Helping Society’s Most Vulnerable

Sometimes, when people hear that CTF helps inmates, they seem surprised. Why give attention, resources & time to “criminals”? I’d like to answer that question in this post.

Firstly, the inmates who we help are the ones who want help. They are open-minded, positive people who have a lot to offer the world and they want to contribute to their communities. Also remember: most of the inmates in provincial jails are legally innocent of any crimes. They have been accused of something but they are innocent until proven guilty and they have not yet had their day in court. I’ve heard stories from dozens of inmates who have been charged with crimes they had nothing to do with. It’s important to keep this in mind when working with them. The worst case I’ve seen so far was a 27 year old man who had been incarcerated for 17 months and then went to court only to find all charges were dropped and he was released. He’ll never get those 17 months of his life back. This is the criminal justice system in Canada.

But for those inmates who have made mistakes and have drug or weapons charges, or maybe assault, or robbery, it is important not to label them as if they should only be defined by their mistakes. Every human being on this planet makes mistakes and we continually check our Selves for moral or lawful actions. When working with inmates I have found that not everyone who breaks the law is an “immoral” person and not everyone who’s made immoral choices is a “criminal”. This is an indepth and philosophical debate which I won’t get into now but what I mean to say is that I have met more inmates…these so-called “criminals”…who have a higher desire to transform, and a higher desire to transcend challenges than many citizens of the world. Too often, there are people living in the world, caught up in their ego-desires and corrupt inclinations who never see the inside of a jail cell. And all too often, there are good-hearted and well-meaning individuals who are trapped behind bars because of a system or a community who has failed them.

This is why I work with inmates. This is why I see the potential for growth & transformation even for people who are in jail.

One of the ways CTF has supported inmates in the past and what we hope to do more of in the future, is to help them overcome financial barriers to their own health & well-being. When a person has spent months or years in a provincial jail and is then transferred to a federal institution for the duration of their sentence, they often do not have the money or resources needed to get themselves established.

Federal institutions, or penitentiaries, are for people serving two years or more. When they are transferred into the pen, they can purchase a TV, a fan, headphones, as well as specific clothing items. For inmates who have endured additional mental health or medical issues while incarcerated, having access to their own TV is a huge asset to their mental well-being. Unfortunately, not all inmates have money saved to buy this pen package, and not all inmates have friends or family who can help them purchase this package. For this reason, CTF has offered to raise funds for inmates who need financial support for their pen package.

When CTF contributes to purchasing the pen package, the transfer of funds goes directly from CTF bank accounts to the Home Hardware store who then delivers the package to the inmates. This ensures that 100% of the funds are used only for the purchase & delivery of this package.

We carefully select the clients who qualify for our Inmate Support Fund, based on criteria such as their participation in our programs, their willingness to reflect on the nature of their charges, and their proven ability to demonstrate genuine change. We also look for inmates who promote our programs, who connect us with others, and who have contributed some value to CTF development. In this way, when we provide a pen package to an inmate, it is in recognition & appreciation for their contributions to our nonprofit efforts.

Currently, CTF is supporting a 32 year old native man, from Hamilton, who is going by J.H. His story and Go Fund Me page can be accessed at this link. We would be so grateful for any contributions – big or small – which can help J.H. during his transfer to a penitentiary. Please consider reading his story here and if you feel inspired to contribute that would be wonderful. It is the generous support of friends, families and community members which has moved CTF forward over the years, allowing us to continue growing & helping more and more people along the way.

Not that interested in supporting purchase of a pen pack but you still want to help?

Donations of all denominations are warmly welcomed at any time. We use 100% of funds raised to run phone lines, send letter-writing campaigns, and provide transformation correspondence courses. Your donation can help us keep our programs running & growing!


Published by Rachel Perry

Co-founder of CTF Chair of Board of Directors Director of Crisis Phone Line & Transformation Correspondence Volunteer Coordinator

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