Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Farewell to Prison Farms

The fight to save the prison farms around Kingston, Ontario, was lost in a recent court decision that gave Correctional Services Canada the go-ahead to close the farms and auction off the livestock. I've worked with ex-offenders and with food banks, and I support prison farms: the work gives prisoners confidence and skills (the government says that farm skills aren't useful in the "real world" but I wouldn't say that to the farmers around here, or to the government's rural base!), the output of the farms feeds prisoners and goes to local food banks, and closing the farms will not actually save the government money as there will have to be new skills training programs and replacement purchases for the farm produce. It's rumoured that the hidden agenda at work is using the farmland for expansion of the prisons. Father Raymond de Souza has an excellent piece in The National Post on the issue.

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