FREDERICTON (CNB) – The 2010 New Brunswick Human Rights Award will be presented to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John, N.B. Inc. on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The award will be presented by Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas at Government House in Fredericton.

“The Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John has been doing much-needed work to advance the rights of female inmates and accused persons and their families,” said Randy Dickinson, commission chair. “Their dedicated volunteers help accused women get legal aid and advice. They also act as mentors and help preserve the relationships of women inmates with their children through their innovative book-reading program.

“The Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John has made a difference for women in trouble with the law, and the human rights commission is pleased to recognize this with its human rights award.”

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John, N.B. Inc. was founded in 1987 to advocate on behalf of women and female youth who are marginalized, criminalized and at risk. The group was named after Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), a reformer of women's prisons and mental asylums and a founder of soup kitchens and homes for the homeless.

Elizabeth Fry volunteers act as mentors for women prisoners, their children and other family members, and offer court support and assistance in obtaining legal aid and legal advice. In addition, they lobby government for change, seek support on systemic issues faced by female inmates and provide public education and awareness about their human rights.

The society has established a mother/child read aloud program that enables incarcerated mothers to read books onto tapes and send the tapes, the books and a walkman to their children. About 7,200 books have been mailed to 3,600 children in New Brunswick since 2000.

The commission established the New Brunswick Human Rights Award in 1988. It is awarded annually to recognize outstanding effort, achievement and leadership in the promotion of human rights and equality in New Brunswick. More information about the award is online.

The recipient of the 2009 award was the Lady Thunder hockey team of Woodstock High School.


•    New Brunswick Human Rights Commission: