Posts byRalph Gutkin

Producerism over Consumerism, Work as Gift, Concluding Thoughts and Your Invitation

Let’s co-create a Working Place in Peterborough — part 3

Work is a charged term. We applaud people for their work ethic, judge our economy by its productivity and even honour work with a national holiday. For many of those who enjoy the ‘privilege’ of having work, there is an ambivalence around it. Work can be drudgery and soul-sucking. The Book of Genesis says work is punishment for Adam’s sin, and many count the days to the following weekend and their next vacation, and see a contented retirement as the only reason for working. Many, perhaps most, see work as a means to something else: making a living, supporting a family, and purchasing the goods that we are indoctrinated to believe we need.
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More Building Blocks for a Community-based Working Place

Let’s co-create a Working Place in Peterborough — part 2

In my first blog, I wrote about the Community Tools Projects at the Working Centre in Kitchener which allow people to become involved in building community. These ‘Community Enterprise Projects’ help support the activities of the Centre, combining social enterprise and community service. They seek to make daily living more affordable and have the added benefit of a co-operative and neighbourhood-like structure so that individuals do not have to work in isolation. They invite people away from isolation to become involved in serving others, to use tools productively and to become part of a group that serves a public need.
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Working Centre an Enduring Social Structure that Builds Community

Let’s co-create a Working Place in Peterborough — part 1

A social venture that has endured and grown exponentially, the Working Centre, was established in the spring of 1982 as a response to unemployment and poverty in downtown Kitchener. The Centre models a way of building community by focusing on providing work and learning opportunities through inviting people’s gifts and talents. Plans are underway to provide our community with the opportunity to learn about this model and to explore the possibility of creating our own Working Place in Peterborough.
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Cooperative Model Instrumental in Supporting Reintegration

Blog highlights why cooperatives are such a valuable component of the reintegration process

In preparing for the upcoming Summit on establishing Worker Coop for former inmates, I came across this blog, “Social co-operatives and prison systems” which reports on the panel discussion on point at the 2015 International Labour Organization’s Co-operatives and the World of Work Research Conference in Antalya, Turkey. Drs. Beth Weaver and Isobel M. Findlay, whose findings are discussed in my blog series were joined by Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, who organised and moderated the panel.
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Co-creating a Restorative Community

Part 9 in a blog series exploring a community-based response to our criminality crisis

People commit crimes for many reasons. There is a high correlation between criminal acts and unemployment, poverty, under education and substance abuse. Hugh Segal has written about it in his work on guaranteed income. It is acknowledged in the publication of the Fraser Institute, the bastion of Canadian conservative values, which I mentioned earlier in this series. People who work in the field deal with it on a daily basis. Spend any time inside prison walls or talking to those who have offended, as I have, and the connection is glaringly obvious. Crime is a societal phenomenon — our response ought as well to emanate from the collective will.
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The Resilience of and Success Markers for Worker Co-ops

Part 7 in a blog series exploring a community-based response to our criminality crisis

As you read in my last post, the recent research conducted by two scholars, corroborates earlier studies and concludes that the worker co-op model goes beyond just providing an employment opportunity (which is in itself a vital piece of successful reintegration) but its culture and relational environment “provide(s) holistic and individualised resettlement support for both former/prisoners and their family… which create(s) opportunities for social participation.”
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Worker Co-op Model Proving Supportive of Rehabilitation

Part 6 in a blog series exploring a community-based response to our criminality crisis

In my last post, I quoted from the report produced by the John Howard Society which recognized how the worker co-op model could be supportive of the rehabilitation process. That suggestion has now been supported by the work of two other researchers.
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A Co-operative Approach to Reintegration

Part 5 in a blog series exploring a community-based response to our criminality crisis

In my previous post we looked at our track record of funding programs that provide life and job skills training, a work experience and assistance in finding ‘permanent’ employment for inmates and ex-offenders. We know that these have proven quite valuable in the reintegration/rehabilitation process but the model has its sustainability issues. We will now shift our focus to the (multi-stakeholder) worker co-op model, examine what we know of its efficacy and the plan I am proposing for this community.
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The Rehabilitative Impact Of Social Enterprises

Part 4 in a blog series exploring a community-based response to our criminality crisis

It is generally recognized that employment (and appropriate training/education) are crucial components in the successful reintegration following a jail sentence. As outlined in the Huffington Post blog to which I previously referred. “Those who return from prison and get jobs are far more likely to keep from going back to prison…
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Successful Reintegration Requires Community Support

Part 3 in a blog series exploring a community-based response to our criminality crisis

“A stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point” — the definition of crisis that we looked at in the first post. A doubling of the cost in crime in 16 years, mounting research which documents the detrimental cost on children of witnessing a violent crime or of being brought up in a home with an incarcerated parent and our alarming rates of recidivism.
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