October 1, 2019
The Elizabeth Fry Society (EFry) has many programs to help people involved with the legal system who want to have a better future. One of these programs is the Prison Community Outreach Program, also known as PCOP. The program works to support women, during and after incarceration, to work towards their goals to empower personal change. While working on these individual goals, EFry keeps a larger goal in mind, which is to help the women break the cycle of recidivism. Many women experience criminalization as a direct result of poverty and trauma; therefore, many of the programs that support the PCOP team are focused on addressing the core issues that led to being charged.
The case managers that work directly with the clients have noticed many positive effects on the clients. They have found that by engaging in services, the women find structure and guidance, as well as a listening ear, while incarcerated. In the long term, women gain independence through gaining stability, returning to employment and addressing their core issues that led to their criminalization. The program assists women in finding housing or housing programs to reduce the chances of them returning into homelessness. Having a stable residence reduces the chances of women returning into old lifestyles.
EFry relies on the generous contributions of donations to assist women to re-establish themselves in the community. The majority of donations go directly to supporting housing, and other basic needs for women and their families.
“It’s rewarding to see someone previously street and drug enmeshed make changes that stick.” – PCOP Case Manager
Brock Haug, thirty-three, has been with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary since September 2018 as a Case Manager for the Prison Community Outreach Program. His hobbies include DJ’ing, weightlifting, swimming, hiking and travelling. He has been to Ibiza, China and has an upcoming trip planned to Mexico. Perhaps it is this love of new experiences that led Brock to work for EFry. One of the primary reasons he enjoys working for the organization is because every day is a fresh day where no two days are ever the same. In addition, seeing the positive changes made in the lives of so many different women and youth furthers his dedication to his work. In the past, Brock ran a day program for adults with brain injuries, worked in community corrections, a federal hallway home and volunteered with the parole office. These past experiences resulted in Brock taking a position with EFry last year.
Brock’s work as a Case Manager involves working directly with the women of EFry at the Calgary Remand Centre. He also attends the Lethbridge Correctional Centre for provincially incarcerated women and provides support to women in the community after their release. His role is to provide solutions and resources that address core issues, such as housing, addiction and mental health. The support he provides is important, not only to the women, but also to Brock.
An example of Brock’s compassionate involvement with his clients is when he worked with a woman who could not read without the proper prescription for her glasses. In turn, Brock helper her obtain a new pair of glasses and the woman was able to read properly for the first time since her incarceration. Brock’s involvement with EFry has also taught him how to work effectively within an Indigenous framework. He has learned a lot about the pathways and processes that can be used as an important part of the journey to healing for someone involved with the justice system. He has also found inspiration in seeing people change their lives by committing to making a better future for themselves.
On a final note, Brock suggested to those considering working or volunteering with the Elizabeth Fry Society that they should, “Keep an open mind, every day is a learning experience.” As for the community of Calgary and potential donors, he mentioned, “This is the only organization in Calgary that provides the services we provide. We strive to see our women through difficult times that influence individual progress and everyone here is completely committed to the cause.”