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“L’UNE DES PLUS GRAVES AU CANADA – PRISE D’OTAGES: ENQUÊTE,” La Presse

August 30, 1980. Pages 01 & 02.

PAUL ROY

Le solliciteur général du
Canada, Robert Kaplan, a
institué une enquête dans le but
de connaître tous les détails qui
ont entour é la tentativ e d’évasion de lundi, au Maximu m Laval,
et la pris e d’otages de 12
heures qui a suivi.

L’enquête, qui devrait être
complétée d’ici à une semaine, a
été confiée à l’inspecteur général
des Services correctionnels
canadiens, Al Wrenshall, qui
tentera notamment de découvrir
comment 10 détenus de ce pénitencier
à sécurité maximale ont
pu se procurer des armes et se
retrouver tous ensemble après le
déjeuner, lundi matin. L’ex-policier
de la GRC devra également
formuler des recommandations
dans le but d’empêche r que des
événements semblable s se reproduisent.

Le Solliciteur général a déclaré
que Laval a vécu l’une des
«plus graves prises d’otages de
l’histoire du Canada».
De passage à St-Vincent-de-Paul hier après-midi, M. Kaplan
a loué la fermeté des autorités
pénitentiaires qui, en aucun
temps, n’ont accepté de négocier
avec les mutins, dont un a été
tué par un garde dès le début de
l’évasion ratée . «Ce ser a une
leçon pour tous les détenus à
travers le pays», a déclaré le solliciteur
général, de retour d’un
congrès sur la question des pénitenciers,
à Caracas, au Venezuela.

Selon lui, les pénitenciers canadiens sont plus sécuritaires
que jamais et aucun ne l’est plus
que le Maximum Laval. Pourquoi
toutes ces prises d’otages,
donc? Parce qu’ils représenteraient
également un danger plus
grand qui jamais.

M. Kaplan explique cette apparente contradiction de la façon
suivante: d’un côté, les
mesures sécuritaires sont de
plus en plus raffinées et le personnel
est de mieux en mieux
entraîné; de l’autre, la «qualité»
des détenus se détériore depuis
que l’on a commencé à infliger
des peines dites communautaires aux criminels ne représen tant pas un danger pour la société.

De plus, souligne M. Kaplan,
les détenus ne sont plus confinés
à leurs cellules 23 heures sur 24,
ils ont beaucoup plus de possibilités
d’en sortir pour travailler,
étudier, etc., ce qui augmente

d’autant les possibilités de faire
entrer des armes de l’extérieur
et de prépar r des évasions.

Le ministre affirme néanmoins que cette libéralisation est
justifiée sur le plan de la réhabilitation
et qu’elle ne sera pas
remise en cause. A l’inévitable
question sur la peine de mort, il
a répondu que rien ne prouvait
jusqu’ici que le châtiment capital
permettrai t de réduir e le
nombre de meurtres. «Si c’était
le cas, je voterais en faveur»,
d’ajouter le ministre.

En attendant, les neuf mutins
qui ont survécu aux événements
de cette semaine ont été transférés
au Centre de développement
correctionnel, le «super maximum»
d’à côté , et les 12 otages
ont pu retrouver leurs familles.

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“Hostage-taking inquiry is likely to remain secret,” Montreal Gazette. August 30, 1980. Page 03.

By ELLEN McKeough
of The Gazette

An inquiry into one of ‘the most serious hostage takings in the history of Canada’ should be ready in a week – but it will probably never be made public, the solicitor-general of Canada said yesterday.

Robert Kaplan was touring the maximum security Laval Institute where a three-day hostage-taking ended Thursday.

He said yesterday the results of the investigation will not be made public because he refused to ‘publish blueprints of our prisons and our contingency plans.’

He does not expect that any one person will be held responsible for the 74-hour drama in which nien convicts held 12 people hostage in a desperate bid for freedom.

Kaplan has appointed Al Wrenshall, inspector-general of prisons and former RCMP chief superintendent, to find out how 10 convicts got outside the prison’s west gate.

While of the convicts was shot to death, the rest – including five convicted killers – were trapped against an outside wall and used 12 hostages for cover.

Kaplan, 43, called the incident the ‘most serious hostage-taking in the history of Canada.’

‘I am determined we are going to learned from this incident,’ the solicitor-general said.

