Posts Tagged ‘local jail’

“Jail and the Workingman.” Kingston Daily Standard. Editorial. October 9, 1912. Page 04.

According to the annual return of Governor Corbett, of the county jail, there was a total of 162 prisoners committed during the year ending the 30th September 1912, of whom eight were females. The occupations of these prisoners were: Baker, 1; blacksmith and boilermaker, 1; bricklayers, 1; butchers, 1; cabinet makers, 5; carpenters, 8; cigar makers, 2; clerks, 1; engineers, 1; farmers, 3; hotelkeepers, 1; laborers, 109; masons, 1; moulders, 2; painters, 2; sailors, 1; servants, 6; teamsters, 1; tinsmiths, 1; woodworkers, 1; no occupation, 7; soldiers, 2.

In looking over these figures one is at once struck with the large number of laborers, 109, as against 49 of all other occupations. Two-thirds of the whole number are laborers. It may be said that laborers constitute the majority of working people and for that reason the proportion constitute the majority of working people and for that reason the proportion is not out of the way. That probably is true, but laborers do not make up two-thirds of the population of Kingston, and there are not 109 times as many laborers as there are bakers, or blacksmiths, or clerks or engineers or masons; for we find only one of each of these classes of workmen in jail during the year. The number of laborers imprisoned is clearly out of all proportion to their number in the community.

Only one explanation can be offered for this condition of affairs. A lack of education is at the bottom of it. A boy who is allowed to drift through school and leave it at an early age and is then placed at some work which leads to no trade, business or profession lands among the class of laborers when he reaches man’s estate. He is without a trade or business training and almost always without education except the merest rudiments of it.

The parent who thus neglects his child, who fails to make him attend school or who does not send him to learn a trade or business is almost criminally blameworthy. In Canada there is no excuse for allowing any boy to drift into the class of laborers. Here, there is every chance for any boy to get a fair education or to learn a trade. In the first place, it is the fault of his parents, in 99 cases out of a hundred if the boy does not get that chance; in the second place it is the fault of the State for for not passing and enforcing such laws as will compel the parents to look to the welfare of their children by seeing either that they are properly educated for the professions or are taught a business or trade. Our foreign immigration will provide us with all the laborers we need; it is a disgrace to Canada to have any of her sons among the class of criminal laborers, not because labor is not honourable, but because the people of Canada should be educated to work of a higher nature than that of the mere laborer.

The statistics furnished by Governor Corbett shows that of the 162 prisoners, 12 are Canadians – that is just 112 too many.

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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

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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“Wounded Soldier Sentenced to Jail,” Toronto Globe. September 1, 1916. Page 08.

Attorney-General Authorizes His Liberation That He May Attend Reception.

The ‘boys’ in a western Ontario city were apparently exceedingly good to a war-scarred returned soldier, with the result that the latter, as the result of his imbibing too freely, landed himself in court and was sentenced to thirty days in jail. Last night a reception was held in the city in honor of returned soldiers, and before the ceremony thoughts fastened on the unfortunate victim doing ‘time’ while the band was playing outside. Accordingly, an effort was set on foot to have the prisoner, who had valorously served his country, released, and the Attorney-General, who was communicated with yesterday afternoon, without any hesitation took the human view and authorized the soldier’s liberation. 

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“The history of the Pied-du-Courant prison in Montreal clearly reflects and illustrates the ongoing changes in liberal penalty while highlighting its practical advantages and limits. The discourse on punishment methods in the democratic era was not static or repetitive; it was, rather, quite responsive to the vagaries of the liberal worldview and the contradictions inherent in it, as well as to the challenges to liberalism that arose in the late nineteenth century. But just as the utopian ideal of reform through imprisonment ebbed back into a punitive reflex, turn-of-the-century hopes for the scientific treatment of crime would not have much effect on penal practice.

The reason was very simple: the liberal worldview was the only viable one in a society based on individual liberty. It alone acknowledged the primary purpose of penal justice (punishing crime) while satisfying the demands of basic humanism (not mistreating the prisoner), leaving reformist reveries to the penitentiary managers and philanthropists. Its agenda was simplicity itself: let the prison do what it does best. Let it lock up criminals under conditions suitable for their punishment, and thereby deter honest folk from taking the road to crime. 

