Incarcerated Canadian women are most often jailed for property offences, which are often considered to be a crime of poverty (Statistics Canada, 2017). However, the introduction of Bill 9 has reduced the negative impacts of poverty-related charges as warrants can no longer be issued for those who do not address their charges.
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary’s Prison Community Outreach Program assists women during their incarceration and as they transition back to the community upon release.
“I’m so thankful for the wonderful support I have received from the Elizabeth Fry Society. I was in great need and now I am growing strong.”
– EFry Client
While in prison, women are provided with support to manage incarceration constructively and to develop a release plan. Our Unlocking New Levels of Capability and Knowledge (U.N.L.O.C.K.) Functional Skills Program in the community and at the Calgary Remand Centre are examples of the on-the-ground group programming we provide in these circumstances. The U.N.L.O.C.K. Program is focused on the enhancement of functional skills to enrich personal development. Indigenous supports are provided to women through access to a female elder and cultural activities that are permitted in the prison system.
Upon release, Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary case managers assist women through intensified case management supports. These supports address the core issues behind their incarceration in order to increase their opportunity for stabilization within our community.
We focus on addressing the issues associated with intergenerational trauma, offering a variety of resources and supports to enable Indigenous and non-Indigenous women to begin the healing process. Women have access to traditional, spiritual and cultural activities that contribute to their path of healing and wellness.