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A Bad Moooooove
July 30, 2010 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Correctional Services Canada and the Harper Administration say they will close the Frontenac Institution prison farm. A group called Save Our Prison Farms in Kingston Ontario says they won't. Conflict at 11.

Save Our Prison Farms has done everything it can think of to stop CSC and the Harper Administration from closing the prison farm program at Frontenac Institution. Petitions, letters, public rallies (one in June featured noted Canadian author Margaret Atwood and 1,000 friends) and a peaceful blockade of CSC headquarters have done nothing to sway the Harper government from the planned closure.

A poll in the Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper) shows that 92% of respondents support keeping the prison farms.

The herd is scheduled to be auctioned of in Waterloo, Ontario on August 10. Bidders will view videotape of the cows before bidding. At some point after this, the government will attempt to remove the cows from Frontenac Institution, a 900 acre farm located just outside of downtown Kingston. Opponents of the closure, who are observing the institution 24 hours a day, will alert their network when the cattle trucks are spotted entering the facility. Hundreds of residents have said they will block the trucks with their bodies if necessary to prevent the herd from being taken.

August 11 should be an interesting day in Kingston.
posted by crazylegs (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a great idea. Let's shut down basically our only program with a proven history of actually rehabilitating offenders.
posted by 256 at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seems to be the way Harper likes to run things. Take a decision, be opposed, see polls that are overwhelmingly against his decision, ignore everyone and do it anyway.

What a goddamn ideological shithead. He's not there for the people, he's there to build his own personal empire and wants everything to run his way, and fuck everyone who disagrees with him.
posted by splice at 8:06 AM on July 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Harper is consistently pro-punishment, and anti anything making convicted felons' lives better, even if it reduces recidivism or helps the country out in other ways. He's been hugely against Quebec's very successful youth justice system (which, don't get me wrong, has all sorts of problems too, but he wants to get rid of the successful parts, not the problematic ones).
posted by jeather at 8:24 AM on July 30, 2010


This post only seems to present one side of the argument. In total, 6 in Ontario are being phased out over 2 years after 150 years of operation.

Why? Let's determine the government's rationale here.

It's not like they're not needed - at the same time we're expanding conventional prisons.

The actual justifications turn out to be rather weak sauce.

"Latest figures show the farms generated revenues of $7.5-million, but had expenses of $11.6-million, for a loss of $4.1-million."

What, I wonder, are the housing costs for a similar number of inmates in a conventional prison? If not $4.1 mil, is it close enough to make the final net loss negligible?

"... following a strategic review in 2008, the government decided the farms in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick were no longer useful. 'Over the last five years, less than one per cent found work in the agriculture sector' ".

The narrow-mindedness of this conclusion is obvious, but I'll ask the question anyways - what are the stats on the other 99 percent, compared to a similarily sized control group released from a conventional prison? Obviously not everyone is cut out for farming, but how many ended up doing other productive work, or at the very least went longer before reoffending?
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:31 AM on July 30, 2010


Small pedantic point: It's the "Harper Government". Westminster Parliament systems don't have "Administrations.

I'll be quiet now.
posted by dry white toast at 8:31 AM on July 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


What we need is a new model... but where to find one.../cue yackety sax

Mr. Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent—Essex, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening with some interest, especially to the Liberal side talking about crime and prevention.

We keep hearing that the studies prove that mandatory minimums do not work. However, a study done by Thomas Gabor of the University of Ottawa states quite the opposite. I could quote some others. I could quote Solzhenitsyn, who also writes in one of his books, I believe The Gulag Archipelago, that severe punishment worked well within the Soviet system. I am not advocating the Soviet system but there is enough proof out there.

posted by HLD at 8:50 AM on July 30, 2010


The Conservatives have no interest in rehabilitating offenders or reducing crime, in fact it's the opposite. If they actually reduced violent crime considerably, how would they scare Canadians into voting for their tough-on-crime agenda?
posted by rocket88 at 8:50 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Small pedantic point: It's the "Harper Government". Westminster Parliament systems don't have "Administrations.

Very true. But, part of the problem is that in practice this is very much the Harper Administration. Parliament may as well not really exist at the moment.
posted by generichuman at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


A poll in the Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper) shows that 92% of respondents support keeping the prison farms.

You're seriously linking to an ONLINE POLL in an FPP?

