LETTER OF RESPONSE FROM MINISTER VIC TOEWS (Scroll Down)
FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2009
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC DIALOGUE ON CANADA'S PRISON FARMS
Who's on the Panel?
For more background on the campaign, which has been ongoing since closure of the six prison farms was announced
February, 2009, please see these websites:
And this excellent July 2, 2009 Deconstructing Dinner episode www.cjly.net/deconstructingdinner/070209.htm on the prison farms.
For further information, please contact:
John Hutton, Director
Andrew McCann, Director
RESPONSE LETTER FROM MINISTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY VIC TOEWS'S OFFICE
January 22, 2010
Dear Mr. McCann:
Thank you for your correspondence of January 22nd, 2010 concerning the closure of the Correctional Service of Canada's six farm operations.
Unfortunately Minister Toews schedule will not permit him to attend your event on February 1st, 2010 in Steinbach , Manitoba .
I would like to assure you that the Government of Canada recognizes the valuable contribution of farming to the Canadian economy. While there is no doubt that work on prison farm operations offers meaningful activity for offenders, the decision to close these operations was based on the need for offender training to be more appropriately aligned with the new vision for transforming federal corrections in Canada . Furthermore, I am pleased to report that the Correctional Service of Canada intends to continue the operation of the Pittsburgh Institution's abattoir in Kingston , Ontario , under an arrangement with an independent operator.
The prison farms are based on an agricultural model from an earlier era. Agriculture has changed. As in many other sources of the economy, capital has replaced labour. As a result, very few inmates ultimately find jobs in the agricultural sector, despite time spent on prison farms and the significant cost invested ($4 million annually) to operate these farms. Holding a job after returning to the community is one of the strongest factors in keeping individuals from re-offending. As such, we would better serve prisoners (and society) by having training focus on skills that lead to actual jobs in the community. Prison farms training does not do that any longer.
Although these farm operations will close, new training opportunities and alternative employment programs will be implemented at these minimum-security institutions. These new programs and activities will provide a broader array of employment opportunities to offenders beyond agriculture and will enhance the ability of offenders to obtain employment upon release. It should also be noted that the land will remain the property of the Correctional Service of Canada.
Thank you again for writing on this issue.
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