Posts Tagged ‘montreal jail’

“3 Insane Convicts Free; 5 Make Escape From City Jail; 2 Recaptured / Insane Prisoners Break Jail at Bordeaux.” Montreal Gazette, September 17, 1938. Second edition. Top image is page 15.  Next two are pages 1 & 9.

“Fugitives Overpower Guards – Are Believed Armed. / Police Cordon Drawn. / All Available Forces Join Search for Desperate Men in Woods.

Three dangerously insane convicts, all believed armed, were fugitives from a widespread police net last night after escaping from Montreal Jail at Bordeaux shortly after two o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Two others who were also confined to the jail asylum, escaped at the same time, but were captured shortly afterwards.

A jail guard’s car, which the convicts seized at the gun point outside the prison’s main gate, was found abandoned last night in the north end of the city.  Provincial, Montreal and Royal Canadian Mounted Police threw a strong cordon about the island as soon as the break became known, but it was believed possible that one or more of the men had slipped through before the guards were posted.

The men were believed to have two revolvers and a rifle among them, and all were described by prison officers as ‘desperate men who would stop at nothing to retain their freedom.’

Police search squads were armed with machine guns and tear gas equipment.

The five, all declared by Dr. Daniel Plouffe, superintendent of the prison hospital, to be insane, were:

JULES LEGACE, 32, 10 years for burglary and holdup;

JOHN O’MALLEY, 25, life for assault on penitentiary guard;

JOSEPH GAUCHEN, 23, five years for assault on penitentiary guard;

DIEUDONNE COALLIER, 25, 10 years for burglary;

LEO TREMBLAY, 25, sentence unascertained.

The first four were Montrealers, while Tremblay was brought here from Quebec CIty.

O’Malley and Coallier were captured within a few hours of the break.”

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“C’est là
que se sont réfugiés les fous criminels! / Du Nouveau Dans L’Affaire Des Fous Criminels,” Le Petit Journal. September 18, 1938. Pages 1 & 2.

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Cinq Fous Criminels S’Évadent


Bordeaux – Des Gardes Blessés.” La Patrie, Edition Quotidienne. September 17, 1938. Page 1 & Page 21.

“L’évasion la plus sensationnelle encore vue dans notre province s’est produite vendredi après-midi,

à 2 heures 30,

à la prison de Bordeaux alors que cinq détenus de la section des aliénés criminels ont pris la fuite.

Trois gardes de la prison ont été assommés par les évadés qui leur ont enlevé leur armes et quie so sont ensuite fait ouvrir la grande barrière de la prison en dirigeant une fusillade nourrie dans la direction  des gardiens qui avaient mission de les empêcher de passer.”


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“Cinq prisonniers s’évadent de Bordeaux – Ils désarment deux gardes, en assomment deux autres et fuient dans une voiture volée à un cinquième gardien.” Le Canada. September 17, 1938. Page 01.

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“On referring to the report of the Montreal Jail, it will be seen that the continued increase in the commitments forms a lamentable feature in it. In 1861 the commitments were 3,436; and in 1862, 3,974; an increase of 538, or 15.6 per cent. The same remark which is applied to Toronto is equally true of Montreal. There is a jail population in the latter city, as in the former, which circulates through the streets to the city courts, and from the city courts to the City prison, where it sojourns for a specified number of days, to issue again from the gates and make the usual circuit.of the streets and courts as before. Of the 3,974 committed, 1,526 were persons recommitted.

There has no record been kept here, unfortunately, of the re-commitments of the same person, except for 1862. I cannot, therefore, go back upon previous years, as I have been able to do with respect to the corresponding class in Toronto; but I have taken from the books a list of 649 individuals of those’recommitted during last year.

Those 649 persons had been consequently 2,146 times before the courts in 186 The keeper of the jail, Mr. McGinn, and his assistant, Mr. Laurie, were also kind enough to go over the books with me, and point out tome a list of 75 of the most notorious inhabitants of the prison, giving me the length of time for:which they have been regular frequenters of it, and the number of days generally intervening between their discharge and their re-commitment. Although those officer communicated the facts from memory only, there is not the slightest doubt of their general accuracy.

