Cows return to Collins Bay Institution as part of prison farm program

Six cows were brought to Collins Bay Insitution. The cattle will be the first of many to be part of the newly revamped prison farm initiative. Office of MP Mark Gerretsen

It’s official: the Collins Bay Institution farm is up and running.

“I am pleased to confirm that six dairy cows with heritage lineage were successfully transported to Collins Bay Institution’s penitentiary farm (Tuesday) morning,” said MP for Kingston and the Islands Mark Gerretsen.

The federal government has committed $4.3 million in funding to restart prison farms at Collins Bay and Joyceville institutions.

Collins Bay will also have non-milking livestock, which are to be cared for by low-risk inmates to promote rehabilitation and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

According to a news release from Gerretsen’s office, the farms are meant to offer the inmates “meaningful employment” and will include “on-the-job training, vocational certification and employability skills, including both technical and transferrable skills, that will support former inmates in their reintegration.”

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The former Harper government shuttered the prison farms back in 2009, sparking outcry from the public and the creation of a group called Save the Prison Farms, which has been working for the reinstatement of the dairy cows for the last decade.

The federal government announced last year that it would be reinvesting in the program and that at least 30 cows would be brought back to the prisons along with the addition of goats.

“This is great news for our community. The passion and commitment of so many Kingstonians over so many years has proven what we can accomplish together,” said Gerretsen.

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