Inmates at Frontenac Institution don’t have to work on the farm, but the ones who choose to rise at 4:00 to 4:30 a.m. Inmates resent all the dead time in prison -- waiting for gates to open, for programs to commence, for the institution’s schedule to unfold. On “the farm camp,” as they call it, there is no dead time. As any farmer will tell you, the work is both endless and endlessly rewarding. Up to 75 inmate farmers at Frontenac learn about punctuality, self-reliance, safety around large animals, the operation of heavy machinery, work ethic, crop management, animal husbandry and a great deal else.
What is so bad about inmates learning to care for something other than themselves? It doesn't even have to be animals, it could just be having a garden. Locking up people who deserve it is good for society, but giving them no skills while they are locked up does nothing to allow them to succeed when they are released back into society.
Conservatives should be the first ones to embrace a program that actually teaches real life skills. I fail to see what is good about canceling programs that help inmates get back to a quiet and simple way of life. How can the cancellation of these programs be justified? I want more prison farms not fewer. I want the inmates to have a sense of purpose. As a gardener, nothing is more soothing to the spirit than working the earth, planting some seeds and harvesting the results.
The Conservative government should rethink the closing of prison farms. I can see no downside to prisons with inmate tended vegetable gardens that help feed the inmates. It goes so against the Conservative grain I can't believe MP's aren't pushing for these programs to be expanded not abolished. It might be time to e-mail your MP's.