Posts Tagged ‘minister of prisons and reformatories’

“Young Punks Are Mixed With Hardened Thieves At Burwash: Ex-Guard,” Globe & Mail. July 10, 1948. Page 07.

Cartier, July 9 (Staff). – Reporting on sick parade, an inmate at Burwash Industrial Farm complained to his staff physician that he pains around the heart. ‘You are quite all right and fit for work,’ the doctor assured him, instructing the guard to escort him to his gang.

Less than half an hour later the man dropped dead, his body was taken to the CNR station in a coal dump-truck.

The Industrial Farm is supposed to be reserved for old offenders, yet around 7 per cent of those doing time there are 18-year-old punks on their first stretch. They are forced to associate with the hardest criminals in the province.

Every man who tries to escape is sentenced to 15 strokes of the strap, regardless of the circumstances or the temptation afforded to him, and the punishment is inflicted in two stages so that the mental torture is often as serve as the physical.

This and other charges were advanced today by Toronto-born James Alexander Smail, 27, a naval vet who went north because of the ‘attractive offers’ advertised by Burwash administration authorities.

He arrived at the tail end of a major riot last October, when 15 carloads of special police had to fire tear gas. He left April 19, and freely predicted to authorities that another riot was in the making. This broke more than a week ago and again tear gas was used.

Smail said that he was suspended without either an explanation or redress and that his appeals have been ignored both by the Department of Reform Institutions and the attorney-general.

Now employed in a railway roundhouse here, Smail said: ‘I am at least $1,500 out of pocket because I fell for that Burwash advertisement. I have done my best to place some vital grievance before the proper authorities, but I have been ignored all down the line.

‘I am still anxious to serve, but that is impossible under the present circumstances. And I do not speak for myself entirely. At least 1,000 other men have passed through the staff within the past year. The turnover is out of all proportion or reason.’

At present there are between 600 and 700 prisoners. In the old days there was one guard for every four inmates. Now the ratio has been almost doubled.

Smail said that he was offered an income of $120 a month and staff housing accommodation which he never received after eight months of service. With deductions for board of $19.50 a month, $5 for room, medical, laundry, dental fees and unemployed insurance his take-home pay dwindled to $87.14 a month. Out of that he had to support his wife, and two children, after renting a house for them in Burwash village, seven miles from the main camp.

‘They even nicked me 25 cents a day to ride to work in a government truck which was also used for transporting prisoners,’ Smail stated. ‘I understand the the inmates, however, rode free of charge.’

The room in which he slept at the farm was big, about 20 feet by 40, but it was also shared by from 10 to 15 other guards.

‘There was about a foot of space between each guard,’ he said. ‘Why even at sea in the navy we had more room.’

Last February Smail and 15 other guards enrolled at a special school of instruction authorized by George Dunbar, Minister of Reform Institutions. Smail topped the class in the final examination with 91 per cent. Few other guard ever broke the 90 mark. ‘And not many of those who did are still on the staff because they received no support in carrying out their instructions,’ he commented.

It was on the day of his dismissal that Smail, acting on instructions, participated in a ‘frisk’ of the 150 prisoners. This resulted in the discovery of live ammunition, knives, shivs or daggers and a considerable quantity of smuggled food, he says.

‘We had been instructed to be on the lookout for stuff like that,’ the former guard stated. ‘Yet when it was over I got the axe. The prisoners put up quite a beef, you see.’

‘An hour later I was told to report to the superintendent’s private office. He simply said: ‘Go home and we will call you in a day or so when this blows over. The prisoners are a little peeved.’ I went home free of charge that day in a staff truck, driven by an inmate with no guard accompanying.

‘Later, the superintendent sent work that I should see him at 8 p.m. at his home. When I got there I was told to sit down in a big leather chair and three senior officers started to quick me. I didn’t want to take abuse from them for doing my duty and I let them know that.

‘Acting Superintendent Brown said ‘I have been in touch with Toronto and on verbal instructions by telephone both you and a sergeant are to be dismissed.’ With that I left.’

Smail recalled two or three incidents where prisoners had been strapped for bolting from the farm under heartbreaking circumstances.

‘I know why one man tried to get away,’ he stated. ‘He received word of trouble at home. This prisoner was married and was a father. As soon as he was caught he was given the usual sentence – 15 strokes of the strap, and that is mandatory in such cases.

‘It was obvious even to his guards that he was in a frantic state of mind while at work and he should have been under strict supervision. Instead of that he was given opportunity to attempt to gain his freedom. And the temptation was too strong.

‘Now a strapping is not a pretty spectacle, I may assure you. The prisoner is hitched firmly to a post and there are steel bonds around his arms, his stomach and his feet. He is blindfolded and his shirt is pulled up to his blindfold.

‘The guard assigned to inflict the punishment has a strap about three feet long. He flails the man with it eight times and none of the strokes are gentle. It leaves the man black and blue.

‘After those eight strokes the man is bustled off to solitary confinement. He is stripped of his clothing, handed a nightgown and tossed into a cell. For the next seven days and nights he must lie on the cement floor – for there is no cot in solitary, you see.’

But another pathetic incident lingers in Smail’s mind. There was the day when a fresh load of ‘fish’ or new inmates arrived. Among them was a blond-haired lad of about 18. It was plain to all that he had never been in jail before. When he lined up for dinner, the kid picked up a tray, as he would in a city cafeteria, to collect his food. The old-timers just hold their plates out. Burwash is supposed to be the place for the old-timers, the guard pointed out.

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“Unrest at Industrial Farm – Burwash System Indicted by Salvation Officer,” Globe & Mail. July 8, 1948. Page 01 & 02.

Sudbury, July 7 (Staff). At the Salvation Army service in Burwash Industrial Farm, a man no longer may stand, right up before his fellow men and say that he wants to be saved. Some guards curse the prisoners with the eloquence of a mule skinner. Some prisoners, in turn, flaunt authority by tossing their beans on the floor with the same gusto and impunity as they shoot crap on a Sabbath afternoon.

Incidents such as these are common knowledge in the Nickel City where a year ago, Reforms Minister George Dunbar came by plane from Burwash, 26 miles south, to announce the dawn of a new era the down-and-outer, with variations, after inspecting the prisons of England. This was to out-Borstal the Borstal plan.

‘I remember and well,’ he said at that time, ‘when at a tender age I set fire to a styrawstack. My father and I knelt together that night in prayer for forgiveness. The next morning he got up and flailed the hell out of me – and I know how easy it is for one to go astray.’

Twelve months have passed since he made that statement. So have two riots, and the firing of an unknown number of tear gas shells and a statement from both the minister and Ralph Ayres, Burwash superintendent, that everything is under control. Also, two Burwash strawstacks – barns included – have been set aflame.

The barns were burned in the first riot last October when an attempt was made to shift the blame for the outbreak on some of the underlings. They had left Dolly Quentin, the Windsor bad man, to linger too long there upon his approaching discharge, it was claimed.

But now at Burwash there is no Dolly Quentin to blame and more trouble may occur at any moment.

If it does the minister may sit on the information for more than four days, as he did about the outbreak of June 28 when the beans were tossed on the floor. 

In a nutshell, the department is trying to put over a noble idea with a parsimonious spirit. First, the minister has C. H. Neelands, as his deputy, who, with the late Norman Oliver and two lumberjack prisoners in one common tent, started Burwash more than 30 years ago as an adventure in reformation.

Through the years, Mr. Neelands advanced in the public service. Weathering changes of government and policy, he has proved invaluable.

You could call Mr. Neelands about any little matter and he could give you an immediate answer. Today, when you ask Mr. Neelands, he answers, ‘Sorry, I know nothing.’

Then there is A. R. Virgin, superintendent of all of Mr. Dunbar’s institutions and also a capable executive.

Mr. Dunbar has answered complaints about the rapid turnover in his staff by saying, ‘This is a natural situation in Northern Ontario.’ He is trying to hire guards at a monthly salary of $154 with a promise of housing accommodation which came, in one case, after a service of four years. Any man with a pair of shoulders and a yen for work can double that in the nickel mines.

Two Toronto ex-servicemen, with good war records, joined the Burwash staff. They brought their wives to Sudbury and paid $50 a month rent. When they did not get their houses as promised, they resigned for economic reasons. After being accepted for other government jobs, they were suddenly tossed out. The reason they received was this: ‘You didn’t stick it at Burwash.’

About the only person in this area who will come out openly in criticism, however, is Major A. McEachern of the Salvation Army, who occasionally visits the farm in the absence of the regular Army chaplain. 

He said ‘the services are conducted in a most mechanical way, and that is not as it used to be. The co-operation from the staff has deteriorated. There was a time when we could talk to the men with confidence. And if we passed a suggestion along to the authorities, it was considered, but not today.

‘There is a feeling of mistrust among the staff and this in turn breeds a greater feeling of distrust among the inmates. They think that every hand raised in their direction is against them.

Our idea is that a man may be down, but he is never out. The official attitude is that he is always down and always out. Some years ago, when we held service we could invite a man to come to the altar and say his prayers. We can’t do that any more. We cannot ask a man either to stand or to come forward and declare himself. At the most, he is permitted to raise his hand. Should he make any other move, he would be suspected of causing a demonstration. The atmosphere is not normal, even for Burwash.’

