EOPF Position Statement

Correctional Service Canada (CSC) has been engaged in public consultation concerning the possible reinstatement of prison farms, a move widely supported by the general public. To date, however, a viable model has not been generated. The EOPF proposal offers an “evolved farm” model that incorporates ecological sustainability, rehabilitation, meaningful employment and community development, public security, and fiscal responsibility. This model supports CSC’s mandate to prepare prisoners for safe release through provision of appropriate social, educational, vocational and correctional programming, while simultaneously contributing to the government’s broader goals in the areas of greenhouse gas reduction, sustainability, food security and public health.

We call upon Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and the Government of Canada to:

Consider our proposal that Canada’s prison farms should evolve toward an ethical and ecologically sustainable model that will contribute to public safety and food security by:

i)    Protecting farm and food system infrastructure, including valuable farm land, and ensuring that this land produces food that prioritizes ecological sustainability, human health, food security, and fiscal responsibility;
ii)    Providing work and learning opportunities for prisoners that provide education, life skills, and job skills relevant for reintegration into a society that is increasingly concerned with issues of climate change, public health and animal welfare, and where job opportunities continue to grow in sectors such as organic plant production, food services, and animal care;
iii)    Providing a coherent model of rehabilitation and therapeutic activity for prisoners that is centred in responsible, responsive, and nurturing relationships with humans, animals, plants, and the environment;
iv)    Feeding prisoners with nutritious food grown, processed, and prepared by their fellow prisoners;
v)    Enhancing community partnerships with ecologically responsible farmers, food banks, wildlife and ethology experts, public health providers, and local food stakeholders.

Submitted by the Evolve Our Prison Farms coalition based in Kingston, Ontario.

January 2017