published on February 9, 2019
Kelly Struthers Montford
Land, Agriculture, and the Carceral
The Territorializing Function of Penitentiary Farms
The Correctional Service of Canada is currently re-instituting animal-based agribusiness programs in two federal penitentiaries. To situate the contemporary function of such programs, I provide a historical overview of prison agriculture in relation to Canadian nation-making. I argue that penitentiary farms have functioned as a means of prison expansion and settler territorialisation. While support for agricultural programming is rooted in its perceived facilitation of rehabilitation and vocational training, I show that these justifications are untenable. Rather the prison farm ought to be viewed as an institution made possible by and that reproduces, settler colonial power relations to animals, labour, and territory. Prison agribusiness is then an expression of colonial, agricultural, and carceral powers.