Given this situation, a science-driven revolution in prison management was not to be expected. Once the West’s imposing penitentiary system was put in place after the 1830s, it remained only to manage  it in all good conscience, as the liberal philosophy of punishment required. The sombre confines of the modern prison remained impervious to challenges from the new science of criminology; penal formalism was not to be subordinated to case-by-case treatment. Only on the treatment of hardened criminals and recidivists did criminologists and prison authorities see eye to eye.The discourse of eugenics was invoked to justify the indefinite or permanent isolation of this group of people deemed beyond rehabilitation, incapable of life of society. Confinement became the end of the road, a dumping ground for these new wretched of the earth, for whom science had found no better solution than to lock them away in the darkness of the cell. In Canada, the penitentiaries had played this role since the mid-nineteenth century, with the workaday silence of the federal prison administration being periodically disturbed by the occasional prison riot and the commission of inquiry which inevitably followed.  

But what of the jailhouse? A revolving door for petty criminals, caught up in the busy administration of everyday violations and misdemeanor, it meted out a kind of haphazard mass punishment without enjoying the luxury of engaging in speculation about the possibility of reform. The Montreal prison is a particularly striking example of this dynamic.

Yet at its inception in 1836, in the heyday of utopian penality, it had been thought capable of rising to the highest challenges, and even one day serving as a penitentiary, following the lead of the one just opened at Kingston in the neighbouring colony. Its designer, the architect Henry Musgrave Blaiklock, seems to have been inspired by the Pennsylvanian model (twenty-four-hour solitary confinement) in his design for rather spacious cells arranged in wings looking onto a central corridor.

After 1843, however, when the Kingston penitentiary was assigned the role of housing Lower Canadian criminals sentenced to more than two years, the Montreal prison was confirmed in its role as a holding pen for petty criminals. Thus began a long history of lamentation, in which both prison managers and inspectors deplored the facility’s overpopulation, outdatedness, and inadequacy for purposes of rational treatment, as well as the structural impossibility of adopting an effective classification of its inmates. Solitary confinement at the facility came in for special condemnation.

And yet despite all these deficiencies, the Montreal prison did the impossible; it endured. From 1840 onward and throughout the whole period under study, it remained by far the largest penal institution in Quebec. Moreover, all things considered, it evinced a remarkable capacity for adaptation. In fact, all the issues of liberal penality discussed in this chapter can be found encapsulated in its history.

Consider, for example, the principle of functional specialization. Starting in earnest in the 1870s, specific institutions would be built for girls (1870), boys (1873), and women (1876), leading to the disappearance of these populations from Pied-du-Courant. Moreover, efforts were made to convert it into a more modern, cell-based facility. The 1897 inspectors’ report states that 227 individual cells had been built in this relatively modest buildings, along with 84 three-person cells and 4 ‘open quarters.’ Even the endless debate over penal labour (work as punishment or work as a means of improvement) was enacted within these old, overpopulated walls. Prisoners had initially been assigned to breaking rocks and beating hemp. In 1839, however, after an abortive project to put them to work under a contract with the City of Montreal, the new prison governor, Charles A.Vallée, commissioned a building in the prison yard to house new workshops. The implementation of these workshops attests to the transition from purely penal work to work designed to provide some form of training.

Obviously, the biggest obstacle to the ‘modernization’ of the Montreal prison related to its role as a local facility for a transient population of petty criminals. The prison inspectors’ inability to convince the provincial authorities to build an ‘intermediate’ prison to house ‘habitual criminals’ (vagrants and beggars who used the prison as a short-term asylum) for longer intervals gave way to a realization that the prison could be neither deterrent (in the liberal sense of the term) nor reformative. Even the prospect of early parole was a relatively meagre incentive for a person serving only a month or two in prison, as was the case for the large majority of the facility’s population.

It is hard to avoid that the impression that the Montreal prison, as outdated and inadequate as penal specialists argued it was, played its role of handling the day-to-day inflow and outflow of petty criminals quite well. It served its purpose as the punitive instrument of first resort. The time was long gone when the authorities were enthusiastically building great shrines to the ideal of reform, yet the prospect of a comprehensive therapeutic solution to crime sat somewhere off in an indistinct future. Only legal formalism remained: punishment in response to violation of the formal injunctions contained in the Criminal Code. Seen in this way, the Montreal prison and its history encapsulate rather well the limited ambitions of liberal penal philosophy. The fact that it also served as a refuge for the poorest citizens – a situation decried throughout the period – constitutes another important dimension of this institution…”

– Jean-Marie Fecteau, The Pauper’s Freedom. Translated by Peter Feldstein. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017. French edition 2004. pp.132-35.

