Of course, in government we're always choosing among priorities, and one of the ways we do that is through the strategic review process, to look at making savings where we can and apply resources where they're required more significantly. Correctional Services has gone through a strategic review process like that this past year, which is reflected in the current numbers, and it was one of the reasons why what appears like a relatively modest increase is actually a much more significant increase in the very priority areas that you indicated. Savings have been made in other areas where things were not done efficiently, or programs did not work well, in order that resources could be redirected to much higher-priority areas.
For example, on the mental health front, we will now be having assessments in the first 90 days after intake into a federal penitentiary for all individuals. Previously we didn't have that kind of mental health assessment of every individual going into our prisons. That's a new program that will be introduced. I think that is actually coming on stream this month across the entire penitentiary system. For example, in that 90-day intake period there was never any programming offered, and with shorter penitentiary sentences overall, that meant less treatment and less rehabilitation for prisoners.
A lot of what the strategic review did was provide some money to begin to introduce programming into that first 90 days. As well, there was an overall look at the relevance of programming. There has been some attention, for example, to the closure of the prison farms. Those were costing a net loss for six farms of $4 million a year. We felt that money could be more adequately redirected to programs where people would actually gain employable skills, as virtually nobody who went through those prison farms ended up with employable skills, because they were based on a model of how agriculture was done 50 years ago, when it was labour intensive, and not capital intensive, as it is today. That might have been fine while they were in prison, but it didn't provide usable work skills. We are taking that money and redirecting it again to programs that are more likely to provide employment-based skills. This will continue.
One of the difficulties, particularly on the mental health front, is that the challenge is in part money and that more resources are being provided, but part of it is the simple ability to hire the skilled personnel. There's a need for psychiatrists, psychologists. We could give them all the money they want, but it's simply difficult to find enough available in the marketplace who are willing to work within our prison system. There is a shortage of that, so Corrections Canada is placing increased focus and attention on recruitment and retention of mental health workers, whether it be nurses, psychologists, or psychiatrists. It will take time for that to have an effect.