Federal government strikes advisory panel to look into reopening prison farms
Jeff Peters and Olivia Groenewegen holds on to Stormy the donkey outside the Correctional Service Canada regional headquarters in Kingston, Ont. on Friday July 23, 2010. Members of Save Our Prison Farms held a blockade in front of the headquarters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 12, 2017 11:12AM EDT
OTTAWA -- The federal government is setting up an advisory panel to look at the possibility of reopening prison farms in Kingston, Ont., that were closed by the former Conservative government.
The seven-member panel announced Thursday will provide advice on the merits of reopening farms at Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions.
The panel members include farmers, inmate advocates and a school trustee.
The governing Liberals launched a feasibility study last June to review the closures.
The minister responsible for the federal prison system, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, says he hopes the advisory panel will help determine the best way ahead for re-establishing the prison farms.
The Conservatives closed the two Kingston farms in 2010 along with prison farms in New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
But the move met with resistance from those who argued that the decision was made without properly considering the skills the farms taught inmates.
Inmates who worked on the farms did maintenance, fed cattle, operated milking machinery and raked and baled hay, among other jobs.