Major McEachern, who has experience in many other institutions besides Burwash, said that the guards seem to be imbued with the idea a prisoner is nothing but  a crook and a scoundrel, and that he must be told that frequently

‘I doubt,’ he added, ‘that much is to be gained by calling him a wretch or a scoundrel. I have met some talented men in Burwash – Men I Know can be restored to society. We of the Salvation Army, being practical people, do not for a moment believe that the solution is by pampering. We do believe that there is a helpful medium, and it is through mutual confidence.

The last time I conducted a service there, a prisoner told me, ‘Let me thank you for the words of kindness. They are the first I have heard for a long, long time,’ and I know he spoke sincerely.’

On May 11, James A. Small, a former Burwash guard, now living in Cartier, a railway town 34 miles northwest, wrote a letter to Attorney-General Blackwell, which said in part:

‘I would like very much for your office to look into the straight and truthful facts regarding Burwash Industrial Farm. I was employed approximately eight months. I took two inmates to the doctor about eight weeks ago one morning under the influence of drugs. These men could hardly stand on their own feet, but no action was taken regarding the serious condition of these men.

‘While working in April, one night about 9 p.m., I uncovered the place that an escape inmate was hiding to my sergeant, who in turn notified the senior sergeant. They captured the escaped inmate at 9:15, in the same place. I informed them on Sunday, April 18. I was instructed to take 140 men from the cell block to the show. I returned with the inmates and then reported to my dormitory the men who had stayed in all Sunday afternoon.

‘As I returned to the dormitory, a big crap game was in progress. Approximately 50 men were around a table 12 feet long and three feet wide. As I opened the main gate, the game broke up and the inmates stood around. I was asked to leave the dormitory by this crap-shooting crowd of inmates. I informed them that there would be no crap game as long as I was on duty.

‘On Sunday, about 5:50pm, I called an inmate from D dormitory. I had been informed that he was carrying money in this crap game. I searched the inmate and found a two-dollar bill. The rest he had eaten or discarded. Monday morning, April 19, I reported for work at 3:30 a.m., and I did my duties as laid down by my sergeant. I found that books and papers were being brought in. I asked one guard what he knew about this stuff, and he went to the senior sergeant about 7:25 a.m. and reported that there was an enormous amount of contraband in B and C dormitories.

‘The sergeant then called another sergeant, and told him to give C and B dormitories a thorough search. On these orders, three men came over to the dormitories at 8:50 a.m. I was in my own dormitory when six officers walked in and told the inmates remaining indoors to line up. They searched the clothing of the inmates, who were then told to go to a dormitory downstairs while their beds and clothing were given a complete frisk.

‘We completed 240 beds and 960 blankets in two hours and 20 minutes. In this frisk we discovered knives, bullets, tea, sugar, ham, shoe polish, extra clothing, wire files, razor blades, toilet soaps and small bottles containing gasoline and chains. Seven pillow slips were turned in, three parts full of contraband.

‘When the inmates returned they were surprised to see a frisk had been pulled. The acting superintendent and another sergeant (he had ordered the search) walked in and started to apologize to the inmates. They were told that anything that was missing would be replaced to quiet things down. They were informed that the officers responsible for the frisk would be suspended.

‘On this, the inmates started to holler and complain about losing tobacco, sun glasses and false teeth. One inmate went as far as to tell the sergeant who had directed the search that he wasn’t going to make his bed again. The ones who messed it up could do this.

‘I was called out of my dormitory and told to report to the superintendent’s office by the sergeant who ordered the search. There, I was suspended by another sergeant.

‘Immediately I left for Toronto to find out why I had been suspended. I talked to Mr. Neelands, and he said he would let me know in a day or so. ON April 23, Mr. Neelands telephoned me at 10 a.m. and asked me about my intentions. I told him I would ask for a transfer to another camp as the rest of the officers who took part in the search were transferred.

‘He told me then that I wouldn’t be reinstated. I told him I would certainly find out why not. With this, he warned me what would happen if I went any further.’

‘….I would like to have thrashed out very soon as I have nothing to hide on my part, so would like to hear from you as I know that the industrial farm is not a reform institution but a big political farce.

‘As I write this, four inmates have just escaped. Two were caught on the Toronto-bound train with first-class tickets. Two more sawed their way out of the kitchen. None of them was missed for 10 hours.’

A policeman commented: ‘I helped o fire tear gas at those birds. They had hung up some wet blankets expecting we’d shoot. The abuse they heaped at us before the got the gas blasted my eardrums. Just the same, I have heard a guard curse at a prisoner as if he was worse than a dog. No human being, at Burwash or out, can stand for treatment like that.

‘The Borstal plan is sound and it calls for discipline on one hand and incentive on the other. But it can’t work under bulldozing or mollycoddling, and at Burwash today they go from one extreme to the other. There will be more trouble unless they get down to business. We’re sick of being called in to shoot the tear gas.’

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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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“Guards Use Tear Gas To End Burwash Riot Over Baked Beans Fare,” The Globe & Mail. July 3, 1948. Page 01.

After being suppressed for four days, news of another riot at Burwash Industrial Farm, leaked out yesterday and Reform Institutions Minister George Dunbar then revealed the uprising was due to complaints against the food. The trouble which occurred Monday night, was finally settled after three hours of violence when the guards hurled tear gas at the prisoners.

The riot was the second at the huge industrial prison in eight months. It followed by three days a similar outbreak at the Mercer Reformatory for females in Toronto which was brought under control by city and provincial police.

Just how many prisoners took part in the more recent Burwash rebellion could not be definitely determined. Superintendent Ralph Ayres, who took over after the riots last October, refused to give any information. One guard said 510 inmates had to be subdued after they smashed tables, dormitory windows and attempted to batter down the steel corridor gates. Deputy MInister C. F. Neelands, who like Supt. Ayres, was uncommunicative, would only say that the number involved was considerably that mentioned by the guard.

The violence is said to have started over baked beans served for supper. The prisoners housed in dormitories reportedly complained about the fare, but ate it. Then 165 men from the cells filed into the mess hall and began banging on the tables with cups and plates. This action stirred the 345 men in the dormitories to a demonstration of their own.

After three hours of rioting destruction tear gas was thrown at the prisoners and order was restored. Eighteen men have been singled out as the ringleaders and will be disciplined presumably by being strapped, or being placed in solitary confinement.

On top of all this, two prisoners, Leonard Erwin Staley, 29, Toronto, and Admiral Killingsworth, 32, Hamilton, escaped Thursday night and the body of another escapee, Wilson Broch, was found in Long Lake at Bayswater, 16 miles south of Burwash. Broch had been missing since June 19. He was from Hamilton.

Dr. Gillies Desmarais, coroner, said Broch’s death was due to drowning. George Waynott, Hamilton, who escaped with Broch is still at large.

Tear gas was used last October when 10 prisoners, led by Raymond (Dolly) Quinton, Windsor, were in control of the 7,000 acre farm for three days. This ‘committee’ of 10 issued orders to prisoners and guards alike and commandeered trucks. The guards claimed they were powerless to resist the prisoners until they received authority to use the gas.

Such authority was vested in them by an act of the legislature at the last session when the guards of all reform institutions were given the powers of police officers in handling prisoners.

Prof. Stuart Jaffray, who investigated the October riots, said they were caused by a breakdown in the administration system. He also remarked that the food could be improved. In that outbreak, some $3,000 damage was done to furniture and other property.

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“Hunger Strike On At Burwash Sudbury Report,” Toronto Star. July 3, 1948. Page 01.

Special to The Star
Sudbury, July 3 – Prisoners at Burwash reformatory are staging a hunger strike against the quality of food being served, it was learned her today. Officials refused comment and Supt. Ralph Ayers said ‘everything is normal.’

The hunger strike followed the riot staged in No. 2 dormitory, which contains cells and in which are kept the more hardened and what is regarded as habitual, criminals. It was learned there have been several other hunger strikes, some among small groups of prisoners, since the big riot of last October, when prisoners were virtually in control of the whole farm.

The riot started when a plate of cold beans served last Monday night was hurled at Supt. Ayers. He had come to the dining-room on demand of the prisoners who protested serving of the beans cold. Other prisoners who ate at an earlier sitting had hot beans.

C. F. Neelands, deputy minister of reform institutions, said he ‘had no comment’ on the reported hunger strike. A prisoner released Thursday said no one in No. 2 dormitory had eaten since Monday night except maybe a ‘few scabs.’ They were being ‘tonge-lashed’ for it, he said.

Tear gas was used to get the prisoners into the cells last Monday, Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions stated. Windows were smashed and considerable other damage done.

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“They Are ‘Boys,’ Not Prisoners,” Toronto Star. July 2, 1910. Page 01 & 07.

The New Provincial Prison Contrasted With The Old Central, The
One A Massive and Iron-Barred Structure, The Other a Great Farm Where
The Better Nature of the Prisoners Is Appealed To.

No Bars on…[Guards] Unarmed….tar….


Recreation, Farming…. Treatment…Tried

On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, Hon. W. J. Hanna….Secretary, entertained….of the Toronto papers….provincial Prison near Guelph…institution is the practical result of a scheme of prison….compares favorably with…up to the present time…prisoners do not live in cellblocks…wear striped clothes, nor have their hair cropped, nor are they burdened with any of the signs of incarceration which usually mark a prisoner.

