The Future of Kingston’s Prison Farms

Save Our Prison Farms, Kingston, OntarioLast February, the Correctional Service of Canada announced the closure of six prison farms, which included two local operations at Collins Bay and Joyceville institutions.  These farms have been operating since the late 1800’s, while they’ve helped in the rehabilitation process by training inmates within the agricultural sector, and otherwise boosted their general work experience.  Approximately 300 convicts work within the farm program, but again, that’s all about to change.  Officials argue that very few paroled inmates seek employment within the agricultural sector, and that the skills acquired through the prison farm program are not in high demand.  Numerous community groups object to the pending closure, arguing that the government is simply making risky budget cuts, and that the farms contribute to rehabilitation and therapy as well as the local, nutritious food movement.  Where do you stand?

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After this past weekend’s rally and march to Save Our Prison Farms, supporters advised that they will attempt to block the removal of farming equipment from our local institutions.  Not to sound pessimistic, but it will be a small miracle if their efforts are enough to convince the government to delay or countermand the pending closure.  Is an independent study needed to determine the viability of Canada’s prison farm system?  Should we be canceling the program, or revitalizing these regional complexes?  If Kingston’s prison farms close, what should be done with the resulting green space?  Are we better off training convicts to work in call centers, and the fast food industry?  Please offer your thoughts on this matter below.

Special thanks to Andrew Stawarz for today’s amazing photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

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