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“Two Mercer Escapees Nabbed In Hamilton,” The Globe and Mail. October 19, 1948. Page 05.

While crews of police cruisers searched the King St. W. vicinity of Mercer reformatory yesterday, two escaping women inmates calmly took a streetcar to the western city limits.

There, an obliging motorist, not noticing their white institutional smocks, drove them to the Humber River approach to the Queen Elizabeth Highway.

A cache of clothing, believed by police have been arranged by friends, enabled the escaping women to rid themselves of the reformatory apparel. A second motorist picked them up and took them to Hamilton, where, less than three hours after their escape, they were arrested.

The two, Camille Dinwoodle, 38, of Toronto, and Audrey Greenfield, 27, of Hamilton, were detailed yesterday afternoon to move garbage. They moved the garbage out and kept going. The matron saw them heading for freedom, gave chase and lost them. The pair clambered over a fence to railway tracks and escaped down the right-of-way.

While police searched, the couple took a streetcar to Sunnyside. Two rides later, they were in Hamilton at Mulberry and Railway Streets where detectives, alerted by Toronto police, picked them up.

‘Where did you get those coats?’ Hamilton police asked the women. They got no satisfactory answer. They will be returned to Toronto today.
—-
Hamilton, October 18 (Staff). – Whether they objected to putting out the garbage or whether they wanted to see the profusion of autumn color along Hamilton’s Mountain, Camille Dinwoodle and Audrey Greenfield didn’t say when they were picked up.

Det.-Sgts. Clarence Preston and Orrie Young, informed of the girls’ escape by radio, were cruising in the Mulberry St. area when Det.-Sgt. Preston, who knew one of the girls, saw them. They made no attempt to escape when approached by the police officers.

They were lodged in Barton St. Jail, and will be returned to Mercer tomorrow.

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“Acquitted of Murder,” Kingston Daily Standard. October 11, 1912. Page 04.
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James Bruce Found Not Guilty in Hamilton Poison Case.

Hamilton, Ont., October 11. – The jury in the case of James Bruce, charged with murdering Rose Ziepe, by means of poisoned candies, which the Crown alleged he had given to his wife while she was a patient in the hospital, found a verdict of not guilty, last night.

Before discharging Bruce, Justice Kelly lectured him on his evident neglect of his wife. ‘I have no fault to find with the verdict, but the jury might reasonably have found you guilty of the charge against you,’ said his lordship to the prisoner.
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Not Confined in ‘Pen.’

A despatch from Detroit states that a Petrolea woman accuses her husband, ‘Jack’ Watson, of an attempt to poison her, and further states that at the time she was married to Watson, he was a paroled prisoner having served time at the Portsmouth Penitentiary for robbery. On enquiry at the penitentiary to-day, The Standard was informed that the man in question has not been confined at the penitentiary.

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“Did Bruce Boy Poison?” Kingston Daily Standard. October 9, 1912. Page 03.

Druggist Located Who Sold Him Poison.

Hamilton, Oct. 9. – At the eleventh hour the police promise a sensation in the murder case now before Justice Kelly in the Assizes. James Bruce charged with the murder of Rose Zeipe, who died after eating alleged poisonous chocolates given her by the wife of the prisoner, is confined to the court house cells awaiting trial, a true bill being brought in by the grand jury yesterday. 

The police announced that they had located a druggist from whom Bruce bought strychnine, the poison found in the dead girl’s stomach by the Toronto analyst.

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“Prison Terms Are Meted Out,” Hamilton Spectator. October 8, 1938. Page 01.

Three Years For Costello, Two For MacAvella Imposed By Court

A
total of six years in prison terms was imposed on three men who
appeared before three men who appeared before Judge Ernest F. Lazier in
county criminal court Friday afternoon.

Frank Costello, aged 21,
one of a family of seven children, was sentenced to three years in
Kingston penitentiary when he pleaded guilty to four charges of theft of
automobiles.

Douglas MacAvella was sentenced to two years in
Kingston penitentiary when he was convicted of the theft if six auto
batteries from the Super-Lastic Sales corporation. He was acquitted of
the theft of an automobile.