The inquiry will also look into two recent escapes from the maximum-security jail at Dorchester, N. B.

Kaplan said longer sentences are a factor in the increased number of hostage takings incidents in prison becaue ‘they contribute to the desperation of the inmates.’

He said the peaceful ending of the latest incident swhows the ‘value of our hard-line policy’ of not negotiating with offenders.

The convicts surrendered Thursday morning after one of the convicts almost cracked under the strain and threatened to kill himself or someone else.

They laid down their revolvers and gave up their hostages at 10:30 a.m.

Freed hostages contacted yesterday by The Gazette refused to comment on their ordeal.

The hostage-takers will spend the next six months in solitary confinement at the nearby Correctional Development Centre.

Kaplan dismissed complaints from Edgard Roussel, one of the Laval convicts, that the ‘super-maximum’ security centre near Laval is ‘designed only to turn us into beasts, to develop killer instincts.’

The solicitor-general answered that the ‘prison officials can help…but the prisoner has to want to go straight…’

Roussel made the complaints in an open letter he sent to a member of Parliament in April.

The government plans to close the 107-year-old Laval Institute by 1986.

The prison has been condemned by at least three royal commissions of inquiry and one government subcommittee.

In the four years preceeding this latest incident, there have been four hostage-taking incidents at Laval. In one incident two years ago, a guard was killed as five inmates made an unsuccessful escape bid.

The prisoner’s plea that preceded incident
Edgar Roussel, one of our nine prisoners involved in a 74-hour hostage-taking at the maximum security Laval Institute this week, warned an MP four months ago that unless his prison conditions improved he would probably commit ‘a desperate act.’

‘I sense that something has broken down in the system and if no one intervenes on my behalf the worst can be expected,’ the 34-year-old convicted murderer wrote Mark MacGuigan from his cell.

‘The saturation point has been reached, the slightest incident could be the (spark), could lead to a desperate act.’

Roussel, serving two life terms for the killing of two men in a Montreal bar in 1974, wrote the appeal to MacGuigan – now the external affairs minister but formerly the head of a Parliamentary inquiry into prison conditions – last April while serving time in the ‘super-maximum’ security Correctional Develppment Centre, a separate facility not far from Laval Institute.

Roussel was sent there in March, 1978, after taking part in the longest hostage-taking incident in history of Canadian prisons at a provincial jail near St. Jerome.

‘For two long and interminable years I have not hugged my wife, my mother, or my daughter,’ Roussell wrote in the 2,500-word letter to MacGuigan, published in its entirety yesterday in Le Devoir.

‘And for two long years as well I have gone without seeing the light of the moon, the stars. To the most vile of animals this right is not denied.

‘In summer, it (the cell) is a cremation oven whcih is made intolerable by total inactivity. In the morning, a symphony of clearing of throats, of blowing of noses, of horase coughs to clear the respiratory system.

‘For nearly two years I have slept on the floor of my cell, my head resting at the bottom of the door to benefit from the small breeze, incomparable luxury.’

Roussel claimed that due to ‘a thirst for vengeance’ on the part of penitentiayr officials, he had been held in isolation longer than the two other convicts involved in the St. Jerome hostage-taking.

Roussel and the eight prisoners have been transferred back to the Correctional Development Centre for a period of at least six months as punishment for their role in the hostage taking.

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“Dr. Phelan In Quebec / Inspector Stewart Back,” Kingston Daily Standard. August 3, 1912. Page 08.

Dr. Phelan, medical inspector at Portsmouth Penitentiary, is at present at the St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary, Quebec, in consultation regarding an alleged case of criminal insanity there.

Inspector Stewart, acting warden at Portsmouth Penitentiary, has returned after a short holiday to Ottawa by the Rideau route. Nothing new has developed respecting the permanent retirement of Dr. Platt.

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“Despondent Over His Time,” Kingston Daily Standard. August 1, 1912. Page 02.

Convict Shaw, Suicide, Had Been Brooding.

He Had Petioned For His Parole, But It Was Not Granted – Had Been A Model Prisoner.

That convict James Shaw, who was found hanged in his cell at the Penitentiary yesterday morning, had been brooding for some time, because the department had not granted his parole, was brought out in the evidence given before the Coroner’s jury which inquired into the death last night.

