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.

It was fortunate for all concerned that Quakers believed in the equality of women (250 years before they won the vote), otherwise Elizabeth Fry's unusual talents in the area of prison reform might never have been realized.

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. She was a strong proponent of humane treatment for prisoners and regarded by many as a leading expert in prison reform. Most of her life was spent in England, although she did visit Ireland and continental Europe. She 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 of Cape Breton was opened as a branch of the Unison Society of Halifax in 1974 and was incorporated as the Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton in 1976. The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) was originally conceived of in 1969 and was incorporated as a voluntary non-profit organization in 1978.

Today there are 26 member societies across Canada.

Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton Background

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton (E.Fry CB) opened  as a branch of Unison Society of Halifax in 1974.  In 1976, E.Fry CB joined the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS),  linking to many sister organizations across Canada and exercising  a voice at the national level.  E. Fry CB is a not-for-profit organization located in one of Canada‚Äôs most economically depressed areas.  The society operates on a budget comprised of limited funding received from various foundations and government sources.  To date,  E. Fry CB has survived financial constraints and cut backs to succeed in delivering services to an estimated 3000 individual women per year who benefit from support, advocacy and programming from the society and attains  approximately 23,000 contacts with community agencies on their behalf. E. Fry CB receives referrals from court staff, police, judiciary, legal counsel (defence and prosecution), parole and probation services, community agencies, counselors and by word of mouth from people who have previously experienced the intervention and support of the Society.


  • To contribute to the creation of a more effective and humane justice system through the use of advocacy, programming and direct service.
  • To promote community understanding of justice and poverty issues with an emphasis on women.
  • To promote community involvement in the Criminal Justice System through research, advocacy, education and volunteerism.
  • To do all such things are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.

About Us

Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton

Sydney, NS

Telephone:  1.902.539.6165

Email:  efrycb@eastlink.ca

Copyright 2016. Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton. All Rights Reserved.

Journey to Justice Together