Source: Kingstonist, Michelle Allan
On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, provided the following statement:
“I am pleased to confirm that six dairy cows, with heritage lineage, were successfully transported to Collins Bay Institution’s penitentiary farm this morning.
Our Liberal government kept our promise to re-open the prison farms in Kingston, and bring back dairy cows, to promote rehabilitation and reduce reoffending—helping to make our communities safer.
Consultations with community members, businesses and stakeholders showed that there is strong support for the return of the farms in Kingston, with dairy cows as an integral part of them.
Budget 2018 announced funding of $4.3 million over five years for the reopening of the farm operations. That includes dairy cow and dairy goat operations at Joyceville Institution, in addition to land management, horticulture and crop production at both Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions. Collins Bay will also house non-milking livestock. An advisory panel of seven volunteers assisted CSC to better understand farm industry operations, explore new business ideas and promote partnerships to provide employment opportunities for released offenders.
The farm operations will provide meaningful employment to inmates at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions and include on-the-job training, vocational certification, and employability skills, including both technical and transferrable skills, that will support former inmates in their reintegration.
This is great news for our community. The passion and commitment of so many Kingstonians over so many years has proven what we can accomplish together.”
Longstanding prison farm operations at Collins Bay and Joyceville penitentiaries were closed by the Harper government in 2010 due to budget cuts. The closures were met with weeks of protests, and dozens were arrested.
In 2013, the Liberal government decided to consider re-opening the prison farms. On Thursday, June 21, 2018, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale announced that the Joyceville and Collins Bay prison farm programs will reopen.
According to Correctional Services Canada (CSC), the program will be managed by CORCAN, one of Correctional Services Canada’s rehabilitation programs, and is expected to be fully implemented within five years