Several guards gave evidence to the effect that the deceased had been morose and despondent for about two months. A convict in the cell adjoining Shaw stated that he had expected something would happen, when he was told that Shaw had suicided. In his evidence to the jury this prisoner swore that Shaw told him on Tuesday afternoon that he would never spend another holiday in the Penitentiary and that if something did not come of his petition, he would end it all. All the witnesses testified to the convict having been a model prisoner. He was quiet and obedient and had never given any trouble.

The last to see Shaw alive were two of the night watchmen. In their evidence they stated that apparently he was asleep when they passed on their rounds about 4.50 on Tuesday morning. He was discovered dead on the next round about 5.45.

The verdict of the jury was to the effect that the deceased came to his death by his own hand by hanging, and that any blame could be placed on the officials.

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“Convict Shaw Suicides at ‘Pen’,” Kingston Daily Standard. July 31, 1912. Page 01.

Body Found Early This Morning by Watchman

Attached Towel to Barrier Above Cell Door and Hanged – Good Prisoner on Short Term.

His dead body swinging from the barrier above his cell door, James Shaw, a convict serving a three year term at the Portsmouth Penitentiary, was found ealry this morning by Watchman Montgomery. The man had been dead only a short time. A towel had been used by the dead man to commit the deed. He had probably secreted it in his clothes following ‘wash-up’ parade. He had been a quiet, inoffensive prisoner according to the officials at the penitentiary, and no reason can be found for the deed. He was sentenced in Toronto on September 27, 1910, for three years on the charge of wounding with intent to kill, so his term was within a year of completion, and despondency from having a long sentence could not have been the cause.

Shaw was a young man, being only twenty-three years of age. His conduct since arriving at the pen has been quiet and satisfactory. He was not doing ‘punishment’ and had never expressed himself as being dissatisified with his treatment.

The relative in Toronto have been notified and the body, following embalming, will be held for a couple of days to allow his friends the privilege of burial if they so desire.

Coroner Ross has been notified and an inquest will be held to-night to investigate the circumstances surrounding the act. It is felt that the relatives would not be satisfied unless an inquest were held.

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“Four Guards Dismissed,” Kingston Daily Standard. July 15, 1912. Page 02.

One of the Men Will Put Up a Stiff Fight.

Got Specialist’s Certificate Showing He Was All Right – Praise for Inspector Stewart.

(Special to the Standard.)
Ottawa, July 15. – The report has reached here that four guards were dismissed from the Portsmouth Penitentiary last week – all on the certificate of the penitentiary physician who has declared them unfit for further service.

It is understood, however, that in respect, to one of these dismissals at least there will be a vigorous fight, on the ground that the guard dismissed is not in fact unfit for work. His alleged fault is deafness, but it is said that the dismissed man immediately upon his dismissal went  to a well-known Kingston specialist and from him obtained a certificate that it is declared will amply refute any charge of deafness such as to justify dismissal. In any event this dismissal, and perhaps one other, will certainly be fought.

It is said in this connection since Inspector Stewart took hold of the Portsmouth institution matters have run very much more smoothly and that certain over-zealous officials who under Warden Platt were running things much as they liked, have been given to understand that they had better attend to their own business, and their business only, or it will be the worse for them.

Ottawa, indeed, bears only the highest praise for Inspector Stewart and his administration.

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“Convict Ate Ground Glass,” Kingston Daily Standard. July 15, 1912. Page 01.

Another Suicide at Portsmouth Penitentiary.

Department of Justice at Ottawa Informed That Audette, a ‘Trusty’ Had Ended His Life

(Special to The Standard.)
Ottawa, July 15. – It is understood here that the Department of Justice has received word within the last ten days, or thereabouts – though the news has just leaked out now – that a convict named Audette had committed suicide in the Portsmouth Penitentiary, the method of suicide, so the report says, being believed to be powdered glass.

Audette was a ‘trusty’ in the insane ward, and had been sent to Portsmouth from Quebec. He was about 35 years and had served two years of his sentence.

What makes the suicide of more than ordinary interest is that Audette is the prisoner understood to have assisted Chartrand in his attempt to escape, having sawed the outer bars. Being a trusty, and having free access to the corridor, this was not a difficult matter.

