Posts Tagged ‘prison farm’

“Puts Blame on City Officials,” Toronto Globe. September 21, 1917. Page 05.

Provincial Secretary Holds Inquiry as to Handling of Prisoners

Hon. W. D. McPherson Gives Figures Compiled After He Had the Meeting With Mayor Church.

Any delay that takes place in the removal of prisoners from the Toronto Jail to the Municipal Farm is attributable to the city officials, according to Hon. W. D. McPherson, Provincial Secretary, who yesterday made an investigation into the transfer and handling of prisoners at the Municipal Farm. Mayor Church declared on Wednesday that the city had purchased the farm and the government insisted that the prisoners should be kept in the city jail.

Provincial Secretary’s Statement.
Mr. McPherson made the promised investigation yesterday, after which he issued the following statement:

‘The Provincial Secretary’s Department receives a daily statement from the head turnkey of the Toronto Jail of the male and female population at the jail each day. Yesterday there were 84 male prisoners and 23 female. Of the 81 male prisoners, 50 were remands, whose cases had not been disposed of by the Court, consequently no transfer could be made from the jail to the Municipal Farm of any of them, as they are required to be in attendance at the Court on such day as they cases have been remanded to. Eighteen of the women in the same position. This leaves a total of men whose cases had been disposed of, or 34, and five women. Under the arrangement between the Provincial Secretary’s Department and City Commissioner Chisholm. 11 male prisoners are at all times required to be kept at the jail for the performance of necessary duties, which, if not performed by prisoners, would require to be performed by paid labor.

Handling the Prisoners.
‘Deducting this 11 would leave, yesterday, 20 men who had been sentenced, and of these two were for sentences of five days each, two were for sentences of 10 days each, two were required to be held for the Federal authorities for transfer to Kingston Penitentiary. One is a man of 83 years of age, too infirm to be of any value at the Municipal Farm. One requires to be held at the jail as a witness in a pending case, and warrants had been issued earlier in the day by the Inspector of Prisons, as is his daily custom, to the Sheriff of the city of Toronto for removal to the Municipal Farm of those prisoners who should go there, and to the Provincial Bailiff for the prisoners who should go to the Provincial Institution at Burwash, according to the length of their various sentences.

Ten Women in City Jail.
‘Of the five women whose cases had been disposed of and who were sentenced, three, I regret to say, were suffering from disease which unfitted them for life at the Women’s Industrial Farm at Concord, and in the case of the other two, their sentences were for five days each.

‘As soon as the Inspectors of Prisons receives the daily statement from the head turnkey, warrants are immediately issued to the Sheriff of Toronto, authorizing the necessary transfers of the Toronto prisoners, also warrants are issued to the Provincial Bailiff for the transfers of those prisoners whose sentence is for a period long enough to require them to be transferred to a Provincial Institution. When the warrant is issued by the Inspector to the Sheriff, the prisoner passes from the control of the department to the control of the city officials, and whatever delay there may be in making the transfers is referable to them and not to our department.’

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“Jail Farm ‘Trusty’ Beaten Up on Street,” Toronto Globe. September 8, 1916. Page 06.

Hendry Rodebar, 94 ½ Front Street east, a ‘trusty’ at the Jail Farm, was brutally beaten last night on Front street east by Timothy Kelly, 18 Milne street, who was a prisoner on the farm while Rodebar was serving his term. Constable Jarvis came upon Kelly, who was ‘putting the boots’ to Rodebar in the most approved waterfront fashion, to the apparent satisfaction of lodgers from the ten-cent bed-houses. Rodebar is alleged to have talked too freely to the prison officials when he was on the farm.

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‘Conscience Bothered Him,” Toronto Globe. September 7, 1916. Page 05.

Escaped Prisoner Returned to Canada – Conduct Will Determine Term.

(Special Despatch to The Globe.)
Guelph, Sept. 6 – John McDonald and Timothy Ryan, escaped prisoners from the Reformatory here, appeared before Magistrate Watt this morning to answer the charge of jail breaking. Each pleaded guilty, and agreed to be tried summarily by the Magistrate. Each got a determinate sentence of three months and an indeterminate sentence of two years less one day. The time they will serve now depends on their behavior and the Parole Board. Ryan escaped from the Farm here on June 18th and made his way to the United States. He says his conscience bothered him and he decided to return to Canada, and was captured at Welland on August 26th, shortly after he returned to this country. He was doing a year for theft at the time of his escape. McDonald escaped on December 15, 1915, and was not recaptured until the 16th of August, 1916. He had been doing six months for vagrancy, being sent from Kingston.

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“Stay on Job After Release From Prison,” Toronto Star. August 18, 1910. Page 01.

Road Making Seems to Suit Men Working on Highways in New Ontario.

Reports of good progress have been received at the Parliament Buildings from the two camps of prisoners which have been established in New Ontario. One camp has been located at Matheson for some weeks, and the other, consisting of 22 men, is working away on the seven-mile stretch of road between Porcupine and Hill’s Landing.

