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“12 autres années de bagne pour Racine,” La Presse. November 21, 1980. Page A4.

Les tribulationsjudiciaires de Denis «Poker» Racine, 24 ans, en marge de toutes les frasques qu’il a commises ces derniers mois, bien qu’il ait été en prison depuis près de quatre ans, font partie de l’histoire ancienne depuis sa condamnation à 12 années additionnelles de bagne par le juge Jean-Guy Boilard, en Cour criminelle de Saint-Jérôme.

Cette peine, qui est consécutive à toute autre que peut purger Racine,vient de lui être imposée après qu’il eut été reconnu coupable, au terme du procès qu’il a subi au début du mois, pours a participation à une prise d’otages qui a duré 57 heures, au pénitencier Archambault de Sainte Anne-des-Plaines, en septembre 1979. 

Enprononçant cette sentence qu’il a qualifiée de sévère, le juge Boilard a expliqué qu’il avait pris en considération l’important rôle qu’avait tenu «Poker» Racine au cours de l’événement. L’un des trois mutins qu il’accompagnaient, Pierre Thibault, âgé de 20 ans, avait notamment été acquitté, après qu’il eut été établi qu’il avait justement été forcé par Racine à prendre part à la mutinerie.

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“Racine s’était évadé du
Palais de Justice avec
un otage: 4 ans de bagne ,” La Presse. October 1, 1980. Page H-12.

Denis «Poker»
Racine, le jeune
homme de 21 ans qui
avait réussi à s’évader du Palais de justice,
le 21 mars dernier,
alors qu’il plaidait lui même sa cause devant
la Cour d’appel,
et en séquestrant
momentanément une
femme greffier en la
menaçant d’un couteau,
a écopé d’une
peinte totale de quatre années de pénitencier,
hier, devant le
juge Guy Guerin.

En prononçant cette
peine, le magistrat
avait souligné qu’il
fallait comprendre,
sans qu’il soit excusable,
l’esprit de revolte
de ce jeune homme
qui avait quitté le
domicile familial à
l’âge de 12 ans, pour
ensuite être «trimballe»
d’institution en
institution, et finalement
aboutir à Pinel,
au moment de sa
majorité.

«Très certainement
que la Société a lt
droit de demander
protection aux tribunaux
dans des cas de
ce genre, de dire le
juge, mais on doit
également convenir
qu’elle récolte les
fruits amers qu’elle a
semés, l’accusé ayant
le droit, lui aussi, de
poser la question:
«Qu’avez-vous fait
pour moi. alors que
j’avais douze et quinze
ans».

Avant que le tribunal
ne se prononce
définitivement sur
son cas. Racine avait  voulu lui-même rappeler que sa situation
avait dramatiquement changé il y a
une dizaine de jours à
peine. Et pour le
mieux, cette fois.

Alors qu’il purgeait
une peine de prison à
vie pour meurtre au
premier degré (celui
d’un adolescent à qui
on avait voulu voler
son veston de cuir, à
la Place des Nations),
la Cour d’appel avait
modifié le verdict,
pour meurtre au second
degré, et sans
recommandation
quant à la période de
détention minimale
qu’il devra purger.

«Je considérais la
première peine comme
inhumaine, dit-il.
Je ne serais sorti du
bagne qu’ à 16 ans.
Mais, aujourd’hui, je
puis envisager d’être
libéré dans environ
six ans. Ce n’est plus
la même chose, j’ai
repris espoir, et j’espère aussi que vous
n’ajouterez pas vous même
à ce châtiment
déjà lourd.»

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“«Poker» Racine en voie de réhabilitation?” La Presse, September 20, 1980. Page F-28.

LEOPOLD  LIZOTTE

Denis «Poker » Racine, 24 ans, déjà douze
années de démêlées avec la justice derrire
lui. ballotté tout au long de son adolescence
d’une maison de correction à une autre, pour
finalement aboutir à Pinel et au bagne, aurait-il
compris, au cours des dernières heures,
que les juges n’étaient pas nécessairement
rancuniers, et la justic e fatalement
vengeresse? 

Airs qu’il y a quelques mois, il n’avait
apparemment en tête qu’un projet, celui de
quitter le pénitencier par tous les moyens,
hier, il a reconnu sa culpabilité à trois accusations
graves qui lui vaudront peut-être
deux ou trois autres années, à cet endroit.

