Dear Hon. Peter Milliken,
I am writing as a former and future member of your constituency, hoping to convey my strong concern and frustration with the CSC’s decision to close the penitentiary farms in and around Kingston. I am a 26 year old graduate student at the University of Waterloo studying water resource management and agriculture, planning on returning to Kingston soon. I feel this city is something truly special and I am excited to move back and strongly contribute to the community with my training and be close to family. I can understand that the sale of this land would be tempting in the midst of our economic difficulties, but I feel the benefits of keeping them far outweigh the benefits of selling. I’m sure you know the facts, so I won’t discuss them exhaustively but I would like to articulate a few points.
First, I find the rehabilitation of prisoners through the means of agriculture is a special and vital part of our correctional system in Kingston. It teaches the inmates a strong sense of work ethic, organization, a deep sense of accomplishment, along with a host of skills to bring to the workforce upon leaving. Many area farmers consistently declare that prisoners and related staff do an exceptional job in Kingston. What a truly fantastic way to develop food sustainability principles and provide an alternative form of rehabilitation within CSC institutions! You’ve likely seen this editorial in the Whig Standard, and I wholeheartedly agree with this point of view:
I’ve recently read in the news that my concerns may be rejected by the CSC. In the Kingston This Week, it was reported that only 4% of CSC funds are devoted to education. This clearly speaks of bigger issues than just the farms, and an interviewee expressed a passionate desire to increase education funding to inmates. I applaud this possibility, although realistically any form of postive rehabilitation should have already been seriously investigated and implemented. More funding for education in replacement of agricultural deveIopment may have to be a compromise, but the overall shift to effective rehabilitation should be the driving focus of the CSC, along with how taxpayer funds should be chanelled. Overall, I feel you and the CSC should give the farms and their contribution to rehabilitation a much closer examination. We are turning our backs on a holistic and vital component to our local landscape.
Thanks for your time, I plan on contributing further to this decision.