In the nineties, a warden in the Ferndale Minimum Security prison got behind a project to turn an unused portion of land into a 9-hole golf course. Inmates were to develop the project and maintain it, then they could use it. The warden, Ron Wiebe did a good job in keeping the lines of communication open with neighbors and local community groups. The golf course opened. Inmates got to play a few days week, seniors groups and other community groups had some other days.

All went well until community protest started. “Those bums should not be playing golf, they should be taking programs to reform themselves.”

Readers’ Digest came out with a feature article on Ferndale, asking “Do our prisons have to be country clubs?” in the headline. The article focused on the facts that the place was attractive, well-maintained and comfortable, but neglected the fact that it was the free labor of the inmates who kept it so. The heat increased, and sadly, the prison system in Canada has never learned to stand up to the heat on any project.

Inmate students were learning how to maintain a golf course. Inmates were enjoying a positive form of recreation. But no matter. The inmates were banned from using the golf course they had created.

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Comments
  1. jcommittedk says:

    Not only could they not play on it, which I suppose would not have been too bad, but the course itself was shut down, so now they had lost another source of employment.

  2. Patrick Thomas Meehan says:

    I remember it well. But like always with corrections the more things change same old same old So Sad!

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