The man who is at the [head of this] movement is Mr. Hanna.

The newspaper trio…the first time that…the press have been…prison property. Until…side knowledge of the…simply fragmentary…but…Hanna took his visitors….part of the grounds…whole of his scheme in operation.

About 800 Acres.
The property purchased for the site of the prison consists of about 800 acres, 2 1/3 miles east of Guelph and embraces several farms bought by the Government.

This land is varied in character. It may be divided into three sections. The centre will be used as the site of the permanent buildings, on account of its elevation and good drainage. There are numerous springs of good water, one of which will be sufficient to supply all the water needed. This section also furnishes good gravel and building sand. In addition there are several quarries, from which stone for hilly roads is being taken now, and dimension stone for building will soon be excavated. There is also an inexhaustible supply of limestone and a kiln is now being erected. The western section, over the River Speed, comprises over 300 acres of the prime agricultural land of Wellington County. Over 100 of these are now in crop, will cereal and vegetables, and are doing well.

To the east are pasture and bottom lands, with thousands of frame posts. This section when it is cleared will reveal a foot and a half of black loam on top, and clay beneath.

Not Called Convicts or Prisoners
This is the property on which ‘the boys’ are working, for that is the name always used by Mr. Hanna in speaking of the prisoners. The biggest undertaking at present is the excavating of stone and the building of a narrow-gauge railway to carry it to the site of the industrial buildings, which are to be erected this summer. There will be stone structures, 56 feet by 180 feet, and in them ‘the boys’ will work in the winter. A derrick is being placed in position to lift the stone to the cars of the miniature railway. All the work for this, as for the other undertakings, is being carried on by the prisoners themselves.

It is the intention that ultimately, after the buildings required are finished, the farm, including to the industrial buildings, farm buildings, administrative offices, etc., are completed that stone will be shipped for use by other Provincial institutions.

Building Roads.
The important work being carried on at present is the building of roads. They have Caesar beaten in every respect, declared Mr. Hanna, and, indeed, the ‘boys’ are making very respectable time and a great deal of good work has been made also in clearing way all the bush on the land at the front entrance of the institution and in various operations….

Minister Hanna special pride is in three subjects: a heard of Holstein cattle, 108 in all, which with the exception of four cows, will provide milk for the establishment, while the rest are yearlings. There are three heads of the milking gang.  Mr. Hanna took the party over the grounds, which are […] miles square, principally to see the Holsteins. They are certainly worthy of his admiration.

Dairying will be one of the chief occupations of the prisoners next summer. Hanna expected that in a couple of years they will be shipping a considerable amount per day of milk to the different Provincial Institutions, for instance, the General Hospital in Toronto.

In addition, the work carried out is the ordinary farm labour needed over 100 acres, as stated already, will provide fruits and vegetables from what is in crop now, and will be able to increase the numbers once the land cleared is extended to 200 acres or more next year.

Treatment for ‘the Boys.’
Over and above the interest in the land, however, are the prisoners themselves. It may be said safely that in this regard a r[….]gh the new Provincial Prison has been doing. It is so contrary to all previous notions to   see convicts, men who the public have thought of with a quivering shudder, living a healthy, comparatively free life in the open air, quite contented and   respectable.

There are at presents over 100 prisoners there. They are from the Central Prison; no one is sentenced directly to Guelph. The one qualification for the new institution is good behaviour in the old. It is not […]stion of the seriousness of the offence, for several men who are guilty of comparatively bad crimes are in Guelph, although, of course, there are some things which would disqualify a man altogether. The main point, however, is whether the man has made a good impression in Central. If he bears himself quietly and is a good worker, he will get to Guelph. There are no long term men, however, in the new prison, and a man is not sent until his sentence is well underway Most of the boys in Guelph have only three or four months to run, although there are a few with much longer. The idea of [restoring the lost…] privileges of the new scheme for short time men is obvious; there is clearly much less danger of a man attempting flight if he has only a short time to serve.

When a man is in on a first sentence or a fifth makes little difference. If he behaves at Central he goes to Guelph. Seveal of the ‘boys’ there have been in and out of prison for years and yet partake in this new system of trust.

The following is a sample list of offences for which some of the men in Guelph are serving terms: Theft, forgery, false utterences, blind pig operation, assault, taking.

No Bars on Windows.
The present headquarters are established in a large frame building of two storeys. There are no cells, and no bars. The windows are large and absolutely uncovered…. Here ‘the boys’ in the place where they sleep use a cot….

Most of the time, however, aside from those prisoners working in the working or those working in the industrial shops, are in the out of doors.

The nature of every day in prison life under the new prison system is an image of contrast with Central Prison, [with its] stone wall, four tiers [of cells], armed guards, lock step, solitary confinement in a cell behind iron bars, and [other]  features of ordinary prison life.

[At Guelph] the men are awakened …for breakfast at six…one it is too. On…the party was up this […] menu for the boys.

…bacon., fried potatoes – lots of butter…..

…[the dining hall] is large and airy, each of the tables covered …. the food is volumnmous and the manners are surprising….anything he wants…matters for the…much better than the Central Prison, meal…behind…ever …[the rest of this paragraph is really difficult to parse]

The menu [for lunch] is beef, beans, muttons, and quite substantial, for the amount of work is great….at 5 o’clock, the supper meal is served…cold roast, black bread, and….[illegible]

They Play Baseball
From tea until bedtime, the prisoners are free to do as they please, within reason. The preffered sport is baseball…some games of it get very competiive…the party witnessed the boys at play, and the game one of the highlights of the trip. It was carried on with the greatest of order…The men finished their game in good spirits, with no one objecting to the return to their bed…and no rowdyism…could show many of us a thing or two about baseball…and the players in many ways…are the equal of those who play in Toronto every Saturday.

[…this paragraph is kind of a confusing anecdote…]

These are but a sample of the remarks handed out by ‘Slim.’ He would roll around in the grass in sheer ecstasy, and his joy was contagious. Altogether it was a happy lively bunch of ball players and spectators.

At 8:30 p.m. Sergeant Lyon’s whistle blew, and at once everybody stopped, and the men lined up for the muster. The roll call was heard, none were missing, and the men dispersed into the building – not in lock step, but as they pleased to go. By 9 o’clock all was still.

‘Come in and see the boys in bed’ said Mr. Hanna, as he conducted his visitors to the dormitories. There were two occupied that night, long high ceilinged airy rooms, with over 40 beds in each. Every man was quiet, and apparently quite satisfied. Along the sides of the room were copies of magazines, which some good friends had sent.

To Reform Them.
Mr. Hanna is most enthusiastic about the scheme. ‘We are treating them like men,’ he said, ‘and they are responding splendidly. They are kept in good condition physically and mentally. When they go out, they are much more likely to become good citizens than if they had been shut up in a cell for several months, and treated as dangerous animals.

‘Of course, make no mistake about this. We are not condoning their misdeeds at all, but now that they have done wrong, we are trying to help them, so that when they are released they will not fall back again.

‘As far as the economic end of it is concerned, it will be a great gain for the province. There will be great productiveness here in cereals, milk, crushed and dimension stone, etc.’

Mr. Hanna’s enthusiasm is well justified, the results from three month’s work (for it was only on April 11 that the first men were taken from Central Prison to Guelph) are most encouraging. As for Mr. Hanna himself, ‘the boys’ have nothing but praise. Whenever he meets any of them, he speaks to them as a friend.

Only Two Were Lazy.
Sergeant Lyons also is optimistic about the new scheme.

‘It is a very heavy responsibility for me, I admit,’ he said, ‘but everything has been satifactory.’ When I came up, I saw that I must be a leader of the men. I played ball with them, worked with them, and showed sympathy all the time.

‘Only two men have had to be sent back to Central. They were too lazy to work, and might have demoralized the rest.’ Some of the officials, in fun, call the institution, ‘The Country Club, cuisine unexelled.’  This is only a joke, however. ‘It is certainly no summer resort,’ said the Sergeant. ‘The men are prisoners, and they have to work hard. They have been very decent, however, and I have no complaint. I have been in prison work for 32 years, and have never lost a man yet, and I certainly hope that I won’t lose one here. There are some interesting stories told by the prisoners. One of them was in on an 18-month sentence for stealing suits of clothes. Another for eight months for forging a check for $25. The latter was a particularly patheic case. He was a young man who had married before he was in a position to support a wife, and had forged this check to get some money. Another man had sixteen months for stealing some coal screenings.

The latter case seemed to interest Mr. Hana especially. At dinner he asked the man who was waiting on the visitor’s table, to tell the whole story. He seemed to be much interested, and to thank that the magistrate’s decision in the had case had been too severe.

Several of the men have appealed to the federal Minister of Justice for a reconsideration of their sentence, and this has brought up the question of a Provincial Pardon Board, which would meat in the Guelph Prison, hear the applications of the men, and in deserving cases shorten the sentence.

But Not A Popular Life.
It spite of all the advantages of the new prison, in spite of the comparatively nice life which the men lead, there is a certain undertone of sadness and wistfulness in many of the faces, which makes the visitor realize that there is no danger that prison life, even of this kind, ever will become popular and that men will want to enter it, however well treated they may have been, they are under supervision, they cannot leave the grounds, in short, they are prisoners. The public need have no fear on this score.