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“Bread, Water Is Diet of 310 Guelph Rioters Held In Auditorium,” Toronto Star. July 14, 1948. Page 03.

Special to The Star
Guelph, July 14 – More than one-third of the inmates at the Ontario reformatory are still undergoing dietary punishment today although officials relented somewhat last evening and allowed them to spend the night in the assembly hall, Col. Hedley Basher, superintendent, said today. Monday night the 310 men who refused to work were locked out in an exercise yard without blankets.

‘There was some noise during the night, but things were reasonably quiet,’ Col. Basher said. He could not state when disciplinary measures would be eased. The men are receiving only bread and water.

When spokesmen for the rowdy prisoners sought an audience with reformatory officials late Tuesday they asked to be taken back into the buildings.

Instead of being returned to their dormitories, as some had hoped, the inmates were ordered into the large assembly hall immediately behind the administration offices. Col. Basher spoke to the group and warned them they would be kept on reduced rations, until the last evidence of their hold-out had disappeared.

The superintendent’s statement that all was not perfectly quiet indicated it was likely some hotheads were still trying to buck authority.

‘Youngsters’ Among Leaders
An inmate said the ringleaders were either ‘youngsters’ who acted spontaneously or in a few instances ‘old timers’ who were ‘little more than bums.’

Again today only a few inmates are working. For the most part, they are trustees who are permitted to wander with only loose supervision as they go about the park-like grounds of the institution. Some are clipping hedges. Others are cutting grass and weeding the many flower gardens. Another inmate and an electrician are finishing their task of repairing a lamp standard near the superintendent’s house some 100 yards north of the main buildings.

Those who spent the night in the assembly hall did ‘some singing and shouting,’ it was learned. Again today they were offered only bread for food and water to drink but officials declined to state whether any or all had accepted this diet.

Although the complete day staff of guards was kept on duty throughout Monday night following the disturbance which started at noon that day, a large percentage were permitted to return to their homes last night. All said they were under strict orders not to divulge information concerning condition in the institution.

Won’t Discuss Outbreak
Storekeepers in the area of the reformatory proved equally close-lipped since they did not want to cast suspicion on their customers, among whom are many guards.

Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions said, ‘Many persons forget that the type of person we get in the institutions does not take kindly to discipline. We intend to maintain that discipline by such as are necessary. We are not going to have the inmates trying to run the institutions.’

About one year ago the inmates at Burwash farm took over the administration of the reformatory and held possession for several days. Last month women inmates at Mercer Reformatory in Toronto staged one of the worst riots in years when they smashed furniture and beat up policemen and guards who tried to control them.’

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“Striking Guelph Inmates Sue for Peace at End of 30-Hour Vigil in Yard,” Globe and Mail, July 14, 1948. Page 01 & 03.

Guelph, July 13 (Special). – After being cooped up in an exercise yard for more than 30 hours on a bread-and-water diet, 311 rebellious inmates at Guelph Reformatory early last night sued for peace and were brought into the assembly hall to spend the night.

The ‘fresh air’ treatment began to have its desired effect during the afternoon when Supt. Hedley Basher was asked to receive spokesmen for the group.

These spokesmen said that practically all of the prisoners involved had changed their minds about not working and promised to behave if the rigid discipline would be relaxed. After considering the matter at length, Supt. Basher ordered the men brought inside and blankets were issued to them.

The punishment diet will be continued for the time being. Its lifting will depend upon the conduct of the group during tonight and the early part of tomorrow.

The men, who comprise slightly more than one-third of the total prison population, refused to go to work after the noon-day meal Monday. While no official protest had been made, some of them shouted: ‘What about the food?’

After the officials talked to the men and insisted they go to work there was a minor demonstration of singing and shouting which was quelled by the use of tear gas. After that there was order and no further demonstration.

Some of the prisoners changed their minds early Monday afternoon, but it was decided to keep them out in the open as a disciplinary measure. They remained there throughout last night without blankets. However, as the weather was warm, none experienced any discomfort other than the fact they had to sleep on concrete.

Pictures taken from the air by a Globe and Mail photographer yesterday showed the men lounging in small groups, while others were standing in the shade of the four three-story walls forming the yard.

Officials were at a loss concerning the remarks about the food. They insisted the food is on par with that served in any other institution on the continent.

