John Howard was an 18 century English nobleman who was captured by the French while sailing from England to Spain and subsequently spent five years in French dungeons before being traded back to England as part of a prisoner exchange. He was given the post of Sheriff of Bedford which had as one of its duties the task of inspecting the prisons. No Sheriff actually carried out these duties in the past, but john Howard was different. Shocked by the corruption, stench, filth, starvation and disease in the jails, he dedicated his life to improving prisons conditions through out England, Wales and most of Europe. His famous report on the state of prisons in England and Wales led to legislation against the more obvious evils of the system and slowly changed public opinion in favor of more humane prison conditions. It was 70 years , however, before there was significant reform.
In 1929 Reverend J. Dinnage Hobden of New Westminster, British Columbia formed a group to assist persons incarcerated upon release into the community following the completion of their sentence. On February 29, 1932 this group was registered under the , " Society Act " with the Registrar of Companies in British Columbia as the " John Howard Society of British Columbia".
In 1946 the Citizens Service Association in Ontario changed its name and became the John Howard Society of Ontario. Most other provinces formed John Howard Society between 1947 and 1960
In February of 1962 the John Howard Society of Canada was formed when all the provinces except for Quebec, ratified a constitution. Quebec joined the John Howard Society in 1980 and the Northwest Territories in 1994.
The John Howard Society of P.E.I. assists at risk persons or persons who are involved in the criminal justice process by providing prevention, transitional and support services.
John Howard Society of P.E.I. is recognized in the community as a major contributor in the Province of Prince Edward Island in the provision of preventive and support services for persons who are at rick or who are involved in the criminal justice process.
- People have the right to live in safe and peaceful society as well as a responsibility implied by this right to respect the law.
- Every person has intrinsic worth and the right to be treated with dignity, equity, fairness, and compassion without discrimination. In particular, those involved in the criminal justice process should be treated in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act
- All persons have the potential to become responsible citizens
- Every person involved in the criminal justice system has the right and the responsibility to be informed.
- Justice is best served through measures that resolve conflicts, repair harm, and restore peaceful relations in society.
- Independent, autonomous non-government voluntary organizations have a vital role in the criminal justice process.