I confess that – until my duties led me to inquire into and reflect upon the state of crime, as shown by the Common Jail Returns – I had no idea of such results; and I only fear that I will fail in conveying to the minds of others the convictions now impressed upon my own with such force as to induce remedy. Truly do the officers of the prison, who are brought daily and hourly into contact with this moving mass of, crime, declare that prison reform is not to be looked for, so long as the remedy is not applied at its source. The present state of the law, and the custom of the Police and Recorder’s Courts, actually tend to foster crime, and to train up families of criminals to, the second and third generations, in the practice of their profession.

l order to show how the present system acts, I may give a few instances, as related by Mr. McGinn and his deputy, whose known reputation for accuracy and truth places the facts beyond a question.

Mary R., wife of Michael R., was committed, with a child at her breast, as a loose and disorderly person by the Recorder, on the 27th October last, for one month. When in prison she was visited by her husband and a son of about eleven years of age. On the 27th November she was discharged. On the following day, the whole family husband, wife, son and infant – were committed as vagrants, on their own confession, by the Recorder, for another month. On the 28th December they were discharged, and on the 12th January last they were all again re-committed.

John D. was first committed for larceny in 1840, and, frequently afterwards. After a few re-commitments of himself, his wife was committed along with him, having a child in her arms. D. at last was sent to the Penitentiary, and the wife made the jail her home by means of the short commitment system. The child became prostitute at eleven years of age, and the time that she is not now on the streets, she is in the prison.

J. D. and his family were committed as vagrants about eighteen years ago. Two daughters, being then more children, were reared up in jail.’ The parents are now dead, but the girls became prostitutes at thirteen years of age, and are still frequenters of the prison. One of them ‘has now a bastard in her arms, to be trained up in the same steps in which the grand-mother and mother had walked.

John F. became a vagrant about fifteen years ago; and his son has been reared principally in jail. He turned out an expert thief and is now in the Reformatory.

Thomas M. and Pierre L. became inmates of the jail, and had also each a son, who after training in jail, are now in the Reformatory.

In 1848, J. C. was sent to the Penitentiary, after being a regular inmate of the Montreal Jail for some years before. His Montreal Jail life was shared also by his wife and three children. The mother and two children left Montreal soon after the father had been sent to Kingston, but the oldest girl, about eleven years of age, was already a prostitute, and remained.

J. T., senr., was sent to the Penitentiary in September last, after being an inmate of the jail for some time. His son, 15 years old, was sent five years to the Reformatory, and his wife was sent five times to jail during the last year. There are two other children of. whom the oldest is eight years. They will, in all likelihood, follow in their parents’ stops.

Instances might be multiplied to any extent of the efficiency of the Montreal Jail as an academy for crime. A very considerable number of the criminals now about the city, as well as many in the Penitentiary, have spent terms of imprisonment in this jail, before they reached 12 years of age, some of them at first with one or both parents. At the present moment, there are about a dozen children in the prison with their mothers, who, ten years after this, will be thieves and prostitutes on the streets of the city. They will have acquired – all their education, at the government expense, in the school for crime established in this province.

What is the remedy for all this? The first step, undoubtedly, is to put an end to short commitments. If offenders make it clear, by their frequent appearance before a court, that they cannot keep out of jail, the law ought to take them according to their acts, and make a previous sentence a portion of the fresh crime, increasing the imprisonment every time to adults, and in the case of boys sending them to the Reformatory before a second crime is committed. It is not to be wondered at that the expense of the administration of justice reaches the figure which the public accounts exhibit from year to year. I have shewn from the books at Montreal, that 649 worthless vagrants have been tried 2146 times! These re-commitients proceed from the Recorder’s and the Police Courts, and if we reckon the expense of the police, the witnesses and the clerks, and assume them at the moderate rate of $5 for each arrest and trial, we have the sum of $16,560 expended in producing crime, instead of repressing it!

In connexion with the repression and punishment of crime is the employment of the prisoners in the common jails; and it is a question of no small importance to the public.

Under present circumstances, it may be said that the employment of male prisoners is next to nothing. At times, when the corporation of Toronto feels inclined to purchase broken stone from the jail, the prisoners are set to work, and so with respect to Montreal. At this moment, however, there have been about 3000 loads of stone in, the yard at the latter city for some time, which the corporation will not purchase, for some reason or another, as it has been suggested, connected with the letting of contracts by the Road Committee.