At Toronto, Reform Institutions Minister George Dunbar confirmed that the men were kept in the open purely as a disciplinary measure.

‘Many persons forget that the type of person we get in the institutions does not take kindly to discipline,’ he said. ‘We intend to maintain that discipline by such as are necessary. We are not going to have the inmates trying to run the institutions.’

He declared that complaints relating to food were ill-founded. Meat and fresh vegetables prepared by trained cooks are served daily.

He said that about 20 men had caused the trouble by persuading others in the group not to leave for their work in the fields and the workshops.

Image Captions:

Left: Bread and water and lots of fresh air was the treatment accorded 311 prisoners at Guelph Reformatory who refused to work. Here’s an aerial view yesterday afternoon of the rebellious inmates who have been kept in an exercise yard since theyr struck after noon-day meal Monday. Officials decided to keep them there as disciplinary measure. From the air it appeared as if bread had been scattered around in corner of yard.

Right:  One of the more modern reform institutions on the continent, the reformatory at Guelph, where 311 prisoners are on strike, is shown in this overall aerial picture. (1) Administration building. (2) Yard where striking inmates are being detained. (3) Main wing. (4) Recreational field. (5) Power house. (6) Workshops. (7) Abattoir. A few of those who refused to work are said to have complained a bout the food.

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“300 ‘Sit Down’ in Prison Yard,” Toronto Star. July 13, 1948. Page 01.

Work Or Starve Order Given 300 at Guelph – ‘Rebels’ Defy Tear Gas

Special To The Star
Guelph, July 13 – Prison officials said today they were prepared to ‘starve out’ 300 prisoners at Guelph Reformatory who are staging a hunger and sit-down strike in the exercise yard. The prisoners remained throughout the night in the yard with every available guard on duty.

Officials declared the situation is tense, but said they did not think it would break into a riot. Armed guards circle the exercise yard where the men met after the noon-day meal yesterday. Tear gas used to attempt to rout them had little effect and it was decided that it would not be used again, but that the policy of ‘No work, no food’ would be adopted.

A. R. Virgin, director of reform institutions, said in Toronto today that this already has had some effect on a number of the men who had asked to rejoin the majority of the prisoners inside. Almost 500 had no part in the strike, officials stated.

Armed Guards Leave Posts
From outward appearances everything at the reformatory was peaceful and normal. About a dozen men working in two and threes were cutting grass and trimming shrubs along the main driveway.

At the back of the building on a playing field another dozen or so were playing ball. About 50 inmate spectators at the game were sitting in the tiers of seats that line the field.

Only 50 men could be seen working in the fields at 10.30 a.m. today. There were 20 in a hayfield, 20 doing landscape gardening and 10 cultivating fields. An occasional shout could be heard from inside the exercise walls. Guards who earlier had been patrolling the walls with shotguns had left their posts.

The 300 in the yard looked to passing air passengers as if they were being prepared for barbecuing. Sprawling in a courtyard surrounding by three-storey stone walls, the prisoners steaming in their dark clothing as a mid-morning sun began beating down.

Less than one in 50 of the prisoners who were lying in disorganized clumps bothered to look up as planes passed overhead. Over 100 stood or lounged against one end of the shaded south wall as if it were a corner pool hall.

None of the 300 gathered in any sort of group, none were walking or strolling. A few seemed to have taken off their jackets to bathe in the sun beating into the abre dusty stone box of the square court. The hottest looking spot on the landscape was the steaming ‘pit’ where the 300 prisoners were put to ‘cool off.’

Slept on Ground
Col. Hedley Basher, once a Toronto policeman and former governor of the Toronto Jail and jail farm, is superintendent at Guelph reformatory. He would not make any statement on the strike, referring inquiries to the reforms branch at Toronto.

The prisoners in the exercise yard, which is surrounded by the cell block, slept on the ground, officials here said. Conditions for outdoor sleeping were described as ideal. There was plenty of space, officials said, because the yard will accommodate between 700 and 800.

Guards were kept on duty throughout the night. A bus load of close to 30 go home to Guelph every night, but their trip back was cancelled last night.

Complain of Food, Heat
There was considerable shouting when the strike first started after the noon meal. Leaders urged prisoners to refuse to go to the fields and they were able to get more than 300 volunteers.

