Jane Miller Ashton

Jane Miller has a long held passion for and commitment to social justice reform.  She holds an M.A.in Criminology (University of Ottawa 1974), has over 30 years service working in the criminal justice system (with adults and youth) ,10 years of university teaching in Criminology and active and lengthy volunteer contributions in many spheres of community life including reconciliation work alongside residential school survivors. Her experience includes executive service at two levels of government and work with community-based corrections, crime prevention, with women’s, victims' and Indigenous issues and with the development of restorative in Canada and internationally.

Jane began her work at age 18 as a volunteer and then full time probation officer. She was instrumental in expanding community volunteer and victim - offender programs in Ontario corrections; managed a parole and probation office near Toronto; worked on women’s issues at the Ontario Government’s Women’s Directorate; and developed provincial crime prevention initiatives with the Ontario Justice Secretariat. She oversaw and developed province-wide community based programs within the Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services

With the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), she was the Director of the Female and Aboriginal Offenders Branch and co-chaired “Creating Choices: The Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women”, which recommended the closure of Prison for Women and the creation of smaller facilities including a healing lodge and a community strategy. Jane headed up the early implementation of this report and later after retirement served as a member of the Kekunawemkonawuk (Keepers of the Vision ) for Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. She also implemented needed changes to the inmate grievance and complaints system in CSC. This led to her pioneer work in the development of restorative justice initiatives in CSC.  Jane created a small restorative justice unit ,and later headed up a Branch responsible for restorative justice, dispute resolution and victim services.

Jane came to the SFU Criminology Department for three years as a visiting fellow in 2004 under the auspices of the federal government Executive Interchange Canada Program, where she taught in her areas of knowledge and experience, organized the TING  justice forums, created a victim Issues course and helped to develop and establish funding for the Centre for Restorative Justice.

After retirement from government, Jane was hired by Kwantlen Polytechnic University to teach Criminology full time in her areas of expertise. A highlight for her included the chance to expand the practicum program and the creation of new partnerships with community corrections agencies and prisons allowing for enhanced real life experiences for university students outside the classroom and for more contact for prisoners with the community. She was successful in bringing the US based Inside-Out program to British Columbia and with a colleague taught the first two courses in two federal prisons (involving both inside and outside learners). This work was recognized by Telus with an innovation award to Kwantlen.

Jane has received numerous other commendations for her work from government as well as community agencies, prisoner and peer groups. A few of these include the Governor General’s Exemplary Service medal, a Government of Canada Merit Award,  the Solicitor General of Ontario Crime Prevention Award and an Award of recognition from the Native Brotherhood of Stony Mountain federal institution (a prisoner group), She was first recipient of the victim-offender mediation award from Community Justice Initiatives of Durham Region and has received recognition from colleagues for her humanitarian work, and for her service in a maximum security prison during a strike .

Jane remains active in service and is involved with her husband in advisory committees advancing diversity and Indigenous education in schools and the community. She facilitates difficult conversations, peacemaking circles and dialogue for individuals and groups, and volunteers with both youth, and with women who have experienced incarceration.

Email: simonfraser@shaw.ca