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Webber, Marlene and Tony McGilvary.

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1988. 193pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 0-8020-5776-4. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

Tony McGilvary, who tells his harrowing life story to writer Marlene Webber, quite plainly came as a shock to his biographer. He has spent some twenty-two years behind bars and is a rough, rather inarticulate, unprepossessing product of a hard and damaging life. Most of the damage, he will agree, was done by himself. But that was before.

McGilvary is founder and first director of HELP, a program for the rehabilitation of criminals, his life's work since 1977 when he last left prison. He and his fellow workers, people who understand the terrific obstacles their clients face in the "straight" world, have had a remarkable record of success.

This account of a compulsive criminal turned crusader invites serious thought about the efficacy, intent and results of Canada's penal system. There must be a better way to change the lives and attitudes of convicts, a way that will help and encourage them to make new beginnings. The HELP program, in partnership with Frontier College, continues its success story.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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