It is a new scheme. As early a February 26, 1907, Hon. W. J. Hanna made a speech in the Legislature, which outlined the essential features of the scheme now in operation. He traced the progress of prison reform, from the time ‘when society dealt with its crimes as a class only to be punished, and if necessary, exterminated.’

He pointed out the gradual amelioration of their condition, until the era of productive labor as at the Central. Here, however, there was not only the conflict between organized and prison labor, but also the health of the prisoners was not helped by their close confinement.

Helps Him On Discharge.
‘Any system adopted,’ says the speech, ‘should be one which will enable the prisoner to earn an honest livelihood on his discharge, and should turn him out in a fit physical condition to do a day’s work. Would the farm be the proper solution here?…Properly directed, how far could this farm go towards giving employment to these prisoners? How far would it go towards maintaining the prison, and maintaining other public institutions of the Province in this city, with the growth of the farm?

In the short term of the sentences,…away the inducements to escape…before the long term man….whould he escape to? To the…..They don’t want him. If …anxious enough to get him…could get him.’

…[the rest are fragments.]

Photo Captions:

1) Tiers of Cells In Central Prison, Toronto. Contrast with Wide Fields of the Provincial Prison, Guelph

2) Hon. W. J. Hanna, and One Of His Favorite Heards of Holsteins At the Provincial Prison, Guelph

3) Sergeant Lyons, Who As Deputy to Warden Gilmour, Is In Charge of the New Provincial Prison, Guelph

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“Burwash Guards Use Tear Gas,” Toronto Star. July 2, 1948. Page 01.


Sudbury, Ont., July 2 (CP) – Tear gas was used by guards to quell a riot in Burwash industrial farm last Monday night, it was revealed today. Hundreds of panes of window glass were broken in the dormitory and several tables were smashed.

The riot was reported to have centered in Camp 2, largest camp which serves as headquarters for the arm. About 225 prisoners were involved, but there was no trouble at the jail farm’s other two camps.

It is understand that the spark for the outbreak was set off over a protest about the quality of food being served.

Had Trouble Last Fall
The same jail farm was the scene of a major riot last fall when prisoners objected to their meals and general living conditions. An investigation was made by a board appointed by the department of reform institutions.

It was reported that last Monday’s riot broke ot when a guard slapped a piece of butter forcefully on a slice of pie and it splashed over the arm of a prisoner. After remonstrating the guard, the prisoner threw his pie on the floor and was removed from the dining hall.

Guards were reinforced and the prisoners were ordered to return to their cell block. When police surrounded the dormitories carrying rifles and tear gas occupants kicked out windows and pounded steel grills with heavy 12-foot tables.

The demonstration lasted almost three hours and tear gas was thrown in ‘B,’ ‘C’ and ‘D’ dormitories.

Farm officials said today normal routine has been resumed but a field day, scheduled for Thursday, has been cancelled. Eight men were placed in solitary confinement. Superintendent Ralph Ayers said there has been tension at the farm for the past two weeks.

‘I can’t understand what is back of it all,’ he said. ‘We feel we may have been treating the inmates better this part winter, and have given them every consideration in their complaints up to now. There was no reason for this outbreak.’

Escapees Identified
Special to The Star
Burwash, July 2 – Two prisoners escaped from Burwash Industrial farm here last night after Monday’s riot.

They are: Leonard Erwin Staley, 28, of George St., sentenced to two years in Toronto, July 30, 1947, and Admiral Killingworth, 32, of Hamilton, sentenced to two years on Aug. 16, 1947.

The two escaped men, the minister of reform institutions reported at his office in Toronto today, ‘just walked off during a sports program on the grounds. Yesterday was a holiday and there were sports events held in the afternoon.’

He said ‘they won’t get very far. The black flies will probably drive them back.’

Recall Mercer Trouble
The Burwash riot was a repetition of the uprising at Mercer Reformatory for women in Toronto 10 days ago.

About 100 city policeman, were rushed to the building on King St. to try to restore order. Two of the officers were injured so badly they required hospital treatment. Det.-Sergt. Welsford had his wrist fractured with a baseball bat and will be off duty for five weeks, police said.

The women ringleaders were eventually locked in cells and given only weak tea and bread when they refused to stop their yelling and screaming. Their shoes were taken from them.

Dunbar Tells of Riot
The riot started Monday night during supper hour, Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions reported today.

‘A hothead in the dining room threw his supper on the floor,’ the minister said. ‘The guards immediately hustled him out, His friends started a rumbling in the dining room but took no action.

‘The next day, Tuesday, it rained all day and some of the men locked themselves in their dormitories and didn’t come down to eat breakfast. Guards threw tear gas into the block and everything quieted down,’ he said.

Mr. Dunbar said the disturbance occurred at Camp No. 2, where there are 156 cells. ‘The riot didn’t spread to any other camp,’ he added. ‘There was lots of noise, but no action was taken by the prisoners. It’s all over now.’

This is the first time tear gas has been used by Burwash guards since they were given the powers of police officers, officials said. A bill introduced by the attorney-general and passed at the last session of the legislature, gave them this power as well as that of being armed and making arrests.

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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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“‘Siege for Days’ Seen in Mercer After Riot, Girls Scream Defiance,” Toronto Star. June 26, 1948. Page 01.

‘A state of siege that may last several days’ has developed inside Mercer Reformatory between police and guards and almost 100 women inmates who have been locked in their cells since a major riot Friday, Inspector Herb Harrison said today. More than 24 hours after the uprising, city and provincial police are still on duty as the belligerent women continue to yell and scream defiance at authorities, he said.

Friday more than 100 policemen were rushed to the old King St. W. institution when teh riot broke out during breakfast. At least two policemen were hospitalized, but have since returned to their homes. Det. Sergt. Sam Welsford had a wrist broken when he was clubbed with a baseball bat.

Toss Food Back
After struggling against clubs, fire hoses and innumerable missiles thrown at them, police and women attendants succeeded in locking the most serious offenders in the cell blocks.

When they continued to shout and break windows, their shoes were taken from them. Late last night and continuing through until late this morning, the prisoners kept up their shouting and swearing.

‘Food has had to be carried to them and everyone has been fed, although some just tossed it back out again,’ one official said.

To relieve city and provincial police now stationed within the building to check further disturbances, 15 male guards from the Ontario reformatory at Guelph are being brought to Toronto.

A. R. Virgin, provincial director of reform institutions, could not be reached this morning. His secretary said ‘he was too busy to talk.’

‘Tire Them Out’
Late this morning almost a score of city police and provincial officers were stationed in the building.

‘It looks as if it will be a matter of tiring them out,’ one official said. ‘They have shown no inclination to want to obey the regulations.’

Parcels addressed to inmates and brought to the buildings by the post-office department were being refused, it was learned.

A uniformed policeman patrolling the west wing near the kitchen was met with jeers and shouts of ‘There goes the law,’ every time he passed the windows.

Close to midnight last night, Chief John Chisholm and Inspector of Detectives Archie McCathie visited the reformatory, and left word that city police would stand guard until provincial authorities could muster enough men to take over.

While it is believed some punishments will be meted out to those taking part in the disturbance, provincial officials would not comment. They said a complete investigation must be held.

Under the reformatory act, the authorities have some powers to administer punishment but major penalties can only be applied by bringing accused before courts.

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“100 In Mercer Riot, Club Police,” Toronto Star. June 25, 1948. Page 01 & 02.

Scratch, Kick, Scream – Girls Hurt 3 Officers With Hose, Chair Legs

One hundred screaming women, wielding scores of chair legs, battled with police for half an hour today before a riot was put down at Mercer reformatory. Three policemen were hurt and several thousand dollars in damages was done before the riot that started with a sit-down strike [was over]. 

Scratching and kicking, the women were carried into their cells by police. Even after they were locked up they continued to scream.

An attempted mass escape was foiled by arrival of police, it was attested. A number of women were breaking down a back door to get out when first reinforcements arrived, Sergt. of Detectives William McAllister said.

About 100 police were required to quell the disturbance, which was said to be one of the worst in the history of the old institution.

One officer was hit with a baseball bat and another struck on the head as dished were hurled about the dining-room which was left a shambles.

The girls seized fire hoses and soaked the police who rushed into the building in answer to the riot call. Chief Constable Chisolm sent every available officer to the institution. Long after the actual riot ceased the girls were screaming at the top of their voices.

Prisoners charged two inmates were pushed down the steps by matrons. Expectant mothers in the institution were harshly dealt with, one girl prisoner told a reporter through a window as police ringed the building.

At 1:20pm, the girls were still shouting and screaming in their cells.

Rush 30 Cruisers
Police said there isn’t a whole dish in the place. They were hurled out the windows when the riot started in the dining room. The prisoners are said to have demanded the release of a girl, a favorite among them, from solitary confinement.

When their demands were refused by the superintendent, they refused to go to the factory. A sit-down strike started, police said, and when matrons attempted to break it up, the fighting began.

One of the first offenders to arrive, Det.-Sergt. Sam Welsford was the target of swinging chairs. He was warding off the blows with his arms when one of the girls who had a baseball bat struck him on the arm.

