Helen Forsey | Mar 21, 2018

Thank you for last week’s article about the recent developments on the prison farm front. This decade-long saga touches on so many related issues, local and national – among them, the value of farming, the importance of prisoner rehabilitation, and the functioning of our democracy.

The fact that, at the moment, Corrections Canada is not planning to send our cows back to prison does feel like a slap in the face to so many of us, especially the area farmers and other members of the Pen Farm Herd Co-op who have kept a core of the prize-winning herd going for almost a decade.

The Advisory Panel had put forward a well-thought-out and documented proposal for a modest dairy operation with the milk being processed into cheese. That would be a fine example of prisoners “paying their way”, acquiring a multitude of skills and other benefits, and putting their product back into the institutions themselves. As your article points out, it makes no sense to replace that plan with one that would not only ship the product off to a foreign market but would require a massive “learning curve” to implement.

Fortunately, it seems that the minister, Ralph Goodale, may be open to reconsidering the plan. What is needed now is another strong push from the public, urging him to do that. I’m writing my letter to him now – no postage needed – and will fax, phone and email him as well.

Helen Forsey

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