Save the People

Collins Bay Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario

A few decades ago, most prisons had farms. Inmates grew some of their own food while learning a few basic skills. That changed for a number of reasons, partly because of the tendency to lock everyone up if they couldn’t afford a good lawyer. Just too many people in the system to consider proper rehabilitation and training.

Kingston, Ontario, has Canada’s most notorious prisons. Hardened criminals are sent there for long sentences. Recently, farms began to reappear at maximum security penitentiaries in Kingston.  Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions each have ten colonies of bees on their farms. These are not part of a “Save the Bees” effort. It’s a “Save the People” program.

Prison Hives

Beekeeping can be so much more than a business or hobby. Handling bees can calm a person, focus the mind, and lead to keen and sustained interest in nature. Skills related to beekeeping include carpentry (making hive equipment), animal husbandry, marketing, food safety. Character traits that are fostered include self-discipline, courage, and responsibility.

Bees are non-judgmental, giving everyone an equal chance to fail or succeed in their presence. Prison farms are learning to use honey bees as a gateway to healing and reform. It’s great to see these Kingston, Ontario, initiatives.

Joyceville Institute now has bees.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a geophysicist who also does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written two books, dozens of magazine and journal articles, and complements his first book, Bad Beekeeping, with a popular blog at www.badbeekeepingblog.com. Ron wrote his most recent book, The Mountain Mystery, for everyone who has looked at a mountain and wondered what miracles of nature set it upon the landscape. For more about Ron, including some cool pictures taken when he was a teenager, please check Ron's site: miksha.com.
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3 Responses to Save the People

  1. Safe the People is a great project the way it looks from afar. We can use all of these and many more to somehow get back to the idea of punishing and “correcting” as well as then reintegrating people in prison. What about paying prisons in relationship to their “return rate” of prisoners. Better performing prisons will have their population shrink, to make up for that “$$ loss” we can pay them for doing a great job of reintegration.

    Stefan

    On Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 3:24 AM Bad Beekeeping Blog wrote:

    > Ron Miksha posted: ” A few decades ago, most prisons had farms. Inmates > grew some of their own food while learning a few basic skills. That changed > for a number of reasons, partly because of the tendency to lock everyone up > if they couldn’t afford a good lawyer. Just too ma” >

    Like

  2. Re “Inmates grew some of their own food while learning a few basic skills…” As I recall it Ron, Prison Farms were “taken offline” by the Harper Gov’t because skills inmates acquired there were not considered to be useful in this day and age. (Obviously, at that time, there was no comprehension of the sense of accomplishment acquired by growing your own food and giving to others less fortunate, or the feelings of responsibility and empathy gained from working with animals; because none of these skills could never be of any benefit to people who’re expected to re-enter and function successfully in society at large, right?:/
    With your permission, just a bit of back-story here: CBC article from Feb 28, 2019 https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4555180

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this, by the way. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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