Taken to Hospital
Det.-Sergt. Arthur H. Keay was struck on the side of the head by a cup. He required medical treatment at the prison hospital. Sergt. Welsford was taken to hospital for x-ray and it was found he had a broken wrist.

Police sent 30 cruisers with instructions to pick up every available officer on the way to put down the trouble.The girls broke several windows in the east wing of the building and sang and shouted in profane language.

Fifteen provincial police were sent to assist Toronto police and the prisoners were finally herded into their cells. They continued to scream and shout long afterward. Work was called off for the day.

Miss Jean Milne, the superintendent, was bitten when removing a girl from the dining room at supper time last night. The girl was put in solitary. During the night the prisoners decided to riot if their demands that girl be removed from solitary confinement were not met.

Traffic Officer J. Masters was struck in the eye by a cup hurled from the cells by one woman but did not require hospital treatment.

The prisoners armed themselves with legs of chairs. Not a chair was left with a leg on, police said, as the women roamed through the dining-room and corridors, smashing windows. The halls were running with water from fire hoses.

Keay. Welsford and Det. Sergt. Angus Taylor were bruised as they warded off blows from chair legs.

Welsford and Keay were at the bottom of a heap of women who were kicking them. Keay was first to go down and Welsford tumbled on top of him and then all the women piled on top.

‘It was just like being at the bottom in a rugby tackle,’ said Keay at Toronto General Hospital, where six stitches were put in his head.

The reformatory was surrounded to prevent any possible escape, police said. There hasn’t been any trouble at Mercer reformatory for more than 10 years, police said.

A member of the superintendent’s staff said: ‘The trouble is pretty well over and the situation is under control.’

Asked if the girls had staged a sitdown strike, she said: ‘Something like that.’

The staff doctor said no girls were hurt, but said all further details would have to come from Queen’s Park.

At the reformatory, a woman who answered the telephone said the superintendent ‘is very busy right now. I can’t tell you anything.’

Prisoners at Mercer, who come from all over Ontario, mostly do laundry work and dressmaking.

May Face Charges
A. R. Virgin, director of reform institutions and Chief Inspector Robert Anderson who was in charge of the police detail conferred in the office of the superintendent after the trouble had been put down. It was said likely some of the ringleaders would face charges.


Photo captions from left to right: 
1) RIOTING WOMEN INMATES at Mercer Reformatory squirt stream from fire hose through barred windows at squads of police outside. Some officers were injured as 100 police put down riot. One was hit with a baseball bat, one by a flying dish. 

2) 30 POLICE CRUISERS rushed to reformatory and officers were soaked by fire hoses, hit with chair legs in hands of screaming women as they rushed into building. One hundred women, scratching and kicking, had to be carried back to cells after the fight

3) SEVERAL THOUSAND dollars damage was done, including broken windows, in riot that started with sit-down strike. Girls tried to break down door to freedom, charged prisoners had received harsh treatment.

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“Guards Drunk and Lax with Guns, Riot Probe Raps Staff, Queen’s PK.,” Toronto Star. March 10, 1948. Page 01.

Improper administration and laxness among the staff were blamed for the Burwash Industrial Farm riots last October in a report tabled in the Ontario legislature yesterday. Drunkenness and careless handling of firearms by guards were referred to by the commissioner who made the report, Dr. Stuart K. Jaffary.

He said responsibility for the disturbance ‘is clearly on the administration and not on the inmates.’

Neglect and confusion in the provincial parole system was also severely criticized. Referring to the courts which impose sentences and the parole board which carried them out, Dr. Jaffary said: ‘There is no understanding between these two branches of the provincial government, and no basis for common and uniform policy.’

The report urged that the department of reform institutions, with the co-operation of the attorney-general, call a conference of magistrates to clear up matters of law and procedure.

It recommended the chief parole officer, Capt. George M. Dix, who is also chairman of the parole board, be made ‘an official of the board’ instead, to separate judicial and administrative functions.

Prof. Jaffary recommended increasing the number of parole officers for the province from two to at least five, with a sixth to act as chief parole officer.

He also urged that inmates be given more information concering the oeprations of the parole board and that the procedure of parole board hearings be improved.

‘The present procedure,’ the report states, ‘gives the applicant no preparation for his appearance; the hearing is often brief and summary; he leaves the hearing with little or no view to the outcome. The board has many cases to deal with, but the very heart of its work lies in the fair hearing of the applicant. It needs more time, better preparation and more dignity.

Dr. Jaffary said the causes of the outbreak were mainly dissatisfaction with food and housing, long hours of work and lack of recreation and medical care. He praised the conduct of prisoners during the disturbances and the ‘degree of responsibility’ exercised by them when they took over control.

Thirteen recommendations toward improving the administration and conditions at the industrial farm were given to Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions in the Drew cabinet.

The department was specficialyy blamed for several lapses in administration. The minister told the Legislature Friday he had not yet recieved the report. Dr. Jaffary later said the report had been turned in for a month and at the request of C. F. Neelands, deputy minister, ‘some changes’ were being made.

Recommendations in the report state: ‘The staff needs strengthing at top and bottom by the addition of assistant superintendents, a psychologist, dietitian (for the department) and better guard staff with training.

Better classification is required, separating the young offender, occassional offenders, the professional criminal, the drug addict and others.

‘The work board needs to be made effective and the method of work assignments improved.

‘Discipline and punishment had become too frequent and too mechanical. The situation can be improved by better procedures and improved quality of guard. The rules should be revised and both the number of charges and punishments reduced.

‘Escapes,’ continued the report, ‘have been given more attention by the press than their importance merits, perhaps due to their dramatic interest. Because of the open nature of the institution, escape is relatively easy and also relatively unimportant. The number can probably be reduced by better knowledge of inmates and by some administrative devices and changes.

‘The use of firearms, which at times has become careless and undirected, must be controlled by careful instruction and restriction,’ says the report. ‘Facilities for communications, both internal and external, are weak and vulnerable and require strengthening.

‘Medical care was generally satisfactory but trouble occurred both over access to it and the powers of the medical officer. The position and powers of the medical officer need clear understanding by all staff. A full-time dentist should be employed. Tobacco issue should be allowed in milk-diet cases.

‘Food can be improved by more careful dietary, better training and supervision of chefs and adequate kitchen equipment,’ it states. ‘Improvements can be made with respect to towels, blankets, and clothing issue.

‘Major issues are raised as to the plant and equipment because of the location of the institution and the temporary character of much of the plant. A number of small changes are immediately possible, larger ones will depend on a decision to continue the institution on a permanent basis.

‘The education and training part of the program, recently started, needs expansion through space, staff and equipment. Informal trade training needs development.

‘The institutional library needs building from the ground up.

‘Recreation, though recently introduced, has clearly proved its value and needs expansion through personnel, space and equipment to permit more extensive use and more varied program.

‘A large opportunity exists for counselling and chaplain services. This works needs careful planning and choice of staff.

‘The responsibility for rehabilitation (after discharge) has not been clearly accepted by the department, but it is doing it in bits and pieces. To be effective it needs careful planning and steady extension,’ the report continued.

‘The civilian community has been dominated by camp two and needs attention to its physical planning, its commercial services and its recreation.

‘Research is essential for the intelligent and effective operation of the department. Reform requires knowledge; knowledge can be obtained through research.’

Dr. Jaffary, who arrived at Burwash while the inmates were still in control, and personally interviewed 211 of them, reported: ‘The pressure for this explosion had been building up for some time, but particularly for the past two years. The underlying causes are several and interrelated.

‘A number of internal factors have produced irritations to the inmates. These irritations have not been relieved but rather have been cumulative until the pressure became potentially explosive.

‘Extreme irritation and resentment is produced by the operation of the indeterminate sentence, and the administration at Burwash of the Ontario parole board. The guard staff has deteriorated seriously in the war and post-war years. Turnover among guard staff has been high and a number are of poor quality. There has been an absence of training and there is a marked lack of discipline and morale.

‘There has been a gradual weakening of administration under the previous superintendent, which goes back two years,’ he states. ‘In part it is due to the extremely difficult operating conditions of the war and post-war years. Another part is due to the heavy administrative load the superintendent has had to carry in Burwash, which piled up on him and finally clogged the administrative process to the danger point.

‘Because of this condition, the superintendent and acting superintendent at Burwash did not sufficiently appreciate the seriousness of the conditions until the trouble occurred. For the same reasons they failed to full inform senior officials of the department, who did not have a clear picture of what was occurring at Burwash.

Dr. Jaffary continued: ‘Part of the guard staff there had been unsatisfactory, moral was low and discipline lacking. In July there had been a disturbance which resulted in minor damage – ‘guard trouble’ was a factor at this time. Sept. 12 there had been a shooting incident, the result of carelessness of a guard with firearms, which greatly increased tension and resentment among the inmates. This incident was not reported by the acting-sergeant in charge.

‘On the week-end of September 27 certain staff had been drunk on duty (including the same acting-sergeant). The stage was set for trouble – there was tension among the inmates and lack of discipline in the guard staff.’

