Criminal offenders recently released from prison in Ontario, Canada face a host of challenges as they reenter society. Finding affordable housing, finding a job and staying sober and out of trouble are just a few of the hurdles recently released criminal offenders encounter. Parolees receive help from their parole officers, but Ontario offers a variety of programs aimed at assisting ex-convicts.
The Correctional Service of Canada, or CORCAN program, is a governmental initiative aimed at the safe reintegration of offenders into Canadian society. Its purpose is to teach marketable skills in such areas as construction, textiles and manufacturing that will help make ex-offenders more employable. CORCAN also provides leads on steady jobs. The CORCAN program begins before the offender leaves his penal institution. Once released, ex-convicts learn how to search the Internet for jobs and how to compile resumes and cover letters.
A partnership between CORCAN and the National Parole Board created LifeLine, a program in which ex-convicts who have successfully reintegrated into society for a minimum of 5 years are offered the opportunity to mentor recently released offenders. To become a part of LifeLine, the offender must be on lifetime parole status. The Canadian government recognizes lifetime parole as a unique situation involving challenges different than most ex-convicts face. A lifelong parole sentence has a tendency to inhibit former inmates' ability to find employment and move about freely. LifeLine's full-time employees also mentor lifetime parolees.
Families of Offenders
Families of offenders also face unique day-to-day struggles when a loved one is incarcerated or struggling with reintegration. The Canadian Families and Corrections Network, partially funded by CORCAN, offers ongoing support for families concerning what they can do to help the ex-offender reintegrate into society.
Programs for Women
A social integration program is also offered by the government to female offenders. Before and after their release from prison, women receive help in how to write a resume, how to improve their self-esteem and how to boost their skills to look for a job.
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