What is the system challenge?

In Ontario, evidence shows that men recently released from prison are more likely to face a broad range of challenges, including:

  • lack of access to stable housing;
  • lack of employment;
  • lack of educational opportunities;
  • anger management issues;
  • mental health and substance use issues;
  • lost identification (i.e. driver’s license);
  • poverty; and
  • lack of supportive social networks.

Imprisoned people also tend to have poorer overall health than the general population and are at greater risk of death from an accidental drug overdose immediately after release.

These men face further obstacles upon release from prison due to barriers that discharge planners face in their efforts to develop effective plans for release. Obstacles include the lack of clear lines of communication between community organizations, government agencies, and others who have the ability to support reintegration into the community, as well as the stigma surrounding former prisoners. Research shows that men who are released from prison but do not receive assistance with reintegration have a high risk of re-offending within a relatively short period of time.

What are we doing about it?

The Toronto Justice Service Collaborative determined that the best time to provide assistance to men released from custody is the period immediately after discharge. The Service Collaborative partnered with the John Howard Society of Toronto to build capacity and enhance processes within the Reintegration Centre – a service, support, and referral hub for men that includes mental health, housing and legal services.

The Service Collaborative worked with partners at the John Howard Society to co-develop a staff orientation and training program, with weekly coaching related skills provided by a PSSP implementation coach.

Now, immediately upon release, men are able to receive coordinated access to community support services from a variety of partner agencies at the Reintegration Centre to help them safely transition into the community.

?What's this?

Full Implementation

The Toronto Justice Service Collaborative partnered with the John Howard Society of Toronto to provide weekly onsite coaching to Reintegration Centre staff and co-develop a comprehensive orientation and training program for onsite staff.