Prison farms reopening with goats and cows
Feds release details on plans to restore prison farm program at Joyceville and Collins Bay institutions
The federal government released details today of its plans to reopen two prison farms in Kingston, Ont., that were shuttered by the previous Conservative government in 2010.
In its budget this year, the Liberal government pledged $4.3 million to restore farms at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions in either 2018 or 2019.
Soon, inmates at Joyceville will get to work with dairy cows and dairy goats. Both the Joyceville and Collins Bay programs will include land management, horticulture and crop production, and inmates at the prisons will be part of the work to repair and rebuild farmland over the next few months to prepare for crops.
Farm operations will be phased in with full operation expected to be in place in five years, according to Correctional Services of Canada.
In 2010, the Conservative government said the program, which provided milk and eggs to prisons as well as food banks, was not effective at rehabilitating inmates.
But not everyone agreed. Groups like the Pen Farm Herd Co-Op pushed the Liberal government to look at the issue again when it came into power in 2015.
"We looked at what was possible," said Mark Holland, parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety, at the program's announcement Thursday. "We know that the dairy herd had been a very important part of what had been happening here on the prison farms previously."
The farms will be run by CORCAN, a Correctional Services of Canada rehabilitation program that provides inmates with employment experience and skills.
"We have the plan, so now that's being rolled out," Holland added. "Some elements have already started in terms of the cultivation of crops, and we'll see that herd hopefully in place next spring."