Year Started at SLSC: 2009
Anita joined St. Leonard’s Society of Canada in 2009, conducting research on integrated and cooperative approaches for successful community integration of people exiting prison with mental health problems and illness. As SLSC’s Research and Policy Advisor, she developed research initiatives on second stage housing for former prisoners through work on the Homes for the ‘Hard to House’ project. Recent research projects include: developing a national strategy for life-sentenced people in Canada, examining trajectories towards homelessness for youth in conflict with the law; and, utilizing peer mentoring approaches to address problematic substance use within Canadian prisons.
Other research topics include: promising practices to avoid the criminalization of people with mental health problems and illness, and social enterprise. Examples of policy initiatives at SLSC include topics such as youth justice, pardons, electronic monitoring, capital punishment, victims’ rights, human rights of prisoners, mandatory minimum sentences, aging and elderly prisoners, and research ethics.
In 2017, Anita became Executive Director of SLSC. She continues to oversee research and policy work, in addition to supporting SLSC’s member agencies and advancing collaborative relationships and communication among individuals and organization dedicated to social justice. She is passionate about issues related to the intersection of homelessness and criminal justice. Anita holds a B.A. in Criminology and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Windsor and wrote her thesis on homelessness in mid-sized cities.