KINGSTON – On the first anniversary of the cancellation by the Harper Conservatives of the highly successful prison farm program, Liberal Leader Bob Rae, Kingston and the Islands MP Ted Hsu and former Liberal MP Mark Holland will attend a commemorative vigil in Kingston later today.
“This valuable and effective rehabilitation program which taught inmates discipline, respect and teamwork is now gone,” said Mr. Rae. “Instead we have a government spending billions on mega-jails and secretive programs to install maximum security cellblocks inside medium-security prisons. The Conservative government is working hard to avoid scrutiny rather than rehabilitating prisoners and preventing crime.”
In 2009 the Harper government announced their plan to phase out Canada’s six prison farms—the largest two of which were located in the Kingston area. The prison farm program was widely considered a world-class training initiative that contributed to public safety, provided food for federal and provincial inmates, and contributed to local food banks.
“In the face of declining crime rates and overwhelming evidence that an American-style ‘throw-away-the-key’ philosophy simply doesn’t work, Liberals are renewing their pledge of support to advocate fighting to restore the prison farm program,” said Mr. Hsu. “We will continue to pressure the Conservative government to restore this successful program that allows inmates to learn the skills they need to reintegrate safely into society. I stand with my constituents here in Kingston and the Islands and those across the country who share our belief in programs that build stronger and safer communities, not larger multi-billion-dollar prisons.”