Albert Peddie was given a one-year
term sentence for theft imposed in magistrate’s court, when Judge Lazler
convicted him of breaking into the garage of Robert McKee, Cannon street
and Sanford avenue, and the theft of electric drills and other tools
from it.

Appearing for Costello, Joseph D. Sullivan said he had a
‘heart to heart’ talk with him at the jail, but could only account for
his misdemeanours by his disposition toward recklessness.

‘I agree
with Mr. Sullivan that a reformatory term would have no effect in
redeeming him’ said George W. Ballard, K.C., crown attorney, handing
Costello’s record card to the judge.

Detective Albert Speakman
testified as to auto thefts in August and September when cars were stolen
belonging to James Ray, Grimsby Beach; Hertbert Ticker, Toronto; Harold
Jaggard, Cathcart street, and R. A. Bergdorf, York street.

Car Smashed
Mr. Tucker’s car was found near Dunnville badly smashed, Detective Speakman told the court.

Called
by the crown to testify in the MacAvella case, two young women and a
young man who were playing tennis on the courts of the First United
church, said they saw the accused carry batteries and place them in a
car on August 26. Judge Lazier found there was insufficient evidence to
justify his conviction for auto theft.

MacAvella denied theft of
the batteries, and added he had obligingly thrown back two tennis balls to
the young people who had testified against him.

In Peddie’s case,
Detective Speakman told of stopping the accused in his car, finding a
wrecking bar, hacksaw, tools and a large pair of snips. Robert McKee,
proprietor of a garage which was broken into, identified some of the
tools by his initials on them.

MacAvella and Peddie were without
counsel. Both had records. The convicted trio were led from the court
room, their hands manacled together.

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“In the days after her brother-in-law’s death inside the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, Tracy Sharp watched in disbelief as negative comments made by people who never met him started to pile up on social media.

“One less person on our tax payers [sic] dime,” read one.

“Thin the herd,” read another.

But one comment in particular stopped her cold: “Who cares,” wrote Kevin Hale, whose Facebook profile says he works for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

“Is this the kind of people that work there, treating them like animals?” she wondered.

“If these are the kind of people who are supposed to be in control and looking out for these guys, that doesn’t bode well.”

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the ministry would not say if it’s investigating Hale’s comments or if he will face any sort of reprimand because it does not comment on “human resources matters.”

“The personal opinions expressed by our employee do not reflect the values of our ministry nor of the vast majority of correctional staff,” wrote Brent Ross.

I care and so do the families of all of these other people who have died. – Tracy Sharp

Christopher “Johnny” Sharp died at the Barton Street jail Friday afternoon of a suspected drug overdose. His death comes just months after a marathon inquest into eight overdose deaths at the facility the produced 62 recommendations aimed at improving everything from security and health services to surveillance.

The ministry has six months to respond. In the meantime, inquests have also been announcedinto the deaths of two other HWDC inmates — Brennan Bowley and Ryan McKechnie.

Not just a mug shot

Beyond questions about how drugs continue to get into the jail and kill inmates, Sharp’s family is left struggling to understand why people would go out of their way to attack a hurting family trying to hold onto memories of the man they loved.

“Johnny isn’t just a mug shot and a rap sheet,” said Tracy. “He was a person and like a lot of addicts and people who get caught up in the system, he wasn’t always like this.”

Carol, Johnny’s mother, remembers the 53-year-old as a gentle boy with a mischievous sense of humour before addiction and 30 years spent bouncing between jails, prisons and halfway houses.

As a child he loved sports and art — later in life he became a tattoo artist who created his own complex designs.

Tracy knew Johnny for almost 15 years and said some of her her fondest memories are of him playing with her kids.

“He was just so sweet, I only know the sweet side to him. I don’t know that rap sheet Johnny."”

– Dan Taekema, “‘Who cares?’ asks corrections worker after inmate dies inside Hamilton jail.CBC News, September 14, 2018.