The females in the Toronto Jail are employed in sewing to an unlimited extent, and at Montreal they are also engaged in picking oakum. The total amount earned from all sources is stated at $500 for Toronto, and $850 for Montreal.

The county jails afford no employments any description for either males or females, with the exception of sawing wood for the stove; and the small towns in which they are situated seem to be as careful not to encourage work being-done in them, as tie corporations of the larger cities. The town council of Guelph, for instance, was offered the lab or of the prisoners at that jail in breaking stone, if they would pay for the transport’ it to and from the prison yard; but they have not yet acted upon the offer.

In a young country like Canada, where labor is of so much value and where the taxes are paid entirely by a class which does labor, it becomes a question of some moment to consider what is to be done with the mass of idleness which is housed, fed and clothed in our prisons. Setting aside the cases of first commitments, in which the sentences may probably be for short periods of imprisonment, and consequently beyond the reach of regular systematizing, there must be; according to my computation, from 1200 to 1500 vagrants and petty depredators, who come and go from the jails as from their home. and, it is to this class that, I think, the attention of the authorities ought to be at once directed. One would think, as all reason would suggest, that an evil so palpable, and of daily occurrence to so great an extent, in every part of the Province,would have forced itself upon the consideration of intelligent men, and compelled a remedy. On the contrary, however,the legislation of Parliament, and the practice of courts of justice have been directly exercised for producing and nursing it. For the class of habitués,the idea of a jail, instead of presenting an aspect of terror or discomfort, offers them one of a pleasing absence of work, and a certainty of warm lodgings, with abundant food. Every now and then, a paragraph may be seen to the effect, that parties named applied the Court to be committed to prison,and it is of frequent occurrence at the Montreal Jail that the vagrants are entrusted with, and alone carry to the prison, .in their own arms, the warrants under which they are committed.

The first stop, it appears obvious, that should be taken, is to make every recommittal itself a crime, as in Scotland it is a crime to be habit and repute thief. Even under the present system, this would afford relief, first, to the public, who suffer from the depredations of this class of offenders; 2nd, to the police force of the cities and-towns which they frequent, affording to the officers, more time for the duty of protecting the peace and preventing offences on their regular beats; besides diminishing the cause.of complaint. now so frequently brought against the police, that they are never to be found when wanted; 3rd, to the inferior Courts, the principal expense of which is rendered necessary by perpetually having to try the cases in which the class referred to are parties.

The next step is, to set these culprits to some description of work, by which the expenses they have thrown upon society may be lessened, if not reimbursed. This may be done, it appears to me, in two ways: either by the establishment of Central Jails (as already recommended by the Board of Inspectors and favorably entertained by the. late Administration), in which their labor may be systematised and rendered productive; or by employing them in the construction of public works.

The system of central jails could be the soonest established, as there are now jails nearly completed well adapted for the purpose. It would also be attended with less expense for supervision and security against escape than the other. But it would have this disadvantage, that only a few descriptions of occupations could be carried on within them, and a considerable time would necessarily elapse before expertness could be looked for, or consequent, profit.

In a central jails, trades might be carried on, in which males and females could be em ployed, as is now exemplified in tho Penitentiary. And with respect to females, especially I seec no reason why they should not be set to work by the Government, in making up clothing for the Volunteers and Militia, of whom there is every prospect now of there being a standing force in the country. It is only the other day that contracts were given out by the Government for 10,000 pairs of trousers for the Provincial troops, the expense of making which might have been readily saved to the public by collecting the females now scattered through the various prisons into one central jail, and giving them that work to do.

The other mode of employing male prisoners – that of constructing public works –  might be attended with ,perhaps, more expense, but, as I view it, with more direct and visible profit to, the community. From the nature of forced labor and-especially that’ criminals, it can be most advantageously carried on, both in respect to its efficiency, and the expenses of supervision, where a good deal is required within a small space. In the construction of harbors, in the building of locks, or in the excavation of heavy cuts, where a large number of hands can be kept under the eyes of a few overseers or guards, such labor can be employed to advantage.

The public have now to employ policemen to watch, to track, and to arrest them, jailers and turnkeys to guard them, and, under any circumstances, to house, to feed and to clothe them. What more would the Govérnment have to do for them, if it compelled them to do some labor in return? Nothing that I can see.

