John Howard Society

Involving You and The Community in Criminal Justice

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Current Programs

BladeRunners Initiatives

Bladerunners is free training for those who are 17 - 30 who are in need of support and mentorship. The goal of the program is to assist individuals obtain employment in customer service or construction industries.

Training includes:

  • First Aid & CPR
  • Food Safe
  • Fall protection
  • Boom lift and skid steer safety training
  • Customer service and kitchen training

If you are interested in applying or getting more information on this program please call 386-3428.


Community Employment Program (CEP)

The John Howard Society of Victoria provides employment services to all federally released inmates in the form of one-to-one counselling, resume preparation, job search and interviewing skills.


KidStart Mentoring Program

KidStart is a Volunteer Mentoring Program for troubled children and youth who are at risk of criminal involvement. Young people are matched with adult volunteers who act as positive role models for the children/youth and help them build self-esteem through positive achievement. Volunteer Mentors are recruited from throughout the community including universities, colleges, businesses and community centers. They are all carefully screened through interviews, reference checks and police record checks. Volunteer Mentors encourage the young people to participate in recreational activities while providing them with opportunities to experience success and achievement. Referrals to the program are made by the young person's parent or guardian, family member, school counselor, community worker or social worker. There is no program fee associated with the KidStart Mentoring Program. If you would like more information on the program please go to


Are you an out-going, spontaneous man or woman over age 19 with a positive attitude and a good sense of humor?Why not spend time with a young person.

If you are interested in being a Volunteer Mentor please contact Nathalie Down, Coordinator of Volunteers at (250) 386-3428 or


Public Education

The Society actively seeks opportunities to speak with groups, schools and individuals about the criminal justice system and the work of the Society.


Drop In Referral Services

Our office is located close to downtown Victoria, we provide referral and information services to prisoners and ex-prisoners, their families and the general public.


The William Head Visitors Group

Volunteers visit the William Head Federal Penitentiary weekly for social and recreational activities. The Visitors Group Program recognizes the need for the community to help alleviate prisoner's feelings of isolation and to emphasize feelings of positive self-worth. Training is provided for Prison Visitor Volunteers.

The purposes of this program are to:

  • Provide friendship and communication exchange between prisoners and community members within the prison setting.
  • Provide an opportunity to broaden the community's exposure to prison life.
  • Provide for the offender a heightened sense of community awareness for mutually beneficial social interaction.
  • Share and expand upon both the community member's and offender's social, educational and recreational background through the use of community speakers, films, discussion groups and leisure activities.
Outside Friends

Outside friends in the Visitors Program come from all walks of life and have varied backgrounds. They all believe that non-judgmental friendship and communication may help with feelings of alienation experienced by many people in the prison.

If you...
  • Feel you can spend a few hours once a week to take and share group activities with prisoners and other community members.
  • Are non-judgmental and honest.
  • Are mature, stable and responsible.
  • Are 19 years or older.

The John Howard Visitors Program may be the volunteer program for you.  William Head Institution is located in the Metchosin area, approximately 32 kilometers from downtown Victoria. Since it is not serviced by public transit we carpool to the institution. Our visits are every Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 9:15pm. Should you like to join us in our visits, please feel free to contact or office during business hours.


Prison Services

Staff visit William Head Institution and the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (Wilkinson Road Jail) offering counseling, pre-release planning and parole preparation.


Saanich Community Justice Initiatives

Saanich Community Justice is an innovative out of court process to deal with an offence. It is an alternative to the traditional justice system and is based on Restorative Justice practices. The Community Justice Initiative Program provides an opportunity for offenders, victims and affected community members to meet to discuss the impact of the offender's actions and to try to agree on a resolution to repair the harm. Youth and adult offenders are referred to the program by the Saanich Police Department and, for this to proceed, the accused must admit involvement in the matter and agree to participate in the program. There are three levels of victim involvement and community participation. These include Community Conferences, Resolution Meetings and Diversion.


Volunteer Victoria. Job Search Bladerunners