Unlocking the Gates Services Society
Unlocking the Gates Services Society (UTG) is a peer-led, non-profit organization that supports the reintegration of individuals who are being released from correctional facilities in British Columbia. We connect with individuals prior to their release, and provide peer support during the transition from prison back into the community.
Become a Peer Mentor
Do you have prison experience? Are you interested in learning more about a rewarding career as a Peer Mentor?
Make A Donation
Donate now, and together we can help provide hope and supports for individuals leaving prison.
The support and outreach offered through our program aims to assist people transitioning from correctional facilities in accessing the health and social services they need upon release, in order to increase their chances of a successful reintegration, and reduce recidivism.
Each interaction is tailored to the needs of each individual. Examples of support might include:
Why UTG is needed
Many people being released from prison have immediate needs the day they are released including food, shelter, medication, and clothing. Going back to the streets is sometimes the easiest option for someone who has nowhere else to go. Without immediate supports, individuals released from prison often go right back to their old lives, involving crime and substance use. This also puts people at risk of overdose and death. Generations of families are affected by addiction, trauma, and involvement in the criminal justice system. UTG aims to provide hope, purpose, and the support to end the revolving door.
Unlocking the Gates Services Society is grounded in participatory processes and restorative and social justice principles. We aim to enhance reintegration experiences through supportive relationships and by encouraging community dialogue, collaboration and capacity building.
Across British Columbia
The goal of the Unlocking the Gates Services Society is to provide immediate support to individuals who are leaving correctional facilities in British Columbia.
We walk alongside individuals and meet them where they are at to support their reintegration.
We support individuals to meet their goals in community to reduce the likelihood of re-offending.
We are peer-led. Everyone who works with us has been incarcerated. Meaning that we’ve been in your shoes and we know the challenges of transitioning back to the community.
We connect with individuals during their stay in prison to help with pre-release planning and offer peer support during the transition days following release. Connecting early allows us to help plan for your released, and increases the chances of a successful reintegration.
Make A Donation
Unlocking the Gates Services Society recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all individuals. We believe in justice, equity, and compassion and that everyone needs help, hope and healing. Unlocking the Gates works in the community to assist individuals to end stigmatization, recidivism, and unmet health needs.
Who We Serve
Unlocking The Gates
Mo Korchinski is the Executive Director of Unlocking the Gates Service Society (UTG). Mo has had a long history with substance abuse and incarceration. Her lived history and experiences have shaped the program into what it is today.
Mo has a Bachelor of Social Work from Nicola Valley Institution of Technology and was one of UTG’s first ever Peer-Mentors. Her life’s work is now dedicated to helping others break the cycle of incarceration. She is an advocate for people involved in the criminal justice system and continues to push for change at a policy-level and increased supports for her community. Mo feels strongly about the need to address trauma and support healing for people who experience incarceration.
Mo is a public speaker, author, and filmmaker. She worked for many years in the field of community-based participatory research alongside the Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and continues to bridge the gap between research and community as a Co-Lead on the Transformative Health & Justice Research Cluster (UBC), and through ongoing collaborations with various organizations throughout the province.
Pam Young has worked with Unlocking the Gates Services Society (UTG) since its inception in 2011. She is currently the Program Manager, and previously worked as a Peer-Mentor for many years. She is extremely passionate about the work she does with people, and especially women, leaving prison. As somebody with lived prison experience Pam recognizes what a difference it could have made for her own journey to have been connected to a peer mentor during the post-release period.
Pam attended Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and graduated from the CHAD program with a Chemical Addictions Support Worker Certificate. She is also the Peer-Coordinator with the UBC Transformative Health & Justice Research Cluster, where she provides leadership and guidance to support social justice-oriented research activities, policy action, and community-driven change for people in prison and post-release. She has presented at a number of international conferences, co-authored the book Releasing Hope about women transitioning from prison, and regularly presents to nursing and medical students across the Lower Mainland.