Our Organization

OUR ORGANIZATION

ABOUT ELIZABETH FRY SOCIETY NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO

Elizabeth Fry Society Northwestern Ontario is a vibrant charitable organization that supports and advocates for women in prison, women transitioning back into the community, and women at risk of criminalization. We work to provide integrated programs and support services that best meet the needs of women and their families, with the goal of building healthy communities and reducing incarceration.

Our team advocates with and for women through responsive, compassionate and non- judgemental support. We undertake a gendered, culturally sensitive and trauma-informed approach when working with clients and their families. Through strategic programming developed for women by women, our team works with clients to overcome systemic and individual barriers by building on their strengths. This approach helps empower each individual to build confidence and acknowledge their resilience in restoring their own lives.

ABOUT ELIZABETH FRY SOCIETY NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO

Elizabeth Fry Society Northwestern Ontario is a vibrant charitable organization that supports and advocates for women who are criminalized or live on the edges of the criminal justice system. We work to provide integrated programs and support services that best meet the needs of women and their families, with the goal of building healthy communities and reducing incarceration.

Our team advocates with and for women through responsive, compassionate and non- judgemental support. We undertake a gendered, culturally sensitive and trauma-informed approach when working with clients and their families. Through strategic programming developed for women by women, our team works with clients to overcome systemic and individual barriers by building on their strengths. This approach helps empower each individual to build confidence and acknowledge their resilience in restoring their own lives.

Mission

To reduce the criminalization of women by advocating on behalf of, and providing direct services to women who are, have been or may be criminalized.

Vision

To ensure all women who are, have been or may be criminalized have adequate supports by responding to individual and systemic issues.

Our History

In 1998, the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Decade Council identified the need to provide advocacy and services for criminalized women in Northwestern Ontario. A steering committee was formed in 1999, and working alongside a 4th year social work student from Lakehead University conducted interviews and hosted public meetings to further investigate the gaps and the range of services that were needed. The resulting report, “Women in Conflict with the Law (Thunder Bay and Area) Elizabeth Fry Society” was released in March 1999. The report concluded that there was a need to provide support to women serving sentences, being discharged from jails and other institutions and those at risk of conflict with the law. Over the next three years, the steering committee developed the organization and expanded its membership, leading to the incorporation of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario as a not-for–profit corporation in 2003.

Our Approach

“We undertake a gendered, culturally sensitive and trauma informed approach when working with clients and their families.”

Who Was Elizabeth Fry?

Elizabeth Fry was born into a family of Quakers in 1780 in England. It was fortunate for all concerned that Quakers believed in the equality of women (250 years before women won the vote), otherwise Elizabeth Fry’s unusual talents in the area of prison reform might never have been realized.

Her insight, persistence, organizational ability and her willingness to see a “divine light” in every person resulted in striking reforms taking place in the manner in which women and children were treated in London’s Newgate Prison.

She was a strong proponent of humane treatment for prisoners and regarded by many as a leading expert in prison reform. As she once said, “When thee builds a prison, thee had better build with the thought ever in thy mind that thee and thy children may occupy the cells.”

Elizabeth Fry died in 1845 at the age of 66 years.

Who Was Elizabeth Fry?

Elizabeth Fry was born into a family of Quakers in 1780 in England. It was fortunate for all concerned that Quakers believed in the equality of women (250 years before women won the vote), otherwise Elizabeth Fry’s unusual talents in the area of prison reform might never have been realized.

Her insight, persistence, organizational ability and her willingness to see a “divine light” in every person resulted in striking reforms taking place in the manner in which women and children were treated in London’s Newgate Prison.

She was a strong proponent of humane treatment for prisoners and regarded by many as a leading expert in prison reform. As she once said, “When thee builds a prison, thee had better build with the thought ever in thy mind that thee and thy children may occupy the cells.”

Elizabeth Fry died in 1845 at the age of 66 years.