About Us

Our mission is to provide support to women who are, have been or are at risk of being in conflict with law.

We are the only social service agency in Hamilton and surrounding area with a specific mandate to provide programs and services for and about women in conflict with the law.

We offer individual and group services, crisis intervention, release planning, court support, referrals, and community education.

Mission Statement

The Elizabeth Fry Society Southern Ontario Region provides diverse services and supports primarily to women who are criminalized and those at risk of being criminalized. We empower women and advocate social change to reduce the impact of that criminalization.


The Elizabeth Fry Society Southern Ontario Region (formerly Hamilton Branch) envisions an equal and just society where women are no longer criminalized or imprisoned.

Who is Elizabeth Fry?

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. She was a strong proponent of humane treatment for prisoners and was regarded by many as a leading expert in prison reform. 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. Most of her life was spent in England, although she did visit Ireland and continental Europe and 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 Elizabeth Fry Society Hamilton Branch was established on March 22,1971 and registered as a charitable organization. On November 29, 2014, the name was changed to Elizabeth Fry Society Southern Ontario Region to better reflect delivery of service to communities in the surrounding area. In 2021 we are proud to celebrate 50 years o f service to our community.

Today there are 22 member societies across Canada.

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