Canadian incarceration rates are infinitesimal compared to American ones, and as the GM article states, fewer than 14,000 federal inmates exist in our entire country. Among these, how many are involved in these farm programs?

Really, you all need to think about "corrections" OUTSIDE of the prison context because in Canada that's where corrections take place. And if you want corrections that are both effective and COST-effective, then there are other programs and innovations that are much more worthy of fighting for. This farm thing is trivial. Prisons are a loss leader and need to be reserved for violent offenders, full stop. The rest of corrections has to be about (and IS about) more than prisons and more than tiny boutique programs inside them.

CynicalKnight, the programs are scattered over Canada. They're federal. Not just Ontario. Only two of the six are in Ontario.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2010


Correctional Services Canada and the Harper Administration say they will close the Frontenac Institution prison farm. A group called Save Our Prison Farms in Kingston Ontario says they won't.

What we have here, is a failure to communicate.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2010


I'm not sure at what point it was determined prisons were supposed to be a revenue generator, but that's exactly the approach that leads to the overcrowded private prisons they have in the US that do no one any good except the people who feel it's a horrible tragedy that a couple of their tax dollars go to some no good criminal.

Really, you all need to think about "corrections" OUTSIDE of the prison context because in Canada that's where corrections take place.

I don't really know if I'm catching your meaning, but there is plenty of training and rehabilitation that takes place in federal prisons in order to give inmates "employability skills". We have a program called CORCAN that trains inmates in textiles, construction, manufacturing, and service industry skills, and actually provides a lot of the office furniture etc for Corrections Canada and other departments.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:14 AM on July 30, 2010


The best thing that could happen for Canada would be for Harper to get hit by a bus.

That fucker has another couple years left in office. This country is going to be unrecognizable by the time he's done.

We are well and truly *fucked.*
posted by five fresh fish at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2010


To go on a tangent: I think my old desk when I worked (briefly) for the government came from corrections canada.

I loved that desk, and would have stolen it if I could have lifted it.
posted by selenized at 11:54 AM on July 30, 2010


I loved that desk, and would have stolen it if I could have lifted it.

Win/win, since even if you get caught you get to find out how to make them!
posted by atrazine at 1:40 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything he does, I hate him more. Such a loathsome sack of shit; he's also evil, he's also into cats.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:04 PM on July 30, 2010


Seems to be the way Harper likes to run things. Take a decision, be opposed, see polls that are overwhelmingly against his decision, ignore everyone and do it anyway.

It worked for his former counterpart. It will work for him unless he faces a real consequence.
posted by clarknova at 2:20 PM on July 30, 2010


"What, I wonder, are the housing costs for a similar number of inmates in a conventional prison? If not $4.1 mil, is it close enough to make the final net loss negligible?"

"The annual average cost of keeping a Canadian inmate incarcerated is $93,030. " It starts at ~$40K per year.
posted by Mitheral at 2:41 PM on July 30, 2010


This country is going to be unrecognizable by the time he's done.

Because there are no farms in minimum-security prisons?

This is a tempest in a teapot. There are hundreds of better reasons to be angry with Harper.
posted by ripley_ at 3:04 PM on July 30, 2010


Because he ignores facts and logic, and instead uses ideology for his decision-making.

A perfect example is Vancouver's safe injection site ("InSite" IIRC). It is astoundingly successful by every measure. But because Harper has a bug up his ass about sinful drug users, he is doing his damnedest to shut it down.

I wish the crazy Greyhound murderer had decided to do something more useful with his insanity.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:19 PM on July 30, 2010


I have a theory that the Harper government's new strategy is to attack aggressively on as many different fronts as possible in a bid to distract and scatter its opponents, and rapidly overwhelm the general populace's tolerance for outrage, such that any subsequent issues will simply be dismissed as more leftist whining.
posted by chrominance at 4:29 PM on July 30, 2010


chrominance: I have a theory that the Harper government's new strategy is to attack aggressively on as many different fronts as possible in a bid to distract and scatter its opponents, and rapidly overwhelm the general populace's tolerance for outrage, such that any subsequent issues will simply be dismissed as more leftist whining.

Well if that's the case, mission accomplished. Have you checked the CBC website comments lately? not that I recommend doing so if you value your sanity/blood pressure
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:32 PM on July 30, 2010


Small pedantic point: It's the "Harper Government".

You mean "Canada's New Government"........
posted by Chuckles at 8:48 PM on July 30, 2010


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