Letter to the Editor – Darlene Jalbert – Closure of Prison Farms – Cornwall Ontario – May 4th, 2010

Closure of Prison Farms

Dear Editor,

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!

Darlene Jalbert

Federal NDP Candidate

Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry

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  1. No, this is just to switch people into the more hardcore incarceration system and to force this country more and more into a police state. Very dangerous government we have right now. And they are proving it more and more often now that they’ve stacked the senate and intend on ramming legislation down our throats!

  2. You are actually fighting about prison farming? It should be part of their system of sustainability. You grow what you eat. As for skills, sure teach them what is needed, however make sure you reclaim the costs of the education and the time they spent in prison.

    Right now it costs an average student $20,000/yr for secondary school education, why should a person having endangered society get a free ride?

    Socialist pigs them NDP. They mislead the poor and uneducated in society about of sympathy and self pity not truth

  3. Actually smee, they had chain gangs, etc, and prison farms in the US system as well. And it has worked for them for well over 100 years now. Why break something that isn’t broken? At least they are doing something in the prison farms. Can’t say the same thing for the likes of Clifford Olson?? Collecting pension while doing NOTHING in jail!

    I’m all for rehabilitation. For minimum security risks, the trade off is actually good on this. So the system should stay, for those that qualify for it of course. And before you go off on a tangent, I just used Clifford Olson as an example. Same thing with Paul Bernardo. They should never make it in a minimum security farm jail and I am not advocating for that, all I’m saying is at least some people can qualify to do something in jail and attempt to make something of themselves after. Not everyone going to jail is a lost cause!

    In fact, I find that many businesses should tap into some of the minimum security prison population to get some cheaper labor and use that to better our country!

  4. Some of the farm land being removed permanently is for solar farms, is that OK?

    Inmates should be able to grow food, for the reasons listed, a man or women has to do something they can feel good about too.

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