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Posts Tagged ‘prison guards’

“I don’t put the blame on prison guards. They’re only workers. They’re not inanimate things, cement walls that can neither see nor hear nor think. Most of them didn’t choose their jobs; they ended up there because they thought they had no other choice. I’ve spent a total of twelve years inside walls, behind bars and fences, and I’ve never met a prison guard in whom I saw no trace of myself. I never met a guard who had dreamed that patrolling a convict yard would be the daily content of his life. Very few of those I’ve met admitted to never having dreamed, never having imagined themselves proud of projects undertaken with one or several genuine friends. Was our point of departure the same, and were we at some point interchangeable? How much has each of us contributed to what each has undergone? If a guard ever dreamed, was it of prisons and camps that he dreamed, and was he my jailer-to-be already then?”

– Fredy Perlman, Letters of Insurgents.

Published by Black and Red Press, Detroit, 1976.

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“Rebellion Hits 4th City Jail – 3 Injured; Hostages Total 24,” New York Sunday News. October 4, 1970.

Their Fate In Prisoner’s Hands.

A Wildfire of Anger from Jail to Jail

Our Reporter Takes a Long Walk in a Dark Place

Get a Behind-Bars Hearing.

[AL: I’m not going to transcribe all of these articles about the prisoner revolt in New York in 1970, but read more with these excerpts (Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.) from Toussaint Losier’s article “Against ‘law and order’ lockup: the 1970 NYC jail rebellions,” Race & Class, 2017, Vol. 59 (1).]  

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“La prise d ’otages,
l’épouvante moderne,” La Presse. September 5, 1979. Page I-2.

par
Chris MORRIS

DORCHESTER, N.-B. (PC) – Un prisonnier

transféré du pénitencier
de Millhaven en Ontario
à la prison du 19e siècle
à sécurité maximum de
ce village de l’est du
Nouveau-Brunswick a
dit que c’était commes il était passé d’Auschiwtz à un camps de
scouts.

S’ils en est ainsi, pourquoi
ce pénitencier semblable à une forteresse
avec ses murs de pierre
et ses tourelles fu t-il le
lieu de ceré cit d’épouvante
moderne: la prise
d’otages?
Il semble que les deux
drames de ces deux dernières
années ne furent
que des aberrations et
non des manifestations
du mécontentement répandus parmi les 300
prisonniers de Dorchester.

Situé sur une colline
parmi des terres de culture
près de la frontière
entre

le Nouveau-Brunswick et la Nouvelle-Ecosse, 

ce pénitencier sombre , à l’aspect
rébarbatif, est considéré

comme
relativement agréable par les criminels
et l’administration.

Qu’on leur laisse le
choix et beaucoup de
endur cis prisonniers
iront à Dorchester plutôt
qu’à une autre maison
de détention. L’un deux
a déclaré dans une interView
que les conditions y
étaient meilleures que
dans tout autre pénitencier,
prisonniers et gardes
y étant plus amènes.

Depuis janvier 1978, il
y a cependant eu là deux
prises d’otages. — des
gardes.

La pire des deux, selon
le directeur suppléant
Gerald G reen, fut la
deuxième, du 30 avril au
2 mai 1979.

Un fou furieux
Un condamné à 14 ans
pour tentative de meurtre
s’est emparé d’un
garde et d’un professeur
d’atelier et les a torturés.

M. Greene raconte que
le prisonnier Gerald
MacDonald a arraché
les ongles du professeur
au moyen de tenailles et
lui a brûlé les mains. Le
garde a été libéré apres
avoir été frappé à l ’estomac à coup de tournevis.

M. Greene dit que
MacDonald a va it alors
le cerveau dérangé.
Une prise d’otages au
début de 1978 a duré 128
heures. Deux détenus du
Québec ont enlevé un

garde et réclamé leur
transfert à un péniten­cier de leur province
natale.

Personne n’a été blessé
au cours du siège et
les prisonniers furent
plus tard transférés à
une unité spéciale du
pénitencier à sécurité
maximum de Laval, au
Quebec.

M. Greene dit que les
gardes n’en sont pas
devenus amers pour
autant et que l’on n’a
pas pris depuis de pre ­cautions spéciales.

Dorchester est un établissement à sécurité
moyenne plus qu’à sécurité maximum comme
Millhaven à Kingston en Ontario. IL y a une salle
de visite grande ouverte
ou les prisonniers assis à
des tables peuvent causer
avec leurs hôtes et
même les étreindre. Et
les relations sont plutôt
bonnes entre prisonniers
et gardes.