The whole Canadian shore of Lake Erie is destitute of harbours, to which the storm surprised commerce on its waters can flee for refuge: why not set to work a sufficient gang of the able-bodied men now wasting their own lives, and the hard-earned money of fhe industrious classes in the prisons, and keep them at work until, at every favorable point a harbour of refuge is constructed?

…I cannot bring myself to think that it is right that the criminal portion of the population should be the only one not only exempted from exertions, but supported in plenty at the public expense when the country requires the labor of every available man for opening up and improving its communications.”

–  Inspector James Moir Ferres, “SEPARATE REPORT for the year 1862,” from Annual Report of the Board of Inspectors of Asylums, Prisons &c for the year 1862. Sessional Papers of the Province of Canada, Sessional Papers No. 66, 26 Victoria, A. 1863.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Year’s Term Given In Relief Frauds,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 04.

Judge Tells Prisoner His Case Is Worst He Ever Head Of

Charles Renaud, who obtained $1,771.99 from the Relief Commission under another man’s name, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment by Judge Langlois today.

‘Your case is the worst I have ever heard of,’ Judge Langlois remarked when Renaud appeared before him for sentence. His Honor pointed out that Renaid, using the name of Cyril Picard, had obtained over $1,700 from the Relief Commission in the past four years. ‘You were also guilty of impersonation and could be sentenced to a penitentiary term for that alone,’ the judge remarked, sentencing him to 12 months in jail.

Renaud gave his address as 3960 Rivard street.

Raymond Tessier, 43, who have his address as 1181 Union Avenue, apt. 8, pleaded not guilty to four fraud charges when arraigned before Judge Langlois. Trial was fixed for July 28. According to the complaint, Tessier obtained amounts ranging from $6 to $22 by cashing four allegedly worthless cheques made out to the order of ‘Prof. Raymond Tessier’ and bearing the signature, ‘Louis Mondon, Superior College, St. Jean.’ At the request of police His Honor remanded the accused to detective headquarters for three days.

Sentence was reserved by the court until Friday in the case of three boys giving the names and addresses of Marcel Laveillee, 17, 2190 Frontenac, Maurice Rainville, 18, 1854 Iberville, and Leopold Christin, 19, 2023 Frontenax street, who pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods valued at $50.

Albert Robertson, who have his address as 359b Murray street, admitted before Judge Langlois today that he stole $249 from Mrs. Blanche Chevrier, 2585 Delisle street, on July 17 to buy a car. Sentence was reserved until September 16 by the court to give Robertson a chance to reimburse Mrs. Chevrier.

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“City Items,” Montreal Daily Witness, July 12, 1871. Page 03.

Mary Ann Sullivan, a girl of only 10 years of age, who recently escaped from the Reformatory, was arrested yesterday by Constables Armor and Martel, and to-day was sent back to the Reformatory.

Escaped. – Yesterday a boy named Louis Vian, aged 15 years, was arrested by the detectives on suspicion of being concerned in the Gault outrage. The circumstantial evidence against him was very strong, and a handkerchief which belonged to Mr. Gault was also found in his possession. After his arrest, he was put in the cell along with other prisoners to await examination at the Police Court to-day. During the night, however, Master Louis Vian managed to effect his escape by, it is believed, crawling through the ventilator in the cell door. The aperture in question is less than nine inches square, and Vian must have been very dexterous in getting through and afterwards clearing off from the building without being noticed. Three or four persons previously arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the Gault outrage, were to-day shown to Mr. Gault, but the latter failed to recognize any of them, and they were sent to jail as vagrants.

Attempted Imposition By A Carter. – Until cabmen are peremptorily and severly dealt with, their daily tricks and impositions on the public will never be put down. Charles Lapointe, 21, carter, who resides in Craig street, was charged at the Recorder’s Coourt to-day with refusing hire. It appears that on Tuesday morning Mr. Treasurer Black came off the Quebec boat and prisoner was one of several cabmen who solicited hire. Mr. Black hired Lapointe, who on second thoughts wanted to know where he was going, and if to a fire, and finally, with an oath, refused to drive him. Chief Penton gave Lapointe anything but a good character, and His Honor said that this system of carters bullying people and levying black mail must be stopped; and every case proven would be severely punished. Lapointe was fined $8 or one month in jail.

