CONTENT WARNING
This episode contains discussion around suicidal thoughts. If you not in a place to listen, please consider skipping this episode.

As we get close to the end of John Howard Society Week, we’re continuing to recognize our staff by announcing winners of the Leadership Award. This award goes to staff members who show strong leadership qualities. Through times of crisis and with a steady hand, those nominated show their ability to support the mission and vision of JHSS while supporting their co-workers in a positive way.

We had several names come forward and it came down to a tie. Both winners were nominated more than once.

The winners are:

  • Gordon Fox
  • Irene Yanick

Below are some notes from the nomination letters they received from their peers:

Gordon Fox
“Gord maintains a strong sense of humor and dedication to working within trying times. He consistently shows up and supports staff and youth when they are struggling, and when they are not. He is a joy to work with and he can be seen engaging youth playing cards, listening to music, going to get coffee, or just being a friendly ear. He listens with patience and offers strong example of how to face adversity with action and commitment. He is a leader who inspires and he builds a team atmosphere with those he works with by encouraging discourse and consistency. As a co-worker, I never have to guess what Gord is thinking, expecting, or if he is going to actually help out with the work (as he always does).”

Irene Yanick
“Irene is one of the best people in a stressful time. Through all of COVID-19, she has been a vital part of running many different programs. She is someone that you can explain a broad concept to, and she will make the vision come true. Irene is organized, and stays more on top of things than anyone else.”

“We are so lucky to have Irene on our staff, as it makes us all better.”

Congratulations to Gord and Irene! We are stronger because of you.

Today, we’re continuing our celebration of John Howard Society Week by announcing staff winners of the Client Engagement Award. This award goes to nominated staff members who have gone the extra mile in engaging their clients. Supporting vulnerable individuals is hard work, and we want to recognize those who go above and beyond to engage and support their clients.

We had several names come forward and it came down to a three way tie again! All winners were nominated more than once.

The winners are:

  • Ryan McCorriston
  • Abdikadir Warsame
  • Marilee Brown

Below are some notes from the nomination letters they received from their peers:

Ryan McCorriston
“Ryan is consistently going above and beyond for our clients in terms of his level of engagement and interest in our clients lives. He takes time to get to know them and has been a rock in the residential programs during COVID. His calm demeanour is not only grounding to the clients he works with but transfers to the staff as well.”

Abdikadir Warsame
“Kadir is the best at being fully present with the youth. He dedicates his time to picking up any new hobby he is presented with. I’ve seen him watch tutorial after tutorial to learn card tricks, board games, and new skills. He takes the youth skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and skating. Kadir doesn’t just pretend to be interested, he dives in with real enthusiasm.”

Marilee Brown
“Marilee always brings out the best in our youth, and is nurturing, I have learned a lot from her as a new staff.”
“She is always trying to do the best for the kids.”

Congratulations to all three of you! Your hard work and efforts towards supporting the youth and clients in your care is so important, and we are so grateful for your efforts.

We’ll be back tomorrow with the Leadership Award announcement. Cheers everyone! Have a good day!

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” -Albert Einstein

Is change possible in the Canadian prison system? If so, it starts with changing our way of thinking. Then, we must put our new knowledge into action. Systemic change isn’t easy, but it is necessary, and it is possible.

There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love for her child. It’s fierce. Protective. The perfect mix of strength and softness blended together. On today’s episode, two mothers share their stories about what it’s like to have a child in prison and the lengths they will go to support them. We explore the impact of incarceration on families, specifically in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak and the love a mother has for her son.

Episode Summary

There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love for her child. It’s fierce. Protective. The perfect mix of strength and softness blended together. On today’s episode, two mothers share their stories about what it’s like to have a child in prison and the lengths they will go to support them. We explore the impact of incarceration on families, specifically in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak and the love a mother has for her son.

You can listen at the following link, or download anywhere you listen to podcasts: https://knowjustice.simplecast.com/episodes/love-in-the-time-of-covid

Episode Notes

Special thanks to Julie Paul and Stella Cote for sharing their stories with us. Their courage is inspiring and we stand with you.

Thank you to Night Kinistino for your incredible poetry reading. It was beautiful, and we are grateful!

Credit to Jayda Taylor and CTV News Saskatoon for the audio news clip about the riot at Prince Albert Correctional Centre.

You can read more about the protest here: Mothers return to Regina Correctional Centre, dance in support of inmates.

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