Selon M. Greene, il
serait facile de prendre
des otages, particulièrement au cours de collo ques ou durant les leçons
aux prisonniers dans les
ateliers.

«Ce n’est pas (la prise
d’otages) quelque chose
que l’on peut arrêter par
des mesures supplémentaires
de sécurité: bien
plus, ces mesures mêmes pourraient gâcher
les relations avec les
détenus.

«Si l’on prend trop de
précautions, les prisons
ne deviennent rien d’autre
que des enclos pour
animaux dangereux, ce
qui n’a pas de sens.»

Comparaisons

M. Greene trouve les
détenus des Maritimes
différents des autres. Ils
ne sont pas. en général,
des criminels aussi
«sophistiqués» que ceux
de l’O n ta rio et du Québec.
dit-il.

«Nous n’avons pas
vraim nt de crime organise
et cela compte en
m atière de sécurité.»

Jack McLaughlin, âgé
de 41 ans, vient de Montréal. Il purge une sentence
de dix ans et il
reconnaît que les mesures
de sécurité et la
composition de la population
pénitentiaire sont
différentes de celles des
prisons ou il a séjourné
de puis l’âge de 21 ans.
C’est lui qui a compa­ré Dorchester et Millhaven.
respectivement,
à un camp de scouts et à
Auschwitz.
«J’ai constaté»

dit-il,
que la plupart des prisonniers, ici, viennent disent
des Maritimes. Ils n’ont
pas passé par des unités
spéciales comme celles
du Québec et de Millhaven
où les gaz lacrymogènes et les coups
sont d ’usage courant.

«Les prisonniers d’ici
trouvent ça dur, mais il
n’y a pas eu de vraie sémeutes. Il y a rarement
des batailles, et quand il
y en a c’est aux poings .
Depuis trois ans que je
suis ici, aucun prisonnier s’a été grièvement
blessé.»

McLaulghlin parle avec beaucoup d’amertume
de Millhaven de mauvais traitements et d’actes
de brutalité qu’il attribue
aux gardes.

Faisant à l’envie des
comparaisons entre
Millhaven et Dorchester,
il dit qu’à ce dernier
endroit, contrairem ent
aux autres pénitenciers
et prisons qu’il connaît les gardes disent

«bonjour» le matin aux
prisonniers et s’informent de leur état de santé.

D’après McLaughlin,
s’ il y a jamais des prises
d’otages, des arrêts de
travail, des grèves sur le
tas à Dorchester , ce ne
peut être que par suite
de l’accumulation de
frustrations. Un incident
mineur, la goutte proverbiale qui…

Membre du comité de
liaison entre les prisonniers
et l’administration, McLaughlin dit
qu’il ne se soucie pas des
pénitenciers qui ne peuvent,
de toute façon,
aider à la réhabilitation
des criminels.

«Je ne m’intéresse
plus à rien. Je n’ai pas
de sentiments . Voilà ce
que le système carcéral
a fait de moi.

«Je n’ai absolument
plus de sentiments. Je
suis devenu froid.»

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“Con cracks as hostage drama ends,” Montreal Gazette. August 29, 1980. Page 01 & 3.

By EDDIE COLLISTER
of The Gazette

The prison hostage drama at Laval Institute ended peacefully yesterday – but not before one of the convicts cracked under the three-day strain and nearly touched off a bloodbath.

Shortly before 10.15 a.m., the convict – who wasn’t identified – began crying and shouting that he was going to kill himself, or someone else.

‘If he shoots himself, don’t open fire,’ the commanding officer of the prison guards barked over his walkie-talkie to one of the 20 sharpshooters who had his high-powered rifle trained on the out-of-control convict.

The crisis was defused when other convicts calmed the unidentified inmate. Minutes later, they all surrendered, throwing their guns and hand-made knives over the wire fence that separated them from the outside world, and stripping to their underwear.

Last eight freed
The last eight of the 12 hostages taken Monday morning were freed. Some were dazed and so weak they had to be supported as they walked. They were taken to the prison’s staff college for tearful reunions with families and to be examined by a doctor.

‘They were tired and stressed but not physically harmed,’ a prison official said after the hostages had left for their homes. None of hostages was available for comment, but the daughter of prison instructor John Niewerth, 51, told The Gazette, her father went to sleep as soon as he arrived home.

Throughout the more than 74-hour standoof, prison officials refused to give into demands.