Loafing Vagrants. – At present there seems to be an unusually large number of loafing vagrants about the city. Louis Deschamp, 35, alias Leon Richer, laborer, from St. Urbain street; Michel Dubois, 34, laborer, St. Dominique steet; Xavier Beauvais, 27, carter, carter, Papineau Road, and a disreputable woman named Adeline Lefebvre, 29, were arrested at 5 o’clock this morning by sub-Constables McCormicck and Depatie, who had watched the gang for some two hours previous, when they were in a field off Sherbrooke street. At the Recorder’s Court to-day, it was stated that the prisoners are strongly suspected of being concerned in some recent robberies, and His Honor committed them each for two months; also Joseph Dupont, 20, vagrant, from Campeau street, against whom the detectives are working up a case of burglary.

Sarah Alcock, 44, an old vagrant, Mary Ann Lanigan, 29, and Elizabeth Dunn, 29, both found loitering on Champs de Mars, were each committed for a month; also Mary Ann McDonnell, 45, and Ann Meaney, 23, who were found in a drunken disgraceful state on Logan’s Farm. His Honor said that a law would soon be in force, by which vagrants for second offence may be committed for two years.

Alphonese Labreque, 24, laborer, and who, the police stated, was the ‘fancy man’ of the keeper of a brothel, was arrested along with Joseph St. Jean, 27, stone-cutter, loitering with a prostitute, and they were each fined $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

POLICE COURT – WEDNESDAY. – A woman who was arrested on a charge of breaking a pane of glass in the door of E. Costello, was discharged for lack of evidence.

Edmund Fegan 62, a vagrant from Common street, was arrested for stealing coal on the wharf and was committed as a vagrant for two months,

Eliza O’Brien, wife of James Mourney, of Colborne Avenue, was charged with using insulting language to Catherine Mullins, wife of James Mourney, Jr., and was fined $10.75, including costs, or fifteen days in all.

Damase Piebe, shoemaker for assaulting Augustin Guibord, was fine $7 including costs or 15 days.

George Clarke, Fil, alias Williamson, alias Henderson, charged with stealing four billiard balls belonging to Mr. Chadwick, St. James street, was remanded for examination. The balls were found in his possession, but Clarke says he brought them with him from the United States early in June last.

RECORDER’S COURT – Wednesday – This morning the sheet contained fifty cases, and nearly one-third of those were persons arrested in connection with a house of ill-fame in St. Elizabeth street, where the police made a raid last night. With such a programme before the Court it was no wonder that the place was thronged by those peculiar and miscellaneous personages, the largest proportion of whom are of a vicious character, who watch the rise and fall of the criminal barometer with an interest that is whetted and increasing in proportion as the details are disgusting.

Frederic Lafontaine, 32, agent, or manager of the Toronto House and Edward Rheaume, 24, shoemaker, who got quarrelling and attempted to fight at the door of the above tavern, were each fined $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

Fabien Beaudouin, 22, carter, drunk in Notre Dame street; Daniel Murphy, 40, agent from Quebec, drunk in St. Paul street; François Ganthier, 48, blacksmith, drunk in Panet street; Michael MccGeary, 36, laborer, drunk, in Commissioner street; J. Bte. Deslauriers, 52, laborer, drunk in St Paul street; J. Bte. Braurmter, 58, laborer, drunk in Perthius street; Jos. Power, 19, laborer, drunk in Manufacturer street, and Daniel Gibson, 34, a respectably dressed man, drunk in Cahboulez Square Fire Station, also a woman, were each fined in small sums for being drunk; while Richard McDonnell, 27, baker, drunk in the city cars, was fine $2 or 15 days.

George McNeil, 32, shoemaker, and George McNulty, 55, laborer, both drunk in Lacroi street, and insulting people, were each fined $2.50 or 15 days.

Joseph Howie, 26, shoemaker, was fined $5 or 30 days, for loitering in Campean street with a prostitute, named Adeline Lefebvre, 39, who was committed for a month.