Placing responsibility for the disturbance on the administration, Dr. Jaffary stated: ‘True, there were certain troublemakers among the inmates, as in every penal institution. But the reason they could be bothersome was that reasons for complaint existed which they could exploit. With good administration their effectiveness would have been minimized.

‘The responsibility must be shared by the previous superintendent, under whose administration it took place, and by the department of reform institutions. The superintendent was a hard-working and loyal official, but has felt the load too heavy for him and asked to be removed. He was not in good health during 1947. The impossibly heavy administrative load is the inevitable result of the failure of Ontario governments (the present government and previous governments) to provide sufficient senior administrative staff.

‘Prison administration has been looked on as a low estate. The senior officals of the department have constantly pressed for more administrative staff, with little success until very recently. Had such staff been available this affair would probably not have occurred. In this sense it is chargeable to narrow ‘economy’ policies in the past, which failed to provide sufficient staff for proper operation of these large institutions.

‘Consistent with this finding it is fruitless to try and identity ‘ringleaders among the inmates,’ he continued. They were given responsibility almost by default. There was no plot or planning worth the name. The most remarkable feature of the whole situation is the degree of responsibility exercised by the inmates when power came to them. They maintained essential services, and older heads restrained younger and more excitable ones. Under these circumstances the administration might well extend credit, if not thanks. Punishment is clearly excluded, and this decision should be made clear to inmates and guards alike.

Dealing with parole, Dr. Jaffary reported: ‘Complaints against the parole board were frequent and bitter, the operation of parole was clearly a matter of sharp frustration to many inmates. While all the criticism was directed at the parole board, some of it refers to the parole situation itself, and the conflict between courts and parole board, of which the inmate becomes the victim.

‘A second part is directed at the board itself and its method of conducting hearings. A third part refers to the lack of information about parole and the resulting confusion – the inmate cannot find out ‘where he’s at,’ and what he can do about it. Through it all runs the confusion, on the part of inmate and board alike, as to the operation of ticket-of-leave by the remission branch. The whole operation of parole is confused and conflicting. This confusion breeds a large amount of frustration and bitterness in the men at Burwash.

‘This resentment against the operation of parole is centred at Burwash because it has the older offenders. Many of these have previous convictions and as a result are refused parole for this reason.

‘Of every three applications for parole at Burwash, only one is granted, two are refused. This large proportion of refusals may be justified, but it creates the bitterest resentment. Those inmates refused parole are given no reason; they merely receive a curt letter from the board a day or two following the hearing which says, ‘No action.’ As a result of this blunt practice, the inmate is left in ignorance of the reasons for denial in his case, or approval in his neighbor`s. Resentment is sharp, stories and ugly rumors circulate freely and the board is viewed with distrust, cynicism and contempt. This is a most serious condition, which needs immediate correction

`These conflicts are deep rooted, and the trouble is of long standing. They are deep-rooted for two reasons. The first is a conflict of judicial and administrative branches of government. The courts impose the sentence; the parole board (acting as a quasi-judicial body) carries it out.

‘There is no understanding between these two branches of the provincial government, and no basis for common and uniform policy. Nor does it appear that any attempt has been made to get one, despite all the trouble and resentment accumulating from the lack of it. The inmate has been the victim. This policy of neglect, in turn, has made the department itself the victim (as was inevitable) by such explosions as these riots.

‘The area of conflict is extended by the fact that parole board acts for the (dominion) remissions branch in Ontario reform institutions on applications for ticket-of-leave. The policy of remissions branch is obscure and confused and its action slow; the natural resentment against those confusions and delays also reacts on the parole board.’

Dr. Jaffary declared charges that institutions of the Borstal system at the industrial farm were responsible for the trouble were ‘ridiculous.’ He added:

‘There is no Borstal at Burwash. Borstal is the title applied to a well-defined English method of treatment of selected young offenders by a long period of graded institutional training, followed by rehabilitation services in the community. Burwash was a custodial institution, housing men over 21, and with a uniform custodial practice. The differences could hardly be sharper.

‘The Borstal system has worked well in England, and its good name is known the world over. Those newspapers which hastened to condemn it on the basis of ignorant statements about the Burwash trouble should now in fairness to Borstal and themselves correct their earlier misleading statements.

‘There is the largest need for explanation and understanding of Borstal in Canada; one province (British Columbia) has recently re-opened an institution along Borstal lines. The Royal Commission (1938) recommended the adoption of the Borstal system for youths in Canada. To date, however, Borstal has not appreciably affected Canadian practice. In Ontario, the selection of suitable young offenders for trade training is now being practiced.’

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“Prisoners to Build Highway Link – Ontario To Use Convict
Labor To Build Road,” The Globe and Mail. October 24, 1939. Pages 03
& 20.

Three Camps of 100 Men Each Planned on Long Lac Section


Faced with the problem of abnormal congestion in the prison system, the Ontario
government will immediately establish three camps housing 100 men each, near
Long Lac, on the projected line of the uncompleted 112-mile section of the
Trans-Canada Highway between Geraldton and Hearst, Premier Hepburn announced

The decision to employ prison labor on the highway
construction work was made only after Ottawa refused the Ontario government’s
proposal to relieve congestion by enlisting in the army 560 short-term prisoners.
Hon. Harry Nixon, Provincial Secretary, revealed yesterday that 821 inmates of
the specified classification, men convicted of misdemeanours, rather than
crimes, had volunteered for enlistment and that 623 had been recommended by
reformatory superintendents.

In announcing the highway construction program, both the
Premier and Mr. Nixon stressed that congestion in the reformatories was caused
directly by the Government’s presentation to defense authorities of the new St.
Thomas mental hospital for air force training purposes.  In order to relieve the population strain on
mental hospitals by the transfer of the St. Thomas institution, prisoners at
the Jail Farm near Langstaff were moved to Mimico and Guelph Reformatories and
the farm became a mental hospital for male patients.

The highway construction plan, added the Premier, was almost
identical to the Government’s proposal to Ottawa to employ interned enemy
aliens for highway building. The suggestion, which was refused, carried with it
an offer to accept full responsibility for the maintenance of the internment

Provincial Secretary Nixon said both Canadian and Provincial statutes permitted
the use of prisoners in road construction, and that the first road work was
done in 1910, when a forty-mile right of way was cut from the T. & N. O.
Railway to the Porcupine gold camp. Road work was also done by prison labor,
subsequently, in the Burwash Reformatory area.

He said there was no problem in transportation, as Burwash and Long Lac were on
the same rail line. ‘This may be regarded as only a start in the program, if it
is successful,’ he said. ‘This year the work will be limited to three camps,
and it will take the entire season to clear the right-of-way, and to stump and
ditch it.’

Camps Cost $5,000
The plan was developed in close collaboration with the Department of
Highways. R. M. Smith, Deputy Minister of Highways, in a report, said the
Geraldton-Hearst link passed through comparatively level country, where
construction costs would not be excessive. He estimated that the completion of
the 112 miles’ stretch to the gravel stage should not exceed $5,000,000. The
camp, by agreement, are to be built by the Highways Department at points five,
thirteen, and twenty-one miles east of Long Lac.

Each camp, to cost an estimated $5,000, is to be constructed so that they may
be used later for tourist accommodation. Mr. Smith held also that completion of
this stretch would open ‘another mining area, which has already proven itself.’
and he named the Nipigon-Beardmore road as ‘one of the most picturesque
sections in the Province.’

Men Prefer Camps
‘An added factor in the decision to employ prisoners in the road project has
been the closing down of the brick and tile industry at the Mimico Reformatory
because of the lack of market, and because the Government, due to the war, is
not constructing new buildings.

C. F. Neelands, Deputy Provincial Secretary, advised: ‘It
has been our experience that the majority of the prisoners  prefer the comparative freedom of a road
camp, with the restricted conveniences, to the main institution, with its high
custodial restrictions and its greater comfort.’

He reported there were 1,570 prisoners in the Guelph and Mimico Reformatories
and at the Burwash Industrial Farm who are serving terms of three months or
longer. In addition, there were 200 prisoners of this category in the jails.

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Inmates Have Knives, Burwash Guards Disarmed,” Toronto
October 7, 1947. Page 05.

to The Star
Oct. 7 – Two score prisoners dug potatoes at Burwash yesterday as
armed guards looked on, but for the most part work was at a
standstill. There was still a feeling of uneasiness among officials
who would not go beyond a ‘hope’ that troube was now over.

Six guards with rifles stood in a circle well back of the potato
diggers while there were other guards closer to them. When conditions
in the prison are normal, one guard is assigned to 25 to 30

The few working in the potato field were the only ones among more
than 700 prisoners in the jail assigned to work. This apparently was
the basis of an official statement from the superintendent’s office
that prisoners were again at work. No estimate of the number turned
out in the morning could be official learned but between 35 and 40
were counted. Prisoners are said to be still defiant despite presence
of provincial police who assisted guards Saturday night to put the
180 inmates holding out into their cells with tear gas. Staff
Inspector F. B. Creasy of the Ontario provincial police headquarters
in Toronto arrived Monday morning to take charge of more than 40
officers drawn from police districts as far south as Aurora.

Inspector Creasy said he could not reveal the number of men assigned
to ‘keep law and order.’ A dozen provincial police cars were
parked out the recreation hall where the men were billeted. They were
catching up on lost sleep in the past two days but awakened to hear
the world series.

