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Posts Tagged ‘government investigation’

“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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