Thomas Cleary, 29, mechanic, residing in Dorchester street, got drunk last night, and was smashing the furniture and threatened to throw his wife out of the window. As the wife failed to appear, Cleary was let off with a fine of $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

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“Sent To Bordeaux,” Montreal Gazette. June 28, 1915. Page 03.

Four young men who came before Judge St. Cyr on Saturday morning were sent to Bordeaux for terms ranging from eight days to six months. Narcisse Chartrand, twenty years of age, who pleaded guilty to a charge of vagrancy laid against him by his mother, was given six months and a severe lecture. Arthur Roland, twenty-six years of age was condemned to a fine of $15 or three months in prison for having assaulted his mother, who asked that he be sent down. Ernest Audette, found guilty of stealing oats, was sent to prison for fifteen days, while Robert Day, found guilty of a minor theft, was sent away for eight days.

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“First photos ever taken inside…Montreal Jail,” The Standard Photonews. February 20, 1943. Front page to page 7.

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“Bordeaux Riot ‘Fun’ Say Police, Inmate,” Montreal Gazette. August 14, 1952. Page 03.

“Provincial Police investigating the recent riot at Bordeaux Jail, said yesterday that the upheaval was not brought on by poor food or maltreatment of prisoners, contradicting earlier reports of the cause.

‘It would seem,’ one of the investigating officers said, ‘that the prisoners rioted only to have some fun.’

The probe into the riot is nearing completion, and a full report will be sent soon to Premier Maurice Duplessis, attorney-general of the province.  Any action to be taken will be announced by Mr. Duplessis’ office.  Premier Duplessis has announced that penal reforms will be instituted in the province.

The Provincial Police statement about the cause of the riot was backed up last night by a Bordeaux prisoner who went through both riots and was released this week.

‘Cause of the riot was not food, treatment of prisoners or ‘bought’ luxuries.  It was the work of young punks in the trial ward who would have had a bingo every night if they could.

‘The jail is not the classiest joint in town, but the majority of the inmates were satisfied with conditions after the first riot.  It was a bunch of rowdy punks that just wanted to stir up trouble who started the last one.

‘We were still getting baloney sandwiches last Sunday when I was released.  But that;s the prisoners own fault.  They wrecked the kitchen.’

Toilets are still broken and the locks on many of the cells have not been repaired.

‘Those guys in B wing really went to town and wrecked the place for no good reason – just for the fun of it.  And there were only to bugs (mental ward prisoners) out, thanks to Rev. Phillips. (He is the Protestant jail chaplain.) He asked the rioting prisoners not to let them out because they would make too much trouble, and they did as asked.

‘After the first riot, which was justified because of the poor food, conditions improved.  Those with money couldn’t buy stuff they used to get and that’s the only reason for the riot.’

The ex-prisoner told The Gazette that he had not been able to wash in the jail during the past week.  He said that he was driven far from Bordeaux before being released.

‘Despite the damage done during the riot, no disciplinary action has yet been taken against the prisoners,’ he said.

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“Reforms Planned for Bordeaux, Premier Duplessis Announces; Public Help Premier’s Request,” Montreal Gazette. August 9, 1952. Page 01.

“Reforms will be made at Montreal’s Bordeaux jail, scene of two riots in the last three months, Premier Duplessis indicated today.

Mr. Duplessis, who deplored ‘wide’ newspaper publicity given last Friday’s demonstration at the sprawling jail, said separation of hardened criminals from first offenders is one ‘necessary reform.’

Damage was described by Mr. Duplessis as ‘very considerable’ but he did not elaborate although as attorney-general, he has over-all direction of Quebec’s jails.

He spoke at length of the Government’s views on the disturbance at his regular press conference today.

Prisoners were reported to have rioted over the poor quality of food, on which Mr. Duplessis did not comment.

He said his government considered the welfare of honest people more important than ‘the comfort of criminals.’

He said newspaper reports of the riot was the kind of thing that ‘might constitute an encouragement for the rebellious criminal.’

An investigation to determine the causes of the riots and the best methods to avoid repetition is nearly finished, he said, adding that ‘the co-operation of all who can contribute something to re-establishment and maintenance of order’ was needed.

‘We want to make all the most appropriate reforms gradually, a spirit of justice and common sense, but without forgetting that our first duty is to ensure the welfare of honest people,’ he said.