Inspector Creasy said his men were not taking any part in the
direction of the prisoners. This was left up to the guards. But
except for those in the potato field who had rifles, the firearms of
other guards have been taken from them.

Duck Hunting Yet

are heard to lend a hand if needed,’ said Inspector Creary, who
served overseas with the provost forces in the second great war.
Inspector Creasy was ready to take his annual leave and go duck
shooting when ordered by headquarters to take charge of the
detachment of police.

An Indian summer sun shone over the picturesque area and a visitor
could hardly visualize that for a week a mass break of prisoners was
imminent. Col. Hedley Basher, special advisor to Professor Stuart K.
Jaffary, professor of social science at the University of Toronto,
drove around the prison grounds yesterday.

Leaving Camp No. 1. Col. Basher met a prisoner carrying a handful of
proofs of the prison newspaper, turned out by the inmates. He asked
him what they were.

our paper,’ said the prisoner in a defiant tone.

paper?’ demanded Col. Basher. ‘The one we print for the inmates.
We want to get it printed and not to have happen to this edition what
happened to the last edition.’

happened?’ ‘I don’t know.’

Col. Basher accused the prisoner, who stood toe to toe with him at
the door of the officers’ quarters, of ‘having a chip on his

have no chip on my shoulder,’ said the prisoner. ‘But we want to
get our paper printed.’


prisoner told Col. Basher the last edition of the monlthy was sent
‘over there’ pointing to the superintendent’s headquarters, and
‘was thrown into the waste paper basket.’

do you know that it was thrown into the basket?’ Col. Basher asked.
‘ That is what our managing editor told me,’ was the reply.

The prisoner was seen later distributing copies of the mimeographed
paper through the grounds with a smile on his face. It contains news
of activities on the farm and results of their inter-camp baseball

Col. Basher said it would take at least a week and ‘maybe more’
for Prof. Jaffary to finish his inquiry. It was proceeding
satisfactorily, he added.

No one in official quarters would predict that yesterday’s calm at
the camp would continue. Guards claimed that as far as they knew
prisoners in No. 1 dormitory were still in possession of sharpened
table knives. They were unable to get a permit to make a search. The
order for them to hand in their arms left them helpless, they

Sheep were still chewing at the cabbages. Guard towers were empty.
Besides the prisoners digging potatoes, ‘trusties’ roamed about.
The bake shop turned out the bread that sells to the guard staff for
eight cents a loaf.

If evidence to support serious charges against the 10-man committee
is obtained it was said likely they may be removed to Sudbury
district jail. Inspector Thomas Wilkinsson of the Sudbury district
detachment, Ontario provincial police, left the camp for Sudbury
yesterday, but there was no official comment regarding court action
against the leaders of the uprising.

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“Tear Gas At Burwash Ends Reign of 10, Say ‘Windsor Terror’
Led,” Toronto Star. October 6, 1947. Page 01 & 08.

Special to The Star
Sudbury, Oct. 6 – Raymond (Dolly) Quinton, once known to police as ‘the terror
of Windsor,’ is named by guards here as the ringleader of the ‘committee of 10
prisoners’ which virtually ruled Burwash prison farm for more than three days,
following a riot by convicts last Wednesday. The committee’s reign was ended by
a flood of tear gas which was shot into the main cell block by heavily armed
provincial police and prison guards, late Saturday.

Quinton has a long record, including a sentence of eight
years at London, Ont., in 1938 for armed robbery of the Royal Bank of Canada at
Mount Brydges, Ont. Police describe him as a drug addict. His present term is
on a drug charge.

Major R. Speller, Salvation Army chaplain at Burwash, said
there had been nothing but trouble since Quinton arrived at the prison farm.

‘I don’t understand how a man with his record would be sent
here,’ he commented.

Superintendent Ralph Ayres said the prisoners returned to
work tioday in the potato fields and cabbage patches without any disturbance
while a large squad of provincial police, who were called in Saturday to assist
guards, stood by ‘to see law and order was maintained.’

Even Got Truck
The 10-man committee, following last Wednesday’s outbreak, gave every order and
even demanded and got a truck to drive them around the widely seperated camps,
to hold meetings with    the prisoners, it
was revealed.

Guards disclosed how the ‘powerful 10’ gave orders, typed
ulimatums, ran the kitchen and ruled officials, even those from Toronto, with
the threat of force.

The committe took over the quarters occupied by the guards.
Other prisoners did their bidding. Fearful the jail would be wrecked and a mass
delivery made, families of guards moved from Burwash village.

Typed Orders for Guards
The extent of the seizure of the whole administration of the prison, which
prison officials had denied, was revealed after the last holdouts were forced
back to their cells.

It had extended even to the taking of the guards’ room where
office equipment was installed. Pamphlets were typed. These gave certain orders
to the guards, and were distributed to the guards’ quarters by the committee.
One clause demanded that breakfast should not be served until 8 a.m. instead of
at 7 a.m.

Other demands made on prison officials included better food
and more of it, more parole and better medical treatment.

When Hon. George Dunbar, minister of reform institutions,
opened his three-man commission Thursday to investigate the grievances of the
men, it was felt this would bring an end to the disturbances and restore rule
of the jail to Supt. Ralph Ayres and his staff of 200 guards. But it didn’t.
The prisoners demanded the further assurance of no prosecution or disciplinary
action against their leaders.

The policy of appeasement that had caused 11 guards to quit
and many more to threaten to quit, ended when this demand was taken back to Mr.
Dunbar in Toronto by C. F. Neelands, his deputy minister.

Pleas of Mr. Neelands to the men to return to their cells
had fallen on deaf ears. The prisoners demanded written assurance there would
be no punishment to the leaders of the riots. Mr. Neelands couldn’t give that

Equally adamant, Mr. Dunbar, who installed a ‘sort of
Borstal system’ at Burwash, according to guards, would not accede to such a

‘Get back in your cells and restore order, and we’ll
consider your grievances,’ was, in effect, the order of the minister. The
prisoners erefused. They challenged the guards to attempt to force them into
their cells. They walked freely from the block to the kitchen cooked up their
food and resumed their four-day command of the camp.

Provincials Move In
The climax came Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. when Provincial Police Inspector
Thomas Wilkinson moved in with Sudbury police, officers of the special
International Nickel Co. police department, and 100 armed guards.

Orders were received from Toronto that the main cell block
of prisoners – most of them the worst offenders and including the 10-man
committee – would have to go into their cells.

Although the squad of 30 police stopped a mile away, waiting
for the 4 o’clock deadline to move in, the
prisoners learned they were on their way. The stairway leading to the
three-storey building was barricaded with tables and chairs. Arrival of the
police was greeted with cat calls and shouts of ‘rats.’

‘Let them try to get us out,’ shouted the hoarse-voiced
ringleader. ‘We’ll show them.’ Guards, looking like soldiers in their khaki
uniforms, came in trucks. They circled the U-shaped buildings of camp No. 2.

In the dormitory part of the prison there were 200 prisoners
roaming freely, but not causing trouble. They lined the windows and peered
across to where their leaders and other prisoners stared out the windows.

‘It’s a show of strength,’ said a police official.

The squad of police went up toward the administration
building which is attached to the main cell block.

Call to Newsmen
The prisoners could be seen moving along the two corridors.
Frequently could be heard the voice of the ringleader. When they saw a
newspaperman outside they shouted: ‘We’re getting a bum deal.’

Consideration was first given to charging the barricaded
door, but it was there was danger of bloodshed and possible escape of the
prisoners. Sergt. Gauthier of the prison staff gave the prisoners the ultimatum
to surrender. He told them they would be gassed into submission if they didn’t
heed it. There was no reply.

Lightning streaked the sky and torrents of rain fell. The
prisoners open and closed the corridor windows.

‘Hold out, fellows,’ shouted a prisoner spokesman.  There was a long wait. Then, ladders were
raised to the third floor roof and guards went up with tear gas bombs and
shells. Their intention was to drop them into the ventilating system but the
prisoners, who had control of the switches, saw them coming and turned the fans
on. No bombs were tossed because the fumes would have simply been blown out
into the faces of the guards.

There was another long wait. Then it was decided to shoot
the tear shells through pipes that run under the first floor through the

Prying off five-inch square tops, the guards fired an
estimated 25 bombs and shells. The gas permeated the cell blocks. Prisoners
rushed and opened the windows as the first explosion was heard.

‘Don’t Offer Resistance’
The voice of the ringleader could be clearly heard outside.
‘Don’t one of you offer resistance. Tell them we surrender,’ he shouted twice
to the prisoners.

As tears streamed down their cheeks, the prisoners walked
into their cells. Guards pushed open the barricaded doors and began locking up
the prisoners. The only incident was one prisoner who faced two guards
defiantly and was brusquely shoved into his cell.

It took only 10 minutes from the time the first shell went
off until the guards were inside. From floor and cell to cell the guards went,
locking the doors. Prisoners were searched to make sure that in their days of
comparative freedom they hadn’t obtained offensive weapons or saws.

Many of the rebellious prisoners, their cheeks wet with
tears, still vowed they wouldn’t resume work.

Prisoners in camp No. 5 were on strike. Here are kept the
less hardened of the prisoners. They flatly refused to work. They had taken
their orders from the committee of 10 who had visited them in a truck the day
before, a guard said.

