History of the Elizabeth Fry Society
How It all Began:
Elizabeth Fry (Gurney) was born into a family of Quakers in 1780 in England. Her mother’s father, the Scottish theologian Robert Barclay, played an important role in defining early Quaker beliefs.
It was fortunate for all concerned that Quakers believed in the equality of women (250 years before women won the vote), otherwise Elizabeth Fry’s unusual talents in the area of prison reform might never have been realized.
Her insight, persistence, organizational ability and her willingness to see a “divine light” in every person resulted in striking reforms taking place in the manner in which women and children were treated in London’s Newgate Prison.
She was a strong proponent of humane treatment for prisoners and regarded by many as a leading expert in prison reform.
Most of her life was spent in England, although she did visit Ireland and continental Europe. She also offered advice to the Americas, Russia and Australia. She died in 1845 at the age of 66 years.
The first Canadian Elizabeth Fry Society was established in Vancouver in 1939. The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) was originally conceived of in 1969 and was incorporated as a voluntary non-profit organization in 1978.
Today there are 24 local member societies across Canada.
Support, advocate for, and empower individuals at risk to enrich their lives and to inspire positive change in our community.
The Elizabeth Fry Society Simcoe Muskoka envisions healthy, hopeful, and empowered individuals, supported by a community that understands the challenges, stigmas, and systemic issues faced by those at risk.
Compassion– show empathy and care for others
Respectful– appreciate an individual’s unique needs
Dedicated– support our clients in their journey to well being
Inclusive– embrace all equally, free of judgement
Advocacy– advocate with and behalf of our clients, especially those at risk of criminalization