The Social Cause
KLINK assists individuals in removing barriers to entering the workforce. As a John Howard Society of Toronto social enterprise, KLINK works especially with clients coming out of the criminal justice system. Employment readiness training is offered by an employment specialist and covers topics such as work attitudes, employer expectations, long term employment behaviour patterns, job search skills, interview skills, budgeting, and credit scores. In addition, clients are trained in topics such as disclosing a criminal record, institutional gaps in a client's resume, and the rights of a job seeker.
KLINK works closely with Employment Ontario Service Providers like Dixon Hall, The Centre for Education and Training (TCET), JVS Toronto, and St. Stephen's House to assist in the subsidies offered to our employment partners. The shared mission of these Employment Ontario Service Providers and KLINK Coffee make communities in the Toronto region stronger by eliminating barriers to employment.
Since the inception of the program, KLINK has helped numerous individuals. Many of the clients have retained full-time employment after completion, whether it is in the original placement setting, or other employment secured after they have used the program to build their resume. Throughout the program, case managers from John Howard Society of Toronto work closely with the participating clients and offer support and employment counselling during the placement and after the program is completed.
KLINK Coffee has grown to sell premium coffee, and offer quality service to the customers we serve. As our revenue grows, we are able to hire clients to work for KLINK as well as provide employment opportunities through a potential café and shop. Our long term goal is to grow the KLINK brand and have different business ventures that can employ more clients and grow their relevant work skills.
Reducing Incarceration Cost
The sad fact is that about two thirds of ex-prisoners in Canada reoffend (1). It doesn’t have to be that way. In Norway recidivism (re-offence) rates are about 20% (2) and in the UK they are about 25% (3). It’s clear that we Canadians have a lot of room for improvement. The estimated cost of housing a male inmate federally in Canada is about $110,786 per year (4). For a female inmate it’s about $211,093 per year (5). Maximum security for a male prisoner runs about $150,808 (6).
And that’s not including the costs of:
- Trials, the parole system and the like
- Economic and personal harm a re-offense might cause
- The incalculable loss of all that the individual would have contributed to society.
The Value of Jobs In Reducing Crime
The importance of employment in reducing rates of re-offense and in creating a positive sense of self is profound. Here are some representative statistics gathered from Canada, US, Great Britain and Australia:
- Unemployed former prisoners are 1.5 times more likely to reoffend than someone who is employed (7).
- Former prisoners who are employed have longer times in between periods of incarceration than unemployed former prisoners (8).
- Former prisoners themselves feel that employment is a key factor that allows them to function as productive members of society (9).
- A steady job gives former prisoners a sense of identity and meaning to their life (10).
- Fear of losing a job is often enough to deter criminal activity (11) (12). Moreover, employment also reduces the incentive found in income-generating crimes (13) (14).
- Former prisoners without jobs are at increased risk of being homeless. The costs of homelessness to society are well known. According to a 2007 report from the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, Shelter: Homelessness in a Growth Economy, homelessness costs Canadian taxpayers $4.5 billion to $6 billion a year.
Research on recidivism and employment is through the generous efforts of: Rose Ricciardelli (Ph.D.) Assistant Professor, Sociology. Memorial University of Newfoundland and Alyx A. Ivany, MA candidate at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
1. Langan & Levin, 2002
2. Graunbøl et. al. (2010). “Return. A Nordic relapse study among correctional clients ”Note
3. Ministry of Justice, Proven Re-offending Statistic, Quarterly Bulletin, July 2010 to June 2011, England and Wales
4. Ricciardelli, 2014; Public Safety Canada, 2011.
5. Ricciardelli, 2014; Public Safety Canada, 2011.
6. Ricciardelli, 2014; Public Safety Canada, 2011.
7. Lockwood, Nally, Ho & Knutson, 2012
8. Tripodi, Kim & Bender, 2010
9. Malott & Fromader, 2010
10.Laub & Sampson, 2003
11. Matsudea & Heimer, 1997
12. Sampson & Laub, 1993
13. La Vigne, Davies, Palmer, & Halberstadt, 2008
14. Petersilia & Rosenfeld, 2008; Shover, 1996