KITCHENER — The vast majority of people in Canada’s prisons will one day return to the community, but the supports to help them successfully reintegrate are desperately lacking, a group of federal senators heard this week.
Members of the standing Senate committee on human rights were in Kitchener Thursday to hear testimony as part of its study into the human rights of federal prisoners. The senators also spent several hours Friday visiting Grand Valley Institution, the country’s largest federal prison for women.
Despite the long-standing intent of the corrections system to ensure that people leaving prison are in better shape than when they went in, “we still end up continuing to do a lot of damage” in prison, Chris Cowie told the hearing. Cowie is the executive director of Community Justice Initiatives, a Kitchener nonprofit whose Stride program helps support women upon release from prison, through close circles of supportive volunteers.