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“Provincial Police In Aylmer Manhunt,” Ottawa Citizen. July 28, 1938. Page 04.

Chase Has Been One-Man Affair Up to Now, With Town Chief Doing All Work.

For the first time since the search has been on for Rene Longpre, Aylmer jailbreaker and fugitive from justice on a cattle rustling charge, the Quebec provincial police in the Hull district have been authorized to take part in the manhunt, The Citizen was informed today. There is a possibility that Eugene Decosse, chief of the provincial detachment in Hull, will enlist the aid of the Royal Canadian mounted police. He planned today to confer with officers of the criminal investigation bureau of the Mounted.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been reported as having participated in the search, but it was learned today that the force has taken no active part.

Ald. F. L. Pilgrim, chairman of the Aylmer police commission, said today that the hunt has been a ‘one-man’ hunt, with Chief Delbert Dumoulin of the Aylmer police doing all the hunting. With the provincial force ready to step in and the aid of the Mounted likely to be enlisted it is felt in official circles that Longpre’s freedom will be short. If he is caught he will be lodged in the county jail in Hull.

Insofar as the manhunt is concerned, the presence in Hull today of Col. P. A. Piuze, director of the Quebec provincial police, had no significance. The director is in hull arranging for the centralization of the Hull district detachment of the force.

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Hiding North of Aylmer Fired On, Makes Escape,” Ottawa
. July 25, 1938. Page 02.

Thought To Be Rene Longpre, Who Broke Jail, Gets Away Although Surrounded.

A man, believed by police to be Rene Longpre, 24-year-old resident of Aylmer
who escaped from the Aylmer jail while awaiting trial on a charge of cattle
rustling, was discovered hiding in a clump of bushes about two miles north of
Aylmer on Saturday evening, by a posse of 30 men, headed by Inspector Prevost
of the Quebec provincial police, Chief Delbert Dumoulin of Aylmer and Ald. F.
L. Pilgrim. The man managed to avoid capture, however, despite the firing of
three shots, two over his head, and one at him.

posse which had been conducting an active search in the Aylmer distirct, ever
since Longpre slugged Guard Fred Leon, over the head with a soft drink bottle
and made his escape, were in receipt of reports early Saturday afternoon that a
man answering Longpre’s description had been seen crossing the highway about
two miles from Aylmer.

Posse Surrounds Bush.
At once the members of the posse proceeded to the district where the wanted man
had been last seen and surrounded the heavy bush there. A group of the men were
detailed to stand watch around the bush while another group entered into the
thicket and carefully covered every foot of ground. As the search was
proceeding about seven o’clock, Ald. A. O. Routliffe, who was stationed on the
outskirts of the bush, spotted a young man slinking along a ditch by the side
of the road. The adlerman at once signaled to Inspector Prevost who, running to
the scene, shouted to the man to halt.

The man, hearing the shout, turned
and at once started to run away. The officer fired two shots over the head of
the running man, and, when no heed was taken to order to halt, Prevost fired a
shot at the legs of the man. Just as the third shot rang out, the man, believed
to be Longpre, fell and the officer, thinking he had been struck, raced up to
capture him. Before he could do this, however, the man rose to his feet and ran
into the heavy brush.

Signs of Blood
Other members of the posse, hearing the shot, at once centered on the point
where the man was last seen but despite a very careful search of the area, no
signs of him were found. A careful check of the spot where stumbled was made,
but no signs of blood were found on the ground and it is thought that the man
stumbled on the rough ground and the bullet missed him.

Officials pointed out that the man,
if Longpre as they believed, had somehow or other secured a change of clothing.
When he escaped he was wearing a pair of grey flannel pants. When seen on
Saturday night he was wearing a brown suit, complete.

When darkness fell on Saturday the
search was given up, only a few members of the posse remaining on duty guarding
the area.

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“Man Wanted for Cattle Rustling Beats Aylmer Jailer and Gets Away,” Ottawa Citizen. July 21, 1938. Page 01 & 2.

Rene Longre, 24, of Aylmer, Held for Ontario Police, Knocks Fred Leon, 35, Guard, Unconscious and Escapes.

Unmerciful Beating With Glass Bottle

Fire Siren Summons Posse Which Begins Search of Woods Under Chief Dumoulin.

