Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tough On Crime, Good....Prison Farms Bad.

I agree with the Conservative position that we need to get tough on crime. We also need to totally revamp the juvenile system. What I do not agree with is the closure of prison farms. This is a really bad idea and whoever is now in charge of the prisons should rethink this position.

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.


wilson said...

Who owns the farm land Hunter?
Perhaps it's crown land that is going to be sold, besides the savings of the $4m net cost to run the farm.

I'd rather see prisoners learn a trade, such as pipefitter or electrician. Better future job prospects for them than seasonal farm work.

Lynn said...

Many of the cons don't have the discipline or mental capacity to learn a trade. I worked with convicts for many years,and the one most detrimental factor in all of them was lack of self discipline. Just getting up in the morning was a huge effort for most of them.

The farm program seems like a good one,instills a work ethic in people who are essentially lazy.

Why should someone who screwed society be put in an institution to lift weights,do drugs and take useless self-esteem courses,then get paroled with the same attitude they had when they were sentenced?

So many convicts I worked with were afraid of nothing,except HARD WORK,and would rather steal or sell drugs than have to get up every morning and carry a lunch bucket to the job site.

Keep the prison farms,and maybe augment them with other work projects,like tree planting,or firewood production,anything is better than having them sit around bragging about how cool it is to beat "the man".


Dollops said...

Very good line, Hunter ".. learning to care for something other than themselves." Lynn's comments reinforce that idea that the only good that can come out of incarceration, other than warehousing bad people, would be awakening in them a sense of social responsibility. Prisoners need freedom from fearing their fellows and an imperative to get along in something like a communal farm where the rule is "You work, you eat."

maryT said...

I noticed a lot of black and white stripped suits out sandbagging in the flood areas of the states.

wilson said...

Our minimum security prison has the guys out in orange suits cleaning the ditches regularly.