Et le jeune homme super-agressif qui
avait fait pied de nez à la cour et aux autorités
policières, le 24 mars dernier, avait même
un certain air de repentence, lorsqu’il a reconnu
s’être évadé de la Cour d’appel en pointant
un «pic» sur la gorge d’une greffière pour
sortir de la sall e d’audienc e sans ennuis,
après avoir «désatmé» un garde, et quitter le
Palais de justice dix-sept étages plus bas,
après avoir retenu son otage pendant tout ce
temps.

Que s’est-il donc passé entre-temps?

C’est très impie, pourrait-on dire.

Lundi, son avocat. Me Dominique Talerico,
de l’Aide juridique, plaidait justement
devant cette même Cour d’appel son pourvoi
contre la condamnation à vie qui lui avait été
imposé e pour le meurtre, commis en 1977,
d’un adolescent à qui l’on avait voulu voler sa
veste de cuir.

L e verdic t du jury en avant été un de
meurtre au premier degré, il faisait face à la
détention ferme pour vingt-cinq ans.

Mais devant trois juges du plus haut tribunal
québécois, différents il est vrai de ceux
qui avaient ét é témoins de son évasion du
printemps, il plaida que la préméditation
n’avait pas ét é été prouvée , dans ce cas, et
que, partant, c’était un verdict de meurtre au
deuxième degré qui aurait dû être rendu.

La cour se déclar a du même avis, et la
condamnation fut conséquemment modifiée.

Restait à déterminer la sentence. Ou, tout
au moins, la durée minimale ce celle-ci.

Jeudi, les trois magistrats décidaient
donc, dans un autre temps de ne prononcer
aucune ordonnance, sur ce sujet. Ce qui veut
donc dire que Racine, au mieux-aller, pourrait
être remis en liberté après dix années
seulement de sa peine à perpétuité.

Et, selon son avocat, c’est ce qui a tout
changé.

Alors qu’il voulait combattre, et tout seul
au besoin, les accusations à la preuve aussi
évidente que suabondante, la double décision
de la Cour d’appel semble avoir tout changé
chez lui, a-t-il dit hier au juge Guérin.

Ce n’est plus le jeune homme qui faisait,
face à un quart de siècle au bagne, et qui n’a
pratiquement rien à perdre.

Il peut maintenant espérer.

Quant au procureur de la Couronne, M e
Contran Chamard, il n’a aucunement
«chargé» contre le prévenu qui, pendant deux
jours, avait été littéralement considéré
comme l’ennemi public no. 1, dans la métropole,
avant qu’il ne soit coincé dans une luxueuse
chambre de l’hôtel Bonaventure, où sa
bombance avait pris fin plus rapidement que
prévu.

Il a réclamé une année de détention pour
son évasion, deux autres pour la séquestration
de la greffière, et une autre pour avoir
tiré un coup de feu dans l’un des murs de
l’austère salle d’audience principale du plus
haut tribunal québécois.

Ces peines seront-elles concurrentes entre
elles? Ou s’ajouteront-elles à la peine à vi e
qui peut prendr e fin après dix ans, maintenant?

C’est ce que le juge Guérin décidera le 30.

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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

À

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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“Evasions à Archambault,” La Presse. September 11, 1980. Page B12.

La police recherche deux prisonniers qui se sont évadés, tôt hier, du pénitencier fédéral Archambault à sécurité maximale. 

Michel Lafleur, 30 ans, qui purge une peine de 11 ans pour divers crimes, et Gilles Lavery, 23 ans, en prison pour 10 ans pour tentative de vol à main armée, tentative de meurtre et une évasion antérieure, ont tous les deux été décrits par la police comme étant «très dangereux».
 
Ils se sont évadés de la prison de Sainte Anne-des-Plaines, au nord de Montréal, vers 01h00 hier matin, après avoir scié les barreaux de leur cellule. La police et les autorités du pénitencier ont refusé de donner d’autres détails.

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“As soon as child poverty is problematized in this way [as the fault of the parent and the local society], it becomes possible to invoke the need for public intervention in a broader range of cases – not just for young offenders and abandoned children, but for children neglected by unfit parents. This is a remarkable, cascading development that sets the stage for the systematic implementation, throughout the West, of child welfare and correctional systems consisting of prisons and reformatories, farm or penitentiary colonies, reform and industrial schools, and so on. Foster placement went hand in hand with these 1840s developments, paralleled by the development of the penitentiary system. From the 1880s on, new child protection associations sprang up in an effort to systematize the offensive against ‘unfit’ or deficient families, a movement that would be supported, in countries such as France and Belgium, by legislation providing for the loss of parental rights in such cases.