Knocking the guard at the Aylmer jail unconscious by slugging him on the head with a soft drink bottle and then beating him unmercifully with his fists, Rene Longpre, 24, of Aylmer, wanted by Ontario provincial police for cattle rustling, made a successful escape from his cell at 3.30 o’clock this morning.

Despite an intensive search, which was launched immediately, no trace of the fugitive has yet been found.

The guard, Fred Leon, 35, if Aylmer, who is a volunteer fireman and special constable, received severe facial injuries. It is thought that after Longpre delivered the blow with the bottle he used his fists to beat the guard into unconsciousness.

Leon revived shortly after the attack and notified Chief Delbert Dumoulin, who was patrolling the main street near the town hall, in which the overnight cells are located.

Chief Summons Posse
The chief rang the fire siren bringing to the town hall about 25 men who, under the direction of the chief, began a search of the woods between Aulmer and Deschenes.

Ontario provincial police were notified of the break and asked to be on the look-out on the Ontario side of the Ottawa river.

Longpre is wanted for cattle-rustling in Carleton county and other places in the vicinity of Ottawa. He was picked up at nine o’clock last evening in Aylmer by Chief Dumoulin, who also arrested Romeo Gravelle, 35, of Aylmer, at the same time. Police believe Gravelle is also implicated in the cattle stealing. Gravelle did not escape as he was in another cell.

Some time before midnight, Longpre asked the guard to get him a hot dog and a soft drink. The guard complied with the request, but failed to remove the bottle after Longpre had finished drinking the contents. At 3.30 a.m., the prisoner asked permission to go the lavatory, and when guard opened the cell door, Longpre, who is a powerful man, struck Leon on the head with the bottle and beat him brutally.

He then made his escape through the rear door and across a field to the wooded section along the Ottawa river. He was in his bare feet as his shoes were found in the cell afterwrds, together with his hat and coat.

After the alarm summoned a group of 25 citizens Chief Dumoulin funished the men with a description of the fugitive and placed some of them at roads leading from the town. Others combed the bush and watched along the river front in case Longpre attempted to row or swim across the river to Ontario.

The bush, which is quite thick from Aylmer to Deschenes, was thoroughly searched but no trace of Longpre was found. He did not return to his home to get his automobile as two two men watched his house.

Chief Dumoulin belueves that the escaped prisoner is hiding in the bush as all roads leading from Aylmer have been closely watched. The Hull polcie were also notified. Unless Longpre crossed over to the Ontario side in the darkness, the Aylmer chief is confident that the man will be recaptured shortly.

Alderman F. L. Pilgrim, commissioner of police, was early on the scene and with two others patrolled roads in the Eardley section.

Severe Facial Injuries
The guard was given attention by Dr. J. P. Hudson and taken home. He has a cut over the right eye, a cut on the cheek and lips. None of the wounds is long or deep and they did not require stitches. Leon also has a lump on his head which it is thought he received when he fell to the floor. Dr. Hudson said an X-ray examination was going to be made to determine the exact extent of the injuries.

Chief Dumoulin was making his final rounds of the town for the town when the incident occurred. Leon was the only guard on duty.

Admitted Rustling
Chief Dumoulin told The Citizen that Longpre had admitted stealing catle from farms in the Ottawa district, including six sheep from the property of the Dominion Experimental Farm at Connaught Ranges; two steers from a farm at Woodlawn and two other steers from a farm at Munster. The animals were sold in Hull.

Longpre, according to Chief Dumoulin, had transported the sheep across the river in a boat, and had tied them in a field a short distance above Aylmer until he sold them. The Dominion Experimental Farm is near the shore of the Ottawa river and Longpre had only a short distance to bring the sheep.

He admitted the steers were brought to Hull in the rear seat of his sedan automobile. The legs of the steer were tied and the animal was put into the back seat of the car. Only one animal could be transported at a time, as they were quite large, some of them weighing around 400 pounds.

Longpre was dressed in a brown shirt and white trousers when he escaped. He is five feet ten inches in height, weights 150 pounds, fair complexion, blue eyes and clean shaven.

Leon, with his wife and family resides with his mother at the corner of Court and Center streets. He is the father of six children and has been a fireman and special constable for many years. He is employed at delivering wood and coal for an Aylmer man.                    

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“Guard Is Slugged By Prison Breaker,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 02.