Jail riots stem from an epidemic of disorders ‘throughout the world, but especially in the United States and Canada,’ Mr. Duplessis said.

‘The causes were numerous,’ and ‘in some measure are beyond the power of governments.’ He did not elaborate on this statement.

Not a Hotel
Bordeaux is not and cannot be a fashionable hotel,’ he said. ‘It is not a place where honest people hold meetings.’

‘It is certainly not by giving wide publicity to evil and the evil-doer that one can succeed in doing good. Some newspapers even exaggerated and that is regrettable, not so much as concerns government, but insofar as it concerns public interest and respect for order.

‘Many criminals seek publicity and take glory in it.  It seems to us that public interest and respect for order are vitally concerned in this matter and that wide publicity is not the kind of thing that safeguards them.’

‘We have made many helpful reforms at Bordeaux and we will continue…there are inveterate and incurable criminals in our jails and penitentiaries, and there are others who can be cured.’

Segregation Needed
‘The proximity of inveterate repeaters with those who are not is a situation that can stand improvement…’

‘It is evident that the first duty of the Government is to look after the welfare and progress of honest people instead of the comfort of the criminals.’

Problems raised by jail disturbances ‘affect deeply the welfare of the province in general,’ Mr. Duplessis said.

‘It seems to me they must be considered, not in the spirit of party partisanship but in the light of the higher interests of the province and its people,’ he said.

“Prisoners All Back In Jail,” Montreal Gazette. August 9, 1952. Page 01.

“The last prisoners removed from Bordeaux Jail for safekeeping during last week’s rioting were returned to death-watch cells in the northend prison yesterday.

Transfer of the inmates, revealed by a provincial police official at Montreal headquarters, meant that conditions are back at pre-riot normal in the jail.

Returned to the cells under the five main cell-blocks were five men awaiting execution, five others awaiting trial for murder and one awaiting deportation.

‘These men, while they did not take part in the riot, can be classed as dangerous,’ police said.

‘During Friday’s riot, we removed them from the death-watch cells when water from firemen’s hoses began to flood the cells.’

Another indication that everything was quiet at Bordeaux came when Provincial Police advised all Quebec prisons that a state of emergency brought about by the wild smashing spree by 700 convicts a week ago had ended. 

When the prisoners went on their rampage, police headquarters instructed all prisons to stand by to receive additional prisoners in case the Montreal jail was wrecked and a wholesale transfer was necessary.

The rioters won control of the jail at one time but tear gas forced most of them back into the wrecked cell-blocks.”

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“Will Smash Any Riot, Police Official Warns,” Montreal Gazette. August 8, 1952. Page 03. 

“Inmates of Bordeaux Jail will encounter stiff resistance and will be thrown back in their cells in a hurry if they try to stage another riot, a spokesman for Provincial Police said yesterday.

While unwilling to reveal the extent of security measures taken to prevent another outbreak, the informant made it clear that any effort to start another flare-up would be ‘smashes before it can even get underway.’

‘We don’t expect any further trouble now or in six months from now but if the prisoners start anything, they’ll be a sorry lot,’ the official, who asked not to be named, told The Gazette.

Police have already taken steps to make sure that conditions at the jail remain ‘under control’ since Friday’s wild rioting by more than 700 inmates.

Twenty-five reserves hastily summoned from Quebec early Saturday are still on duty at the sprawling Back River jail.  They are expected to stay on duty for sometime as are scores of officers and men attached to Provincial Police headquarters in Montreal.

Holidays have also been cancelled for the jail personnel, still tied up with the job of repairing damage, while more widespread than during the May 4-5 riot, did not reach the unofficial $400,000-$500,000 estimates given following the first outbreak.

Prisoners contend they smashed nearly every part of the jail and damages was ten times higher than in May.

A special Provincial Police board of enquiry continued to question prisoners yesterday as it sought to determine the exact cause of the riot, said by inmates to have been due to poor food.

Meanwhile. Norman Romer, president of the John Howard Society, said he had called a general meeting of the organization for next week to decide what steps can be taken to bring about a complete and impartial enquiry into conditions at Bordeaux Jail.

Following the May riot, the society forwarded to Quebec authorities a six-point program for a commission to investigate the outbreak. No reply has been received to date from Quebec.”

