The importance of community participation when reintegrating inmates into society


During the reintegration of ex-convicts in the Toronto community, some supports are offered to the ex-offenders. The support provided is because many released inmates tend to adopt addiction and psychological problems, and some of these newly released inmates are homeless. They are mostly incapacitated when it comes to looking after themselves and doing activities such as cooking, replace documents, anger management, and lack required skills for jobs.

The community aims to prevent the ex-convicts from returning to their old ways and engage in crime such as gun violence, drug dealing, child exploitation and robbery. A reintegration center has been established in the Toronto community known as John Howard Society of Toronto. The institution provides programmes that focus on reintegration, intervention and crime prevention in a judgment-free environment. Peers and staff endeavor to educate the newly released inmates on tools reducing harm in an overdose prevention. There is the provision of food such as coffee and snacks, and provision of other essentials such as access to telephones, clothing, and shelter. The facility has established a partnership with the African Canadian Legal Clinic to help the men.

The Toronto reintegration center provides a solution to the problems that newly released inmates are likely to experience when out of jail (Novac, Hermer, Paradis, & Kellen, 2009). The issues are such as the unavailability of affordable housing in the areas surrounding prisons. Another problem is that there is no addiction treatment centers and shelters set up for these men.During their transition in the community, these ex-convicts experience challenges because of their criminal record.

The newly released inmates undergo difficult time in reconnecting with their friends and family in the society. Some of these family and friends may not want to be associated with former offenders and in result disowning the ex-convicts. In situations where the previous offenders have to look for a place to stay, they may be forced to beg or fight to receive housing and other social services. The ex-convicts have to beg or fight for services because their criminal record causes reluctance from the community service providers in offering services to them. Former offenders are discriminated against when it comes to job employment. They are stigmatized by the employers because of their criminal records. The community harbors the mentality that former offenders are prone to dishonesty and cannot be trusted. Additionally, some will be denied employment on the mere fact that they have legal obligations such as attending probation thus having to miss work at some point. The former inmates may experience psychological torture when isolated and forced to live away from other members of the community as these members fear and tend to keep away from the former inmates.


In creating a safe community, a positive involvement of the population is needed. Employers should provide job opportunities to ex-convicts. Employment programs equip former employers with skills that can be applied in various industries in Toronto. Through employment, the ex-convict can earn a living and can support himself. Thus the chances of him re-offending reduces because most ex-convicts who re-engage in crime do so because they have no money to sustain themselves. The community should embrace ex-offenders and offer moral support and give them a second chance. Acceptance from the community members act as motivation for ex-offenders to stay on the legal side of the law.


Novac, S., Hermer, J., Paradis, E., & Kellen, A. (2009). A revolving door? Homeless people and the justice system in Toronto. Finding Home: Policy options for addressing homelessness in Canada.