The inmates were said to have been pained about the food and balked at having to go to the fields in the hot weather. They have to walk through the exercise yard after the meal to go to work.

Mr. Virgin said a few leaders incited the men to remain in the yard. Tear gas was used. While it caused the men discomfort, use of it in the open was not effective in getting them to leave.

Officials then took an adamant stand that the men would have to work to get their food. Those who asked to give in were refused permission to leave the exercise yard.

‘They must be taught obedience and they are going to take their punishment,’ Mr. Virgin declared.

Claims Food Good
Mr. Virgin laid blame for the trouble on ‘newspapers and radio stations’ which published and broadcast new of disturbances at Burwash and Mercer reformatory. ‘They have radios in their cell blocks,’ said Mr. Virgin. He added newspapers were not a general issue but prisoners have access to them at times.

‘As for complaints about food, the food served is exceptionally good,’ Mr. Virgin declared. ‘For breakfast this morning the men had pancakes, cooked cereal, bread and jam and tea. For lunch they would receive shepherd’s pie, potatoes, and gravy, soup, boiled cabbage, butterscotch pudding, tea and bread.

‘The diet is exceptionally good. I have always observed how well the food is prepared on every occasion I have been there,’ he added.

Mr. Virgin said there would be a thorough inquiry. As yet no one had been sent to investigate.

‘These men have rebelled for no apparent reason and they will take their punishment before they will be allowed to go back to work,’ he said.

The firm attitude taken by officials of the department of reform institutions is reported to be in contrast to the stand taken at Burwash after last October’s riot. In that disturbance, the prisoners took over and were in control for days. Then they were given an opportunity of telling their grievances to Prof. Jaffary of the University of Toronto. No disciplinary action was taken.

Image Caption: From the air, Guelph ‘rebels’ can be seen lounging on blankets, left, and standing in shade of prison wall, right

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“Warns Burwash Powder Keg, Trouble Deep-Seated – ‘Food Badly Served’  – Says Dunbar Should Go See For Himself,” Toronto Star. July 5, 1948. Page 21.

‘Burwarsh is a powder keg and it is going to blow up any day if conditions are not improved. They are even worse than they were before the trouble last October,’ said a prisoner just released. He said he was in both riots and claimed that the prisoners have banded together and are waiting their chance to stage an even bigger demonstration than the other two.

Dunbar Should Visit
‘Mr. Dunbar (Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions) should go up himself and talk to the prisoners and he would get an earful of what is going on,’ said the ex-inmate. ‘They told us he was coming up during the last trouble but he has never been there.

‘Food is the principal cause of the trouble,’ he claimed. ‘It’s not so much what is served, but how it is served. It is rank and cold. The same food could be cooked up in a style that would satisfy the men, but the attitude is take it or leave it.’

He declared that since the riot of last October there had been numerous hunger strikes of two or three days’ duration. When the men protested the menu, he stated, the superintendent Ralph Ayers would taste the food and say there was nothing wrong with it. Then they would have to eat it or go hungry.

‘The men work hard in the fields and need substantial food,’ he said. ‘They aren’t getting it and they are not going to work. The crops will rot in the fields and the temper of the prisoners is such that they are talking about burning the buildings and firing the fields in protest so that the public can learn what conditions are.

Raps Parole System
‘Another sore spot is the sysem of parole. This was one of the things that caused the first riot. The parole board comes to Burwash the second Wednesday in every month. They run through 100 prisoners each time. Then days later the prisoner will get a letter saying he does or does not get parole. The feeling is that the matter is settled before they come before the board.

‘Guards are going and coming all the time. They don’t pay them enough for them to stay. Some are minors. They are supposed to be trained but they don’t know how to handle men. Since they were given power of police officers to make arrests, their job has gone to their heads and they are pushing the prisoners around to show their authority.

He said after the investigation by Prof. Stuart Jaffary of the University of Toronto after the first riot, conditions improved. ‘But everything is going back to the way it was before. There is going to be serious trouble and someone might be killed.’

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“20 Heave Bricks At Guards – Mercer On Bread, Weak Tea,” Toronto Star. June 28, 1948. Page 01.

