The Guelph Correctional Centre – GCC has a long tradition of innovation and self sufficiency (see HISTORY), and Yorklands Green Hub will design and build its programs around that tradition and is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the site.
The Guelph Correctional Centre played a global leadership role in transforming Ontario’s prison system from a punishment orientation to the rehabilitation of inmates through productive engagement in agriculture, manufacturing and processing operations which gave inmates employability skills for life in the community.
At the same time, the GCC was entirely self sufficient in producing food and basically all the materials needed to run a sustainable community. In fact, the farming and manufacturing activities of the Centre generated a surplus worth half a million dollars a year, back when half a million was real money. The use of inmates as workers in productive industry and agriculture was an effective strategy for reducing recidivism rates.
This heritage of self sufficiency will be translated to twenty first century realities through strategies which aim to make the green hub a net zero site in terms of energy, water, food and other resources. If the Ontario Reformatory administrators could make the enclosed prison community self sufficient in all material elements needed to operate, YGH planners must challenge themselves to replicate this sustainability tradition using modern technologies and methodologies.