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“Public Report Due Shortly On Bordeaux Jail Outbreak,” Montreal Gazette. August 7, 1952. Page 11.

“A full public statement concerning the abortive Bordeaux Jail riot last Friday night may be made within a few days.

The report said a complete statement of the incident had been forwarded to the Attorney General’s office in Quebec City.

Meanwhile, Dr. Zenon Lesage, governor of the jail, maintained his ‘no comment’ attitude.

Other jail authorities also remained silent on the situation, five days after 700 rioting prisoners literally ‘wrecked everything in sight.’

Still unavailable were damage estimates of the five-hour outbreak and the official cause of the revolt, said by prisoners to be poor food.

Prison officials yesterday denied that any punishments have been meted out to those who started the riot.  They said that no action will be taken against those responsible until a full report has been forwarded to Quebec. 

Rev. Gordon Philipps, prison chaplain, said yesterday that he ‘welcome more than 50 inmates into the chapel during the outbreak.’ He said they were sick inmates and cripples who did not want to take part in the riot.

The Protestant Chaplain himself came home Tuesday afternoon after more than 90 continuous hours duty at the jail.  He said that he has only seven hours sleep since Friday night and ‘that was on the floor of the chapel.’

He said he could not make any statement however in regard to the riot.

A recently-released prisoner said the demonstration had ‘been brewing for some time’ and that it was only a matter of time before it ‘caught fire.’

Many of the prisoners have remarked that blame for the two riots rests mostly with the ‘slop’ served them as food, and the bad administration by the authorities in command at the jail.

An official of the John Howard Society stated that a request made to authorities to investigate jail conditions following the first riot has gone unanswered.”

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“Police Question 15 Guards In Bordeaux Riot Enquiry,” Montreal Gazette. August 6, 1952. Page 13.

“Fifteen guards of Bordeaux Jail were questioned yesterday as a special Provincial Police board of enquiry began its official investigation into the cause of Friday’s wild rioting.

Questioning jail personnel was the first step in efforts to uncover the identity of prisoners responsible for the second mass outbreak in less than three months at Bordeaux.

‘I don’t know how many ringleaders there are, but there’s quite a number of them.’ Inspector General Norbert Labbe, Provincial Police officer in charge of security at the riot-torn jail, told The Gazette

Once sufficient evidence has been gathered against the men responsible for the riot, he said, a full report will be sent to the attorney-general’s department in Quebec.

Whatever action is taken – and a source close to the jail administration said the ringleaders ‘won’t escape scot-free this time’ – will depend on Quebec authorities.

Inspector Labbe said such action would likely include charges of inciting a riot, causing damage to property, conspiracy, and assault against jail guards.

The rioters, he said, attacked several guards, set fires and caused widespread damage to the jail in their six-hour smashing spree.

The special police board of enquiry is headed by four top-ranking detectives: Marcel Patenaude, Ubald Legault, Donat Mayer and P. Jodouin.

Guards interviewed yesterday were among the 20 reported on duty when 700 prisoners protested against food and took over control of the jail Friday night. Other guards are expected to follow to-day.

Convicts suspected of having started the riot, and others who took part in it, will then be heard by the board.  The investigation, which will try to establish grievances of the inmates as well as cause of the latest uprising, will take two weeks.

Meanwhile all but 12 prisoners have been returned to Bordeaux Jail from downtown cells where they were taken following Friday’s flare-up. Still lodged at Provincial Police headquarters are five men awaiting execution, four awaiting trial for murder and three awaiting deportation or other unspecified penalties.

Inspector Labbe, who has denied prisoners’ claims that the riot was caused by food, hinted that men had revolted against stern disciplinary measures at the Black River institution.

He said 900 patients in the mental wing were not getting the best of meals, including turkey, cooked at Notre Dame de la Merci Hospital near the jail.

About 500 other jail inmates have been getting better food than that served them before the riot.

Inspector Labbe denied reports that six prisoners had been lodged in solitary confinement yesterday for a half-hearted attempt to revive week-end rioting.

‘We’ve got matters under perfect control now and we’re keeping enough guards and policemen around to discourage any further outbreak.’

He said two of the six wings of the jail were operating normally. Burned mattresses had been replaed, cell locks repaired and smashed toilets fixed.”

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