There are now only camps No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 in
operations. The others are logging camps, not being operated since the
government decided to start a trades and academical program. The latter has
been begun but the buildings for the trades schools still are under

Cheers could be heard from camp No. 5 as the police and
guards besieged the main block.

Camp No. 1, where on Wednesday and Thursday the prisoners
caused the first trouble and did $3,000 damage by hurling wash basins, toilets,
chairs, and tables out the windows, was quiet. Windows are boarded up and the
prisoners who ripped out the plumbing are now doing the work of restoring some
of the fixtures.

Guards Turn in Guns
Firearms of guards yesterday were ordered locked up by Col.
Hedley Basher special adviser of Prof. Stuart K. Jaffray of the University of
Toronto one-man commission investigating the riot.

Officers and guards in camp No. 1 were lined up by Col.
Basher and instructed to hand in their revolvers and rifles. This was believed to
be a precaution against any incident created by the hard feeling between the
prisoners and guards.

It was reported yesterday that guards have formed an
organization ‘to present their side of the story’ and there hung over the
prison a possibility a strike of guards might materialize. However, the
suggestion of appointing a committee had ‘just been talked up’ and was not
acted upon. It is thought that if a committee is formed they will ask to go
before Commissioner Jaffray. There was no doubt from talking to the guards that
they feel they are being ‘made the goats.’

One guard said that, minutes after an official arrived from
Toronto to investigate the riot, he pointed to an acting sergeant of the guards
who was one of those who resigned and said: ‘You’re to blame for this.’

The 10-man committee has held meetings throughout the camps.
Their demands to hold the meetings were acceded to, guards said, because it was
felt that if they were turned down the prison would be made a shambles.

Officials here said they believed it was on direct orders of
Attorney-General Leslie Blackwell, after he conferred with Premier Drew, that
the provincial police were sent in. Inspector Wilkinson got his orders to make
up a squad of his district officers from Commissioner W. H. Stringer. Mr.
Stringer could not act without orders from his superior, Attorney-General
Blackwell, officials pointed out.

It became apparent when reporters finally got past the armed
guards on the road leading into the camp that official assurance of quietness
in the camp was not fact.

Talks with the guards revealed there hadn’t been a semblance
of discipline in the jail since the first disturbance. It was also made known
that, two months ago, prisoners went on a hunger strike for two days. While
they went out to work, they refused to touch any of their food. The strike was
fully organized. This brought officials from the reform institutions branch,
organized since the Drew government came into power, and the strike was won.
The food, both quality and quantity, was improved.

Trouble For Over Year
‘There hasn’t been anything but trouble here for the past year and a half,’
said a guard, ‘but when they won the hunger strike it made things even worse.’
Under the so-called Borstal system that was started, the guards had no control
over the prisoners.

All recent escapes, a score or more in the past four months,
have not been all the ‘go boy’ type, it was revealed. This is applied to those
who run away from gangs working on the farm or in the bush. There have been
cases of bars being sawed in the main cell block, which has 195 separate cells,
it was learned.

The main cell building is used for the more hardened
criminals and new arrivals at the institution. Gradually they are given special
consideration if they are on good behaviour until they are transferred to the
dormitory or other camps where they have more freedom, it was stated.

One of the grievances of the prisoners is that some inmates
are criminally insane. It is one of the demands that these men – and they are
named in the ultimatum – be removed from the prison.

There as tenseness when Sergt. Gauthoer was allowed by the
prisoners into the cell block Saturday night to deliver the ultimatum from
Queen’s Park that they must return to their cells or tear gas would be shot
into the cells. He took a chance they might hold him hostage under threat of
his life if guards and police attempted to gas them into submission. The
prisoners refused to surrender.

According to weary guards, failure to punish a group of disturbers
who caused considerable damage to camp No. 1 in August, brought further
unruliness. The men demanded at that time that those who instigated the
miniature riot should not be disciplined. 

Thumbed Their Noses
Guards, not those who resigned, but others who said they had wives and families
to keep and could not quit, confirmed reports that from then on the prisoners
thumed their noses at the guards. If a guard struck a prisoner or used force on
him, he was blamed for the trouble at once without any attempt to find out what
was at the back of it.

Many of the 200-guard staff are clean-cut young men, scores
of them with overseas service. Speaking for a group of them, one guard said:
‘We’re willing to give any fellow a break. We weren’t tough but you can stand
only so much. They were bossing us and not we them.’ He was a veteran of

‘As far as the food goes,’ he said, ‘it is a lot better than
we ever had in the army.’

‘And that’s for sure,’ chorused the group.

Investigation into the riots started within two hours of the
time tear gas bombs subdued defiant prisoners.

Prisoners are being brought before Prof. Jaffray one at a
time. Col. Basher, head of Guelph Reformatory, was was announced previously as
being a member of the commission, is acting in an advisory capacity. Dr. M. E.
J. Stalker of the department of health already has completed his assignment and
returned to Toronto. He was delegated by the department of reform institutions
to look into charges of the prisoners that there were inadequite medical
services at the prison.

Meanwhile the squad of provincial police under Inspector
Wilkinson has been augmented by police from as far south as Barrie detachment.
They are billeting for the most part at Burwash. Yesterday 15 police cars were
outside the guards’ quarters.

During the outbreak, a prisoner armed with a club was on
duty outside the guard sergeant’s office, holding him a virtual prisoner and
listening to all that went on.

The prisoners yesterday received their visitors as usual.
One visitor picked up by a newspaperman on his way back to Sudbury claimed it
all started because a guard shot a prisoner in the arm when he was lying down.
A former convict himself, he had come from Toronto to see his pal, he said.

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“Prisoners Give Selves Jobs as Guards Keep Distance,” Toronto
. October 4, 1947. Page 02.

Special to the Star
Sudbury, Oct. 4 – Armed guards patrolled the perimeter of Burwash
industrial farm today but avoided direct contact with the prisoners who engaged
in an all-night disturbance Wednesday night. Uneasy quiet reigned as the
inmates, confined to cell blocks and dormitories, took care of routine jobs
assigned by the prisoner’s own grievance committee. For the third day, guards
made no attempt to make prisoners resume regular work in the fields and bush.

 With a three-man commission investigating the riot and the
attempted jail-break which precipitated the trouble, it became clear there was
deep-seated conflict between guards and prisoners and that authorities were
carefully considering the prisoners’ list of complaints.

 C. F. Neelands, deputy minister of reform institutions,
condemned ‘incorrect and luridd statements’ appearing in some newspapers
yesterdaay that Burwash was ‘in a state of siege.’ He said the prisoners felt
their cause was being prejudiced by such reports.

 ‘The men feel they have real grievances and the minister
(Hon. George Dunbar) has appointed a commission to investigate conditions,’ Mr.
Neelands said. Members of the commission are Prof. Stuart Jaffary of University
of Toronto, Col. Hedley Basher, superintendent of the Guelph reformatory, and
Dr. M. E. KJ. Stalker of the Ontario department of health. Dr. Stalker arrived
at Burwash yesterday to look into complaints about lack of proper medical
treatment. The other two commissioners came today.

Guards Watch at Distance
Evidence of the uneasy truce prevailing was given last night when prisoners,
clustered in a compound, talked among themselves long after lights out. Guards,
apparently forbidden to interfere so long as there is no open outbreak, stood
back and watched from a distance.

It was learned today that prisoners have agreed to repair
the damage, chiefly to windows and uprooted plumbing fixtures, caused by
Wednesday night’s rumpus. New fixtures are on their way from Monteith
industrial farm and inmates will install them. Yesterday they cleared up the
litter strewn about Camp No. 1 

Twelve guards from the training school at Guelph were
ordered to Burwash yesterday to replace the 11 who resigned Thursday, charging
there was no attempt to maintain discipline among the prisoners. At the same
time, the National Employment Service office in Sudbury listed jobs for 20 more
Burwash guards.

Cheered by Inmates
Arrival of Mr. Neelands – who was the first superintendent of Burwash when it
opened 33 years ago – was given credit today for putting a stop to Wednesday
night’s ultimatum from the prisoners, who demanded to see him by 6 a.m.

When he arrived, prisoners in Camp No. 1 were still singing
and demonstrating in their dormitory. He approached the building and shouted
through a broken window: ‘All right, boys, I’m Neelands and I’m here to find
out what the trouble is.’

The prisoners cheered him and ended their rumpus, it was
reported. Mr. Neelands immediately ordered an extra food allowance for them and
had tobacco and cigarette papers distributed. Later, the prisoners were allowed
to use a guards’ room to hold grievance meetings and draw up a list of

Prison authorities denied there was an escape from Burwash
last night, but admitted one prisoner was ‘missing’ for a time. ‘He was found
on the grounds,’ said Superintendent Ralph Ayers.

In the past four months there have been 21 escapes from the
prison farm. Five of the fugitives are still at large. They are Alicde
Beaudette and Eugene Plante, who fled Aug. 23; J. C. Lammaire and James Moran,
who escaped Sept. 13, and P.T. Manion, who got away September 25.

Mr. Neelands left for Toronto today, apparently satisfied
the prisoners would no more trouble while the investigation is proceeding.

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