THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA
(Established in 1893 )
June 18, 2010
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
House of Commons
Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6
Dear Prime Minister:
Re: Canada’s Prison Farm System
The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) has long supported International Human Rights Conventions, the rule of law, the humanization of criminal justice and the protection of human rights, with particular concern for their implications for Canadian residents and citizens. We are currently deeply concerned about the plight of Canada’s venerable prison farm system .
It has been the position of NCWC as of 1985, and reiterated in 1987, in addition to the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners that
“Every person shall be regarded as having an intrinsic dignity and value in him/her self, regardless of his/her condition and entirely apart from any institutional or social objectives he/she may serve; and Penal institutions shall have as one of their essential purposes, at least in importance to any other purpose, the development of the individual human person.”
NCWC has also held as of 1983 the position that post secondary school courses are important to the penitentiary system and deserve to be reinstated at penitentiaries where they are not currently being offered.
We are now writing to learn of what other options are being provided by the prison system for the “development of the human person” while the prison farm system is being phased out and whether more post-secondary course choices are being offered, which would include outdoors and/or farming-related practical work experience for those that choose to enroll, alongside the provision of secondary and primary education towards accessing such enrollment.
NCWC urges the Government of Canada to ensure that options are being provided by the prison system for the “development of the human person” while the prison farm system is being phased out and further urges the Government of Canada to provide more post-secondary course choices in the prison system to include outdoors and/or farming-related practical work experience for those that choose to enroll, alongside the provision of secondary and primary education towards accessing such enrollment.
Mary Scott, NCWC President
Text prepared by Rashmi Bhat, VP, NCWC
cc: The Hon. Lawrence Cannon, P.C.M. P., Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Rob Nicholson, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice
The Hon. Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Works and Government and Government Services and Minister for the Status of Women