Potential Reopening of the Kingston Prison Farms

prison farm, town hall, Kingston, OntarioThe Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) recently conducted a survey as part of a feasibility study on re-establishing agriculture and agri-food operations at six prison farms including Kingston’s Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions. The farms were closed between 2009 and 2011 ending the prisons’ agriculture employment initiatives. While CSC continues to offer other agriculture and horticulture initiatives including community gardens, institutional gardens, and greenhouses that produce food for internal use, as well as for donation to food banks and other community food programs, these activities are not typically part of employment training programs offered at the institutions. As most will remember, many members of the Kingston community expressed concern and opposition to the closure of the farms. In light of these concerns, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, created this survey to address the possibility of renewing viable agribusiness opportunities in the federal corrections environment.

The survey closed on August 2nd and next Tuesday, August 16th, Minister Goodale, along with officials from the Correctional Service of Canada, will host a town hall meeting from 6-8pm at Memorial Hall in Kingston City Hall.  The objective of the Town Hall is to consult Canadians on the feasibility of re-establishing agribusiness operations at Joyceville and Collins Bay institutions and the public is invited to attend.

With the meeting taking place next week and the results of the feasibility study being made public in the near future, this week we want to know:

Do you think the Government of Canada will reopen Kingston's prison farms?

  • Yes (86%, 1,136 Votes)
  • No (12%, 152 Votes)
  • Not sure (2%, 29 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,317

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How did you vote? Aside from your prediction, what is your position? Should the prison farms be re-opened? Do you see the value of having a prison farm in Kingston or should this large swath of land be used for other purposes? Do you think prison farms make a difference in the rehabilitation of prisoners? Most importantly, since the farm closed, has your opinion changed on the subject? Drop off your comments below.

Thank you to Daniel J. Beals for today’s photo of the Save Our Farms demonstration on March 30, 2010.

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