In Quebec, this problem gained sporadic public attention starting in the 1830s. The debate around the implementation of public institutions truly got going, however, only after the Act of Union of 1840. This debate, where it touched on young offenders, pitted proponents of punishment against theorists of reform. In 1851, the reformers worn a resounding victory with the passage if a series of resolutions by the House of Assembly of United Canada [which created the legal framework for reform schools and tackling youth delinquency]. In 1858, Lower Canada got a ‘reformatory,’ or reform prison, at Ile-aux-Noix on the Richilieu River, built in a clumsy effort to imitate Mettray [in France]. The terrible condition of the facility and the frequent instances of children running away to the nearby United States led to its being moved to Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in 1862. Ile-aux-Noix housed youths sentenced for serious crimes. It was clear soon after its opening, however, that it would not suffice. It made no provision for the incarceration of the juvenile petty criminals who still languished in the jails, much less for the housing of street children or abandoned children. It was unclear what was to be done with these children.”

– Jean-Marie Fecteau, The Pauper’s Freedom. Translated by Peter Feldstein. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017. French edition 2004. pp.142-143.

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“The liberal logic of regulation effected an increasingly strict separation in the penal order between the necessity of punishment and the desirability of reform. In so doing, it made it possible to reconcile the principle of individual culpability with a modicum of respect for physical and mental integrity. The legitimacy of the penal order came to revolve around punishment of the deliberate act, which was to be governed by strict rules of due process and proportionate sentencing.

These principles of regulation entailed two important operational constraints. The first was that punishment was unequivocally predicated on the offender’s free will, so that persons defined as lacking this capacity – the insane, or children under a certain age, for example – were not subject to it. The second was that the principle of proportionality implied a gradation of punishment corresponding, at least in part, to the gravity of the offence. The worse the offence, the greater the legal power of detention (and hence the possibility of prolonged treatment). This led to a fundamental paradox: the conditions for the effectiveness of punishment (and the prisoner reform expected to flow from it) were in stark contradiction with the dictates of prevention. The latter, after all, necessitated prior intervention, before the irremediable occurred. Moreover, prevention is unable by definition to react ex post facto to tangible acts; its whole logic of operation consists of a focus on certain factors that define a social or human condition rather than a particular act. 

This demarcation between the right to punish and the need to prevent – blurred in the case of adults by the waning enthusiasm for the ideals of criminal reform – came fully into play in the case of children. Here, hopes of reform had remained alive and had indeed begun to take priority over the imperatives of punishment. The discourse of the development of child reform institutions depicts reform as inextricably linked to the notion of prevention.

The work is not cleanse the polluted stream after it has flowed on in its pestilential course, but to purify the fountain whence it draws its unfailing supply. What we have to do is devise and carry out such measures as shall take possession of all juveniles who may be placed in such circumstances as to be evidently precarious for a life of crime, or who may already have entered upon it, and keep hold of them until they have been trained in the knowledge of the right way and fairly started in a course of well-doing.

Where children were concerned, the liberal legal order was regarded as a constraint that need not be obeyed with any great strictness – in the words of Toqueville, “the children brought into into it without being convicted, were not the victims of persecution, but merely deprived of a fatal liberty.”

As it happened, the fraught relationship between the penal and the charitable developed, in the case of children, in two stages. In the first, continuing until the mid-19th century, the distinction between young offenders and abandoned children because increasingly clear, with the penal law applicable to the first giving the state the legal means to justify incarceration, while the tendency was for abandoned children to be entrusted to the care of private initiatives, subject to the rules governing parental responsibility and custody. In the second, the fate of children, runaways in particular, was to inspire state measures to provide for their welfare. There ensued a gradual enlargement of compulsory powers beyond the domain of criminal law. In this process, the power to remove children from their homes was extended to cases beyond the bounds of classical penal law. Thus, runaways and abandoned children who kept company with criminals, or whose parents were in prison, could be legally confined.”

– Jean-Marie Fecteau, The Pauper’s Freedom. Translated by Peter Feldstein. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017. French edition 2004. pp.146-47.

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“If the diet in our prisons be dreaded, the idlers will not direct their steps so often towards these establishments. There are in the cities of Montreal and Quebec a certain number of rogues who quit the prisons to return to them, after an absence of a few days; for these miserable wretches – the greater number of whom are without any home – like to establish their abode at the common jail, where they find clean beds, an agreeable temperature, chiefly in winter time, and a certain abundance of food, comparatively speaking, all of which induce them to consider the prison as palaces.

