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Elizabeth Fry – The story behind our name

September 13, 2016

Have you ever wondered who was Elizabeth Fry? We are often asked that question and want to introduce you to the incredible woman our agency name honours.

Meet the real Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry has been referred to as the “angel of prisons”, and was a major proponent to make the treatment of prisoners more humane. Elizabeth Fry was born into a wealthy and socially prominent English family in 1789 and was determined to contribute to those less fortunate.

She took an interest in the poor, the sick and prisoners. She began visiting female inmates at London’s infamous Newgate Prison in 1813 and was horrified by the conditions these women lived in. Elizabeth took action and began her life of humanitarian work and prison reform. She achieved significant reform first in England and then over time in prisons across Europe. Her work expanded to include support of the poor, mentally ill and hospital systems and was even credited with influencing health care providers such as Florence Nightingale.

Canadian Societies Working Together

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies is built on the foundation of Elizabeth Fry’s work of women’s rights in prisons: the right to equality, opportunities and programs in the justice system, and justice without fear of prejudice and discrimination. The Calgary society was founded in 1975 and one of 24 member societies across Canada that meets the unique needs of our communities and collaborates to address poverty, racism and other forms of oppression affecting women.

Celebrating 50 Years in Calgary

This year, Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is celebrating 50 years of working with thousands of Calgary’s vulnerable women and youth. These women are all unique in their stories, but are linked together by common themes of poverty, abuse, addiction and trauma. With our help and support, these women and their families get another chance.

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is rich in stories of hope and change for women and children in the justice system. We’re honoured to continue to carry on the legacy of Elizabeth Fry, a passionate advocate for those without a voice and a champion of prison reform.