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N.S. non-profit’s Positive Release Program breaks barriers for criminalized individuals


The Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, which works with criminalized women and gender-diverse individuals, is seeking the public’s support for an important initiative. 

The non-profit’s Positive Release Program provides backpacks stocked with essential items to recently released inmates to help them reintegrate into society.

"A lot of people who leave prison, they're not given much when they leave,” said development coordinator Robin Cummings. “They're often just left to figure it out on their own."

Cummings says the simple gesture can help restore dignity and respect to someone in need of a fresh start.

“These women and gender-diverse folk leaving prison are given plastic bags with all their personal belongings on display for other people to see,” said Cummings. “It's kind of just making them even more vulnerable than they already are. It's retraumatizing in a lot of ways."

The organization mainly works with clients released from the Burnside Jail, as well as the Nova Institution for Women.

Cummings says they are seeking monetary donations from the public to buy and stock supplies such as toiletries, feminine hygiene and sexual wellness products.

Drop-offs can also be coordinated at their Queen Street office in Dartmouth, N.S.

Cummings says they hope to help eliminate the stigma attached to individuals after being released from prison.

"How can someone be expected to even start to get back into their community if they're not able to take care of themselves?” said Cummings. “Being healthy, regardless of what position you are in, in society, that should matter because that’s a human right.” Top Stories

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