A score of women prisoners at Mercer reformatory are ‘still holding out’ in their riot against the prison administration, officials said today. Although on rations of weak tea and bread as punishment for continued defiance, they have refused to stop shouting and during the week-end, some dislodged pieces of bricks from the wall and flung them at guards in the corridors.

Using nail files and spoons, broken and sharpened on stone, they picked at the mortar. Some whole bricks were heaved at the guards, but mostly the missiles were pieces of brick.

A dozen guards were brought from Guelph and Mimico reformatories. They are to replace Toronto police. Chief Chisholm has detailed three constables each eight hours to be on duty.

Will ‘Have Their Way’
T. M. Gourlay, inspector of prisons, is making a report on the disturbance to Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions. Meanwhile, no action is being taken.

Nine provincial police are still on duty. Toronto police are patrolling outside the building and the patrol sergeant in charge makes one trip through the jail with the matron.

Reduced rations had an effect on most of the women, who have returned to their regular work in the reformatory, officers said. The 20 out of the 100 who originally went on a sit-down strike and then rioted last Friday morning, seem determined to ‘have their way,’ they said.

Plans to remove the ringleaders to Don jail have been abandoned, officials stated.

The form of punishment to be meted out has not been decided. The superintendent, like the governor of all jails, has power to order the girls strapped, it was stated.

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“Boy Convicts In Penitentiary,” Kingston Whig Standard. June 25, 1912. Page 02.

Department of Justice is Investigating.

If They Are Removed They Will Probably be Placed in Reformatory – Detention Legal.

Upon the suggestion of Rev. J. C. McConachie, Children’s Aid official, the Department of Justice is making an investigation into the case of Convicts Cooper and Preuss, aged 16 years, in the Portsmouth Penitentiary on the charge of burglary. They were sentenced at St. Thomas six months ago for five and eight years respectively.

Cooper, it is said, was only five days over sixteen years at the time of being sentenced. Neither of the two boys, it is further stated, was in a position to realize the serious nature of their offence. It is held that the 16-year-old boys are at too suspectible an age to be in the penitentiary. Mr. McConachie took up the matter with the result that the Minister has promised to investigate.

The boys, if removed, from the pen will probably be placed in a reformatory.

Speaking with The Standard in regard to the matter an official of the penitentiary stated that he thought the detention of the two boys was quite legal and in a certain sense justified. Although they had given no trouble since being brought to the penitentiary, and their conduct has been for the most part satisfactory, yet there was no doubt that they knew what they had done. There had been deliberate shooting in connection with the burglary, and there is strong reason to think that they are older than they look or are represented to be. At present they are being kept isolated from the other men as far as possible, a special guard is detailed to watch over them to see that they are given every possible advantage and opportunity to learn something useful.

According to the penitentiary book Preuss is seventeen years old.

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W. F. Nickle, Esq., K.C., M.P.,
Kingston.

Dear Sir,
Referring to your letter of the 19th inst., Warden Platt was the only Warden in Canada who invariably filled vacancies on the day staff by transfer from the night staff. The result was that during thirteen hours of the day, the custody of the convicts and the protection of prison property was in the hands of a very limited number of officers, all of whom were the latest recruits – the least experienced of the police staff. The practice is extremely dangerous and inconsistent with the principle of a permanent night staff. Hence our order of November last which has been supplied to you by some officer who had little regard for his oath of office.

Circumstances in individual cases may justify the Minister in authorizing a transfer. A few days ago he authorized changes from night to day duty. The practice of having the night staff merely a squad of recruits is one, however, that cannot be continued.

As to the alarming rumour that officers who wear glasses are to be retired I cannot find that it has yet reached the prison. So far as I know no such suggestion has ever been said. I am under the impression that the ‘consternation’ to which you refer is confined to the imagination of some officer who has been inspecting glasses longitudinally.

Yours sincerely,

[Douglas Stewart, Inspector of Penitentiaries]

for Warden.

Letter 536

June 21, 1912.

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Memorandum for Inspector Dawson,
I enclose the resignation of Warden Platt who is anxious that the question of his retirement be decided at once so that he may arrange business accordingly. Please submit it to the Minister for Action before he leaves for England, if possible, and I trust you will be able to join me in the recommendation that Warden Platt be granted the usual statutory gratuity.

Douglas Stewart, Inspector
for Warden.

Letter 528

June 20, 1912.

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