Fifty prisoners are now at work between Matheson and Hawk Lake, and four miles of the road have been graded. The clearing, which is in charge of free labor, has proceeded for five miles. Several of the prisoners have been hired with the free gang on the clearing work after securing their release, and are now drawing Government pay.

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“It’s the Last of the Prison Labor,” Toronto Star. August 2, 1910. Page 01.

The Final Contract of the Central Will Expire With This Month.

It Will Not Be Renewed

150 Prisoners on Guelph Farm and 150 for Roadmaking in Newer Ontario.

By the beginning of next month there will be no prison labor contracts between private firms and the Ontario Government. The Taylor-Scott woodenware contract, the only survivor of a long list, expires on September first, and, according to Hon. W. J. Hanna, Provincial Secretary, will not be renewed.

The firm itself was expecting this announcement, for it is in accord with the general policy of the Government.

The cordage contract with Converse and Company did not run out legally until yesterday, but in reality it was closed on June 1st. Half of the men were relieved of their duties on May 1st, and the rest one month later. The Government asked the cordage company if they had any objection to giving up the contract earlier than specified. They were quite willing, for they said that they were not making a cent out of it.

The establishment of the new Provincial prison farm at Guelph means the end of the contract labor system.

Of the four men at Central Prison fully 150 will be kept at Guelph from now on, in construction and general farm work. One hundred men will be used in the north in constructing roads and colonization work.

The 150 who remain will make goods, but not for public sale. They will be sold only to state-aided and supported institutions.

‘For example,’ said Mr. Hanna to The Star this afternoon, ‘the 102 hospitals in the Province will be expected to get our price on supplies before they order elsewhere, and if they find the price and quality favorable, they will be required to buy from us. This will apply also to asylums and other State institutions.

Among the articles to be manufactured for this purpose will be beds and blankets and similar supplies.

‘We had no fault to find with the Taylor-Scott Company,’ said Mr. Hanna. ‘Their contract was as good as any prison labor contract can be. It is simply a part of our avowed Provincial prison policy.’

The Taylor-Scott Company have been manufacturing for general sale only, eleven lines of woodenware, as compared with sixty-five which formerly entered into competition with free labor. These eleven lines are as follows: Washboards, children’s sleighs, stepladders, Indian clubs, dumb-bells, clothes horses, broom and mop handles, pantry and skirt boards, toy chairs, toy carts, croquet mallets.

Much of their output has gone outside of the country to Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

The whole system of prison reform, including the doing away with prison contracts, was foreshadowed in the now widely-known speech of W. J. Hanna, delivered in the Legislature on February 26, 1907. The following is an extract from that speech:

‘The problem is to reduce the competition of convict labor to a minimum and especially to reduce the proportion of prison-made goods that are sold in the open maarket. From that date (1874, the establishment of the Central Prison) we have had prison labor under contract in this province – always under protest always without any satisfactory solution.’

Even at that early date, Mr. Hanna outlined the details of the new prison farm scheme.

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“A Farm for the Poor of Toronto,” Toronto Star. August 2, 1910. Page 02.

Where Aged, Infirm or Sick People May Be Taken Care of by the City.


From the Institution at Cleveland – Replace the Present Charities.

Will Toronto have an industrial farm like that established at Cleveland, O., seven years ago by ex-Mayor Tom L. Johnson?

Controller Spence and Aldermen John O’Neill and David Spence, who were appointed to deal with the question of establishing an industrial farm here, returned from Cleveland this morning with Property Commissioner Harris, after making an inspection of the institution in connection with that city.

The delegation were much impressed by what they saw, and the information they secured, much of which will be valuable in working out a scheme to establish such a farm in or near this city.

The Cleveland institution is called ‘Cooley Farms,’ after Rev. Dr. Harris Cooley, who planned and effected the organization. It is situated at Warrensville, Ohio, ten miles from the centre of Cleveland, and can be reached by trolley in forty-five minutes. The farm covers a space 2 ½ miles long and ½ miles wide, containing about 1,900 acres of land. The farm is divided into three sections: the infirmary portion, containing 1000 acres, the misdemeanants section, of 800 acres, and the cemetery of 60 acres.

The infirmary cares for curable tuberculosis patients, the harmless insane, and indigents, both sexes being received. One section is devoted to the accommodation of aged people, a separate flat being reserved for husbands and wives, who are permitted to live together. The infirmary can care for 800 people, while the land and buildings devoted to misdemeanants has a capacity of 400.

It is proposed to abolish the workhouse in the city proper, and house all the inmates at the farm.

The greater portion of the land is under cultivation, and the institution is supplied almost wholly with the products of the farm. This, however, does not apply to meat consumption, as comparatively little live stock is raised as yet.

The infirmary and workhouse buildings are widely separated. They are two storeys in height, of cement fireproof construction, roofed with Spanish tile, and are formed with a large oblong space in the centre. In the last-named division armed guards are unknown, their places being taken by farm and mechanical instructors. The men work in the field practically without supervision, except as to methods, and the annual number of escapes since inception average but 7 per cent.

The indeterminate sentence plan is not in vogue, a parole system, which is not regarded as so satisfactory, taking its place. The offender is fined a certain amount and works out the fine at a per diem rate of 60 cents.

