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

Provincial Secretary Holds Inquiry as to Handling of Prisoners
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TRANSFERS TO JAIL FARM

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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“Rush 130 Prisoners Westward,” Globe and Mail. July 13, 1938. Page 01.

Portsmouth Convicts Are Closely Guarded on Train Journey

Probe News Leak

Overcrowding Reported as Reason for Move

Rolling along toward Western Canada on special schedule, its movements masked in official secrecy, is a ‘mystery’ train of five containing 130 Kingston Penitentiary convicts who were placed aboard near Collins Bay Prison Tuesday afternoon for distribution among Western institutions.

Overcrowding of Kingston Penitentiary is the reason given for the transfer of the prisoners, but not even this fact could be learned from an official source. It was planned to move the convicts in deep secrecy, without a word leaking out to the press. But something went wrong, and the Federal Department of Justice intends to probe the whole affair and find out, if possible, how the closely guarded plan became public property. Guards patrolled the area while the prisoners were being marched on the train and they kept the curious at distance.

Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police guarded the prisoners. Coach windows were specially barred as an added precaution. No stops were scheduled, but illness of one of the prisoners forced a stop at Hastings, where Dr. J. A. MacDonald was called to give treatment. The prisoner was not removed to hospital. Guards patrolled both sides of the train during the 45-minute stop and all observers were barred. At 7.30 p.m. yesterday the train left for Peterborough and Lindsay, and passed through these centres with little delay. Engines were changed at Lindsay in a few minutes.

There are two penitentiaries on the prairies: Stony Mountain in Manitoba, twenty miles from Winnipeg, and Prince Albert, just outside Prince Albert, Sask.

The recent report of the Royal Commission on Prisons emphasized the overcrowded condition of Kingston Penitentiary, where cell accommodation is insufficient to take care of all the inmates.

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