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SPU Researchers Work to Improve Prison Agricultural Programs

OTTAWA, Monday, March 1, 2021 – Researchers from Saint Paul University and the University of Windsor have released a report that urges the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to adopt evidence-based, environmentally-sustainable agricultural programming.

Lead by Dr. Amy Fitzgerald, Associate Professor at University of Windsor, and Dr. Amanda Wilson, Assistant Professor at Saint Paul University, the report is a response to the CSC’s plans to create an industrial goat dairy operation, which will be staffed by federal inmates.

“The CSC’s current plan lacks evidence that it will offer any therapeutic or transformative benefits for the prisoners who participate in this program,” explains Wilson. “Such a large-scale livestock operation also raises environmental, safety and sanitation concerns for the wider community.”

Titled Canada’s proposed prison farm program: Why it won’t work and what would work better, the report not only addresses the issues of the goat dairy program, but also outlines a proposal for more beneficial agricultural programming.

Reimagining prison farm possibilities

Written with the CSC in mind, it was important that the report also include a proposal for evidence-based alternative agricultural programming.

“This is an opportunity for our research to have a tangible impact, to make a meaningful contribution to improving the well-being of incarcerated individuals and to promote more sustainable and environmental food production practices,” says Wilson. “Our hope is that they will take this report into consideration, reevaluate their project and work toward agricultural programming that will contribute to the well-being of prisoners, the environment and the wider community.”

To develop the proposal, Wilson worked closely with two Saint Paul University students: Jenn Bruce, a doctoral candidate in Interdisciplinary Research on Contemporary Social Issues, and Alia Wurdemann-Stam, a master’s candidate in Counselling and Spirituality.

A summary of the report has also been published as an article on Conversation Canada. Read it here.


For more information, please contact:
Julie Bourassa
Communications Officer, Saint Paul University
613-236-1393, ext. 2310

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