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“I have the honor to report to Your Excellency that I have visited twenty-two
Gaols in Canada West, where I have found little or no discipline or classification of
prisoners. In the construction of most of the Gaols in Canada West, the health of
the prisoners has rarely received a thought; it is true that the highest spot has often
been selected as a site for the Court House and Gaol, yet it is lamentable to see the
cells partly under ground and badly ventilated. In many Gaols, the effluvia from the
water closet, where there is no sewer, can be felt all over the Gaol; add to that, a
number of persons sleeping together in warm weather, or yet in cold weather, where
every crevice is carefully shut, and it will create no surprise to see prisoners affected
with disease that sends them to an early grave.

Hamilton Gaol is situated in one of the most wealthy Counties in the Province;
in the year 1851, it had four hundred and nineteen prisoners within its walls. The
cells are eight feet nine inches by nine feet nine inches, partly under ground, with
one small loop-hole for light and air; the door opens into a dark passage; Six human
beings are incarcerated in each of these cells night and day, with a tub in place of a
water-closet. The prisoners complain of vermin; it is impossible to be otherwise. 

The Sheriff attends at Court House daily, but does not visit prisoners, unless specially, called upon to do so, being in a state of disgust with the condition of the Gaol, and wholly ‘unable to ameliorate the condition of the prisoners, either morally or
“physically.” There is no yard to give the prisoners air or exercise, hence, a three
months’ confinement in such a Gaol, must shorten life more than a sentence of three
years in the Provincial Penitentiary, where they have every care, with pure air and exercise. In a moral point of view, such a prison is equally ruinous, as there is no classification,
except the females being kept in a cell by themselves, where they freely converse
with the male prisoners. … I found the male and
female, the sane and insane, the tried and untried, the young and the old, the black
and the white, all congregated together: throughout the day, having the range of the
Gaol, where any amount of criminality might be carried on.”

– Andrew Dickinson, Inspector, Provincial Penitentiary, “REPORT
OF ONE OF THE
INSPECTORS OF GAOLS
For CANADA WEST.”

16 Victoria. Appendix (H.H.), September 11 1852, from Appendix to the Eleventh Volume of the Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, Session 1852-1853. 

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“Thieves Busy Over Holiday,” Hamilton Spectator. July 21, 1919. Page 14.

Stolen Large Quantity of Goods From Store

Forced Rear Door and Tied Up Dog On Guard

Thieves did a considerable business over the holiday and last night. One store was looted, and a large amount of goods taken, another house was broken into, and some articles also stolen out of a boat-house. In addition, two automobiles were stolen and several minor thefts reported to the police. 

A grocery store conducted by L. J. Pringle, 14 Duke street, at 1425 Barton street east, was broken into and a large quantity of groceries and meats stolen. In addition, 200 packages of players and 15 packages of Gold Crest cigarets were taken; also of Bull Durham tobacco. The goods taken are roughly valued at $200. The police are of the opinion that the thieves carted the stolen goods away in an automobile. A dog which was in the store at the time was found tied up. When the thieves entered, by forcing a rear door, they three cayenne pepper in its eyes.

BROKE INTO BOAT-HOUSE
James Kelly, 192 Kensington avenue north, reported to the police that thieves jhad entered his boathouse off Ottawa street, some time last night. They stole two camp chairs, an axe, water pail, cushions and a clock; also a lamp, all the dishes in the place, and some rubber coats and hats. The thieves effected an entrance by chopping in a door with an axe. Last Sunday the same boat-house was broken into and a quantity of goods stolen. The police are investigating.

HOUSE ENTERED
The home of Lupu Goldenthal, 151 Cannon street west, was broken into last night, and cash amounting to $265 stolen. Mr. Goldenthal and his wife were at Wabasso park when the house was entered. The ground floor was ransaked by the thieves, but only the money is missing. The thieves got into the house by removing a front window. The police expect to arrest certain suspects in this case.

Miss Janet McCullough, 140 Ottawa street north, reported to the police that someone had stolen a gum box from in front of her home. Boys are suspected.

A suit of clothes, valued at $50, the property of Fred Popoff, 131 Park street north, was stolen from his houses some time last night. The police have arrested a man whom they claim stole the suit and was trying to sell same.

Konstanten Mochlock, a returned soldier, 403 Sherman avenue north, reported to the police that his pockets were picked or he list a purse containing three twenty dollar bills, his restaurant license and army discharge papers. He is of the opinion that he lost the purse in Dundurn park.

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