Welcome to Communitas (formerly MSCM)
04 Jul, 2012
Communitas uses restorative justice principles to assist the reintegration of those who have been in prison. By assisting reintegration, Communitas works to reduce recidivism thereby enhancing community safety. We enjoy the support of Correctional Service Canada (CSC), Montreal Community Chaplaincy (Aumônerie Communautaire de Montréal) and a number of area churches and community groups.
- Serve the needs of those who are or have been under correctional mandate either institutionally or in the community.
- Maintain our identity as an expression of community chaplaincy.
- Be an informed voice on justice and corrections issues.
- Build and maintain connections with important allies and partners.
- Widely promote the work of Communitas for the benefit of those whom we serve.
The need for Communitas, a project whose aim is to assist those released from prison to reintegrate well into our community, was recognized in listening carefully to the concerns of prisoners about their prospects when they return to the community. We also listened carefully to family and community members when they spoke about their experience of loss and hurt related to all that brings about crime in the community and the punishment which follows from it.
This initial survey work was carried out in 1999, mainly in the Southwest part of Montreal from which the largest number of our focus group came. An ad hoc Steering Committee came together from concerned community members at the end of 1999, and Montreal-Southwest Community Ministries as we were then called, was launched.
Our work started then, and developed in welcoming prisoners back into the community and accompanying them in their transition. Within a year we had recruited a significant number of volunteers, provided appropriate training for them and in 2000 had formed a first Circle of Support and Accountability (CoSA). On 11 September, 2001, the first Open Door community meeting was held at the downtown YMCA.
These most important elements of our ongoing and developing work were established in those first two years of operation. Now we report each month on the work of some 50 or more volunteers; we can count more than 50 CoSA’s provided by Communitas of which 7 are still in operation, and Open Door, where between 25 and 50 people gather each week, has just celebrated 10 years of community-making.
We are linked with, and serve alongside other community projects with similar missions of assisting the social reintegration in the greater Montreal area of those who have been in prison, all under the banner of Aumônerie Communautaire de Montréal, with connections to the Correctional Service Canada, the Parole Board of Canada, and the National Crime Prevention Service as shown in this organogram.