Aylmer Posse Searching For Fugitive

AYLMER, Que., July 21 – (C.P.) A posse of 20 men under Police Chief Delbert Dumoulin today continued a search for Rene Longpre, 24, after the prisoner at the jail here slugged his guard over the head with a bottle and escaped.

Chief Dumoulin said his men had been scouring the countryside 10 miles west of Hull, since the jailbreaker at 3.30 a.m. today. Meanwhile the assaulted guard, Alfred Leon, 35, was being treated at his home for serious scalp wounds.

Leon was knocked unconscious from which a ginger ale bottle which the prisoner asked for in the middle of the night.

Longpre was arrested here last night by Dumoulin who said the man was wanted by Ontario police in connection with several cattle thefts in the South March and Stittsville districts in Carleton County.

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“Jailbreaker Was Captured,” Sudbury Star. January 18, 1919. Page 04.

“In police court at Chapleau on Monday Alphonse Cinq Mars was sentenced to six months at Burwash for burglary, but Alphonse has not yet arrived at Burwash. Instead he is on his way to Sudbury jail and will here answer a charge of jailbreaking.

Alphonse was given some extra privileges at Chapleau, owing to the fact that the town constable was ill and there was no fire in the jail. He was allowed to stay in the day room, and the guard over him was none too close. He took advantage of this and with an axe he pried the window bars loose and escaped. He was caught the next day in a lumber camp and taken back to Chapleau. This time he was placed safely behind the bars, cold or no cold. He will be placed on trial here.”

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“Easy Escape of Two Prisoners,” Toronto Star. November 30, 1908. Page 03.

Both of the Lindsay Men Should Have Been in the Central Prison, Toronto.


Took Half an Hour to Notify Them – Jumped a Ten-Foot Fence to Liberty.
Special to The Star.
Lindsay, Nov. 30 –  Neither of the two prisoners, Brooks and Fred Mallory, who escaped from the local jail on Saturday have been apprehended as yet. It was rumored yesterday that Mallory had been caught, but the rumor proved groundless.

The manner in which the jail-birds obtained their liberty was simple. The two, with another prisoner, were sawing wood in a yard outside the actual jail-yard, surrounded by a high board fence. Turnkey Andrews was in charge of the men and noticed Brooks and Mallory walking faster than usual around a corner into the yard where the wood was to be sawed. He went after them, and when he had turned the corner of the woodshed saw their heels disappearing over the fence, which is about ten feet high. He immediately set out in pursuit, but was unable to catch up with the men.

Both prisoners were in striped jail clothes at the time of their escape, but it is supposed they have long since procured ordinary clothes. They were last seen going through License Inspector Thornbury’s garden, and Mrs. Thornbury telephoned down street. This town, up-to-date in other ways, had no telephone at the police station and Chief Vincent was patrolling the streets sublimely unconscious of the prisoners’ escape for fully half an hour after they had made their exit.

The two men headed through a swamp for the railroad track, and have not been seen since. Brooks was sentenced to eighteen months in the Central for horse stealing, and had served a week in the local jail. Mallory was sentenced to the Central prison for two years minus one day for stealing a fur coat, and had served about eight months of his sentence here. Both were awaiting transfer to Toronto.

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“Boys Break Away from Elgin Jail; Make Dash for Liberty When Taken Out To Work; Hide In Woods,” Toronto Globe. May 30, 1919. Page 03.

“St. Thomas, May 29. – A daring escape from the Elgin County jail was effected this evening by Harry Froome and John Munshone, two youthful prisoners.  the boys took French leave of Turnkey Mills as he was taking them out to work on the Court House lawn.  Turnkey Mills turned to bring out a third prisoner and as he did so Froome and Munshone bolted down the road and over into the Mill Creek ravine that adjoins the county buildings.  A sarching [sic.] party was immediately instituted, but up until a late hour this evening the boys had not been apprehended.  It is believed that they are hidung in the woods in the ravine.

Froome is a local youth who was convicted Wednesday of burglarizing a cigar store, and sentenced to two years in the Reformatory.  Munshone comes from Harrisburg, Pa., and was serving a month’s sentence on conviction of gaining entry into a bonded railway car.  He was the youth who fell asleep in the sugar car on the Pere Marquette Railway in Buffalo and was locked in by the unsuspecting car checker.  He spent two and one-half days in the car before he reached this city and was captured.

A negro prisoner at the jail told the guards after the boys’ escape that he had heard them plotting Wednesday evening but had refused to accompany them on their bid for freedom.”

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