Closure of Prison Farms
The wheels are in motion to shut down six prison farms across the country, a decision to be carried out by Correctional Service of Canada. Kingston being the closest one to us. One must wonder if this move is part of a long-term agenda to shut down all farms and on-site food services and move toward the outsourcing of services , and the privatization of Canada’s prisons based on the U.S. model.
The mandate of the Correctional Service of Canada is to ensure public safety, and to provide programming for inmates to enable them to obtain skills, knowledge and attitudes to successfully re-integrate into their communities. The CSC has stated the prison farms no longer provide marketable skills that will allow inmates to gain employment upon their release. I find this insulting , not only does it imply that farming in Canada does not require a considerable amount of skill and professionalism on the part of its practitioners, but it also suggests that farming and food production itself is an outmoded and irrelevant activity. It also suggests, strongly, that the federal government has written off agriculture as a fundamental cornerstone of the Canadian economy. SHAME!
The prison agriculture program allows inmates to contribute to their community, in growing and processing food for fellow inmates in the region. Involvement in meaningful work increases self-esteem and enhances rehabilitation.
Food now provided by the farm program would need to be purchased if the program ends. The huge cost to taxpayers to feed these inmates, and the nutritional quality of replacement food must be taken into account in assessing the value of the farm program.
Canadians need to be concerned about food security and food sovereignty, with farmland permanently removed from food production annually.
The federal government should be taking leadership in saving farmland, not selling off irreplaceable assets for short-term objectives.
Our Member of Parliament should be taking leadership, and talking to the Minister of Public Safety and urging him to reverse this ridiculous plan.
This area is 50 percent rural!
Back our farmers!
Federal NDP Candidate
Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry
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