Our Mission

The John Howard Society's objective of preventing crime and concern for justice is reached through:

  • Initiating programs which encourage positive behavior, and reintegration of prisoners back into society
  • Developing alternatives to imprisonment
  • Suggesting reform within the Criminal Justice System
  • Implementing a range of public education programs to encourage involvement in and responsibility for the Justice System
  • Working to provide direct, effective, cost-efficient service to prisoners, parolees, probationers and their families
  • Providing support and encouragement through programs providing relief for victims of crime

John Howard was a prison reformer in the 1700s. When he was elected to the office of High Sheriff in Bedford County in England, he used his position in a unique way, investigating the conditions of prisons in England and much of Europe. His activities and reports inspired the House of Commons to pass laws aimed at eradicating conditions which Howard brought to light. His writings encourage practices that brought prison systems several steps closer to becoming humanitarian and more effective.

He advocated medical care of prisoners, that food be provided, that jailers not be allowed to profit from their prisoners, that prisoners be released when so ordered by the courts, and not required to pay a fee for the privilege, that young prisoners be separated from the old hardened prisoners, that male and female prisoners have separate accommodation, and that prisoners be allowed work and activity. For those unmanageable prisoners, he urged punishment by solitary confinement and a bread and water diet, rather than torture or punishment by the lash or scourge.

Although we use different methods for these different times, we have inherited the legacy of involvement from John Howard. The society was founded in 1931. Currently the JHS provides services in Abbotsford, Campbell River, Courtenay, Duncan, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Powell River, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Vernon and Victoria. Some services are also available in the Kootenays.

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Last year, more than 112,000 people in communities across BC were helped thanks to the contributions of our supporters.
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