The convicts and hostages were were only fed twice: a sandwich on Tuesday and another early yesterday – both after first releasing hostages.

25-year terms
The convicts, all but one of them serving mandatory 25-year terms, most for murder, will spend the next six months in solitary confinement at the nearby Correctional Development Centre.

Solitary is designed to give the convicts time to think ‘so they don’t do it again,’ said warden Pierre Viau.

He said the inmates gave up because ‘they knew they were in a hopeless situation.’ The convicts and hostages had sat and slept in the open outside the prison’s 30-foot-high brick wall through rain and scorching sun since early Monday.

Officials said two convicted illers, Edgard Roussel and Roger Duhamel, both 33, appeared to be ringleaders in the escape attempt that went awry. Duhamel, a police-killer, had resigned as president of Laval’s prisoner committee a week before the escape try, and he negotiated for the convicts during the standoff.

It was the third hostage incident involving Roussel, who was transferred from the Correctional Development Centre only seven weeks ago.

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“Despondent Over His Time,” Kingston Daily Standard. August 1, 1912. Page 02.

Convict Shaw, Suicide, Had Been Brooding.

He Had Petioned For His Parole, But It Was Not Granted – Had Been A Model Prisoner.

That convict James Shaw, who was found hanged in his cell at the Penitentiary yesterday morning, had been brooding for some time, because the department had not granted his parole, was brought out in the evidence given before the Coroner’s jury which inquired into the death last night.

Several guards gave evidence to the effect that the deceased had been morose and despondent for about two months. A convict in the cell adjoining Shaw stated that he had expected something would happen, when he was told that Shaw had suicided. In his evidence to the jury this prisoner swore that Shaw told him on Tuesday afternoon that he would never spend another holiday in the Penitentiary and that if something did not come of his petition, he would end it all. All the witnesses testified to the convict having been a model prisoner. He was quiet and obedient and had never given any trouble.

The last to see Shaw alive were two of the night watchmen. In their evidence they stated that apparently he was asleep when they passed on their rounds about 4.50 on Tuesday morning. He was discovered dead on the next round about 5.45.

The verdict of the jury was to the effect that the deceased came to his death by his own hand by hanging, and that any blame could be placed on the officials.

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#8580 –
Inmate no: D-981 – 13 rpt.

Name: G. Porter 

Report:  For leaving his machine and going to a window talking to another convict. When told to come away he said, ‘By Jesus I will go to that window and I will be on equal footing with you some day.’

Signature of Reporting Officer: Geo. O. Aiken, Gd.

Punishment other than loss of remission: Dungeon 2 days + P. cell 3 days.

#8581
Inmate no: D-217 – 297
                   D-721 – 376

Name:  H. McHesney
             R. Young

Report: Were engaged in conversation while approaching sewer

Signature of Reporting Officer: G. Davidson, Gd.

Punishment other than loss of remission: Admonished

Days Remission forfeited, carried to Ledger: 3

– Kingston Penitentiary, July 28th, 1905

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“Strap Mercer Riot Leaders, Says Official,” Toronto Star. July 19, 1948. Page 01.

Ringleaders in the Mercer reformatory riot were strapped, A. R. Virgin, director of reform institutions, said today. He was commenting on the statement of a woman in police court today that prisoners ‘were beaten black and blue’ and tear gas used.

Asked if this was correct, Mr. Virgin said he was not going to deny or confirm it, but that ‘we do not hesitate to use tear gas whenever we find it necessary.’

There has been no more trouble at Guelph, he added. He said the men are working hard and those kept in the exercise yard and dormitories are punishment for a demonstration agaisnt the food ‘seemed sorry they had caused trouble.’

Lights in the whole of Ontario reformatory were blazing at 11 o’clock last night, but there was no trouble, Mr. Virgin stated. He said lights usually were out at 10 p.m. Passengers on a train that passes near the reformatory said it was unusual to see the lights on at such a late hour.

‘I just got out of the Mercer last Friday,’ the woman, Lillian Johnson, 50, said in police court, when charged with being drunk, ‘and my nerves were shot after the riots.’

After a list of previous drunk convictions was read by the court clerk, Magistrate Elmore imposed sentence of 40 days.

‘You can’t send me back there,’ said the woman. ‘Why didn’t they print the truth about how we were beaten and given tear gas. I wasn’t in the riot, but I saw those girls beaten black and blue.’

A police matron and a court policeman struggled with accused several minutes before removing her to the cells.

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