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“‘Big Push’ Has Begun On The Drug Habit,” Toronto Star. July 28, 1916. Page 14.

Three Cases Were Tried To-Day and Two Jail Farm Sentences Given.


One of Those Charged Said Dead Mother Had Owned Paraphernalia

From the fact that three cases of alleged illegal use of morphine and other related opiates followed each other in the Police Court calendar to-day, it would appear that the police had begun to start their ‘big push’ against the ‘coke’ traffic, which recent convictions would seem to prove was waxing as the liquor traffic waned.

An elaborate outfit, consisting of hypodermic needles, syringes, a pair of scales and a quantity of morphine sulphate, approximating to 60 grains, formed substantial evidence against Harry Fontroy. Plainclothesmen Scott and Neill testified to having found the foregoing line-up in Fontroy’s possession and to have caught him in the act of injecting the illegal drug in his arm.

The young man, who has both African and Chinese blood in his veins, claimed that he had been cured of the habit. ‘That outfit belonged to my mother, who died two weeks ago. I found it in her drawer,’ he pleaded. Inspector Geddes disproved this claim by quoting a statement which the young man had made to him. He had admitted that he was ‘tapering off with 30 grains a day.’

‘The last time he appeared on this charge he was given leniency on the understanding that he inform the police the source of his illegal supplies. He has not done this.’ said Mr. Corley. Col. Denison committed him to the jail farm for five months.

‘Coke’ Vendor Jailed.
In addition to the foregoing charge, that of having morphine in his possession for other than medicinal purposes, had coupled against him the police claim that he had sold the drug.

In his possession had been found some dozen packages of both cocaine and morphine which Drake had acknowledged he had been in the habit of selling for a dollar a package.

‘This man, I hear, has been taking from 30 to 40 grains a day,’ said the Crown Attorney.

‘He has had consumption for the last eight or nine years,’ his wife stated in explanation of his drug habit.

‘I am curing him slowly,’ she added.

Drake also goes to the jail farm for a five-month ‘cure.’ In the woman’s court Tillie Evans faced with the same charge received a remand for a week.

Proof Enough.
The actions of Isaac Gilbert spoke louder than his words in proving the charge of drunkeness and disorderliness alleged against him. Eveidence showed that he endeavored to take on six feet two of solid constanbulary muscle, and in addition ‘lick the whole street.’

‘You must have been very drunk,’ sighed the squire. An added count against him was his association with a team of horses. The squire felt grieved that the noble animals had to witness such an orgy of inebriation. Remanded for sentences.

Quick Work.
One minute sufficed to change Jerry Long from a prisoner in the dock with a long and substantial record of drunkeness into laborer with the prospect of two months’ healthy toil ahead. Squire Ellis merely looked at Long and knew that his record resembled his name. Twnety dollars and costs or sixty days.

Got the Habit.
Jeremiah Flaherty has the polishing habit. He, according to his own statement, polishes off brass in the day time, and according to the constable, polishes off drinks in quick succession at night. Yesterday he appeared on the same charge. It was but a little drop ‘for his stomach’s sake,’ he claimed. Remanded for sentence.

As both Sandy Jaegar and John Jacobson with one accord disclaimed responsibility for the hostilities in whcih they were found engaged, the court presumed that it must have been the heat of a case of spontaneous combustion. Police evidence, however, tended to show that Jacobson had figured prominently, both at the start and the finish. He was fined $2 and costs or ten days.

‘Pinched’ a Pom.
That Daniel J. O’Shea should consider a pomeranian dog worth the trouble of annexing, appeared rather strange to Col. Denison when O’Shea pleaded guilty to the offence. The owner placed the value at over $10. ‘I consider dogs worth about ten cents gross,’ interjected his Worship. ‘The man stole the dog and sold it to a Mr. Walters for $10,’ explained the Crown Attorney. ‘Mr. Walters subsequently saw the animal advertised for, and at once communicated with the police. O’Shea, who had ‘blown in’ the proceeds of his act, was remanded one week for sentence, on the understanding that restitution would be made. Pinky Pankey Poo was permitted to meander home with his mistress.

Poetry and Prose.
Frank Martin’s poetry, prose and actions are equally bad, according to Squire Ellis’ ruling after a perusal of all. On a grimy car the alleged poet submitted the following:

‘To-day a poor cripple appeales for your aid.
Don’t turn with a sneer or a frown,
For God in His Mercy is the only one knows
When a loved one of yours will go down.’

The prose followed.

‘Price – Please give what you wish.’

His actions, described by himself, were living an exemplary life, and the brisk bartering of many pencils, described by several feminine witnesses, they consist of the exploitation of the grimy quatrain, a fond pressure of the hand, and the claim that he was a wounded warrior back from the war. – $50 and costs or six months.

Not content with the profit pouring into the coffers of his ice-cream soda fountain by reason of the weatherman’s climbing thermometer, Dragutin Radinrobitch, according to the police, ran a sideline in the form of a gambling den. The charge alleged that he permitted these quiet numbers round the table in his ice-cream parlors. Four guilty – $20 and costs or 30 days.

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