The John Howard Society of Quebec was a member agency of the Welfare Federation of Montreal, and was financed through the annual Red Feather campaign.
The John Howard Society of Quebec traces its origin to 1888 when a group of young men began visiting prisoners in the old Montreal Jail. Six years later, they formed the first local Prisoners' Aid Society. Gradually other Montrealers started working in related fields - giving legal advice, studying prison conditions, and fighting for new penal laws and the repeal of capital and corporal punishment. In 1931, these groups joined together as The Prisoners' Aid and Welfare Society. In 1947, the name was changed to The John Howard Society of Quebec, Inc., in line with similar organizations across Canada.
The John Howard Society of Quebec was a member agency of the Welfare Federation of Montreal, and was financed through the annual Red Feather campaign, Provincial and Federal Government grants and individual donations.
Sickened by conditions in 18th century British prisons, John Howard, son of a London merchant, devoted his life to the cause of penal reform. Fighting public apathy, and often belligerent opposition, he succeeded before his death in 1790 in at least drawing attention to the desperate need for reform measures. At the same time, he undertook the first organized efforts towards rehabilitation of offenders after release. From this beginning came the many prisoners' aid societies working in these fields today. In Canada and the Commonwealth particularly, John Howard's work and name are carried forward by John Howard Societies.
In July of 1973, in accordance with the passage of an Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services (1971 S.O. CH. 45) six community based, volunteer, independent social service agencies were merged to form the Ville Marie Social Service Centre and this included the John Howard Society of Quebec.
As services at Ville Marie focused mostly on children and families, services to prisoners ware eventually fazed out and prisoners requiring services were referred to other John Howard Societies throughout Canada.
In the mid-2000s, an attempt was made to revive The John Howard Society of Quebec. Their offices are located in the Catholic Community Services building at 1855 Boulevard de Maisonneuve in Montreal. Although their website is still active, there has been no apparent activity on the website since 2009.
More to come...