Around the world, women are the fastest growing prison population. The majority belong to the racialized, young, poor and disabled groups of society. In Canada, more than half will be sent to a halfway house to ease the transition between confinement and community.
Shauna Meyer works with women in corrections in halfway houses in Brampton and Hamilton. She’s a community chaplain for the Mennonite Central Committee. She worked with youth at risk for five years at a youth drop-in centre called the Dam in Mississauga before switching to corrections for the last three years.
“What really, I think, fell apart for these women is the lack of relationships, and the lack of healthy relationships,” says Meyer.
Most are incarcerated for robbery, property and drug-related offenses. They come out of prison with a criminal record and no I.D, bank account, or credit rating. Workers like Meyer will help by searching for job and school opportunities, giving resume and interview tips, and even by giving referrals.
“We’re all offenders. We’ve all done things that have hurt other people. These people did things that were illegal and they got caught and they’re dealing with the consequences and they should be kept accountable,” says Meyer.
You can listen to a clip of the interview with Shauna Meyer by clicking on the audio track below.