Before building [a new central prison, for which the inspectors have been making the case for twenty years], it must be borne in mind that it is intended for all classes of criminals; that it will have to shelter the scum of society, wretches, who, half the time, have neither home, nor food, nor clothing, picked up by the police in the filthy streets and in the haunts of vice and infamy in our cities; and that, accustomed as they are to every misery and privation, it would not be right to lodge them in a palace, in a building which would create a desire to remain in it, in a word a dwelling affording more comfort than the dwellings of half the honest people of the country…The inhumanity and barbarity of by gone ages must be carefully avoided; but on the other hand we must not be carried away by a ridiculous and dangerous philanthropy.

If…prompted by an exaggerated sensitiveness,, a mistaken idea of philanthropy, we place these criminals in a better position than they were in before committing their crime, does not the punishment become an illusion, a mockery, I may even say a reward for crime. Let us ask ourselves whether the treatment of criminals in our gaols and penitentiaries is in the interest of society and of the state.”

– “Thirteenth Report of the Inspectors of Prisons, Asylums, &c.,&c. for the Province of Quebec for the Year 1882,” Quebec Sessional Papers, Volume 16, pt. 15, pp. 15-17.

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“Slayer Endures Awful Agony,” Kingston Daily Standard. August 5, 1912. Page 05.

Existed on Berries and Leaves For Weeks.

Clothes Were Torn in Ribbons – Charged With the Murder of His Wife in July Last.

Montreal, August 5. – Detective L. G. Lapointe, of the provincial bureau, has returned from Beauce County, where he arrested Alexander Wintle, accused of the murder of his wife Frances Wright.

The police declare that Wintle endured frightful sufferings in the woods around Beauce before he was arrested. When he disappeared it was thought he had suicided.

The crime for which Wintle is accused was committed on July 11, and it was not until last Wednesday, that Wintle was arrested.

On the day after the murder, Wintle’s clothes were found on the river bank, two miles from his home. Several days later, however, he presented himself at the house of a neighbour named Boucher. From that time he was not seen again until arrested by Detective Lapointe. When taken in charge the accused murderer appeared to have lost his reason through his sufferings.

He told the police that for three weeks he had lived in a forest nearly 100 miles square. For 17 days he struggled about, eating berries and green leaves. At night he slept wherever he happened to be .

When he was arrested his clothes were torn to ribbons and his feet were bare. He was nearly starved to death.

When arrested, Wintle threw himself to his knees and cried: ‘Do not kill me, sir. I wish to live.’

Detective Lapointe left the man in prison at St. Joseph de la Beauce when he will remain until after the inquest, on August 6, by Magistrate Angers.

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“The social body decides…whether one of its members has become the enemy of the whole by his crimes; if so, he is expelled from the community or otherwise punished; but it is the judge and the arbiter of his external actions alone; as far as regards the internal man, his conscience and his belief, society has nothing and can have nothing to do. I do not mean to infer from this that society ought to take no interest in the moral reform of the criminal, but simply to assert the right of every man, whether free or a slave, to hold God to be the sole judge of his thoughts, his conscience and opinions. Doubtless, it would be desirable that we should be able to reform the hearts of perverse men, and doubtless it is necessary to adopt all legitimate means of doing so; but the probability of success in such an undertaking, appears to me not so great as we are disposed to believe it…

Each member of society must submit to the Law which is the will of the whole, and society has no right to exact any thing further from its members. If a man obeys the Laws, his obligations towards society are fulfilled. If society can accomplish the conversion of an individual imprisoned for crime, into a moral and virtuous being, so much the better; but I have as yet seen no instance of it.”

– Letter of Amury Girod, exiled Patriote, to the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, from “Report of the Special Committee appointed to take into consideration the Report of the Penitentiary Commissioners appointed under the Act 4th Will. IV, Cap. 10, and to whom were referred various other Papers and Documents relating to Prison and Prison discipline,” Journals of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, 1836, Appendix FFF, pp. 9-10.

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“Back to the Pen,” Toronto Star. July 28, 1916. Page 14.

But recently the military columns of the papers told of the exploit of an ex-acrobat, Lezine Renand, in literally turning a somersault into the arms of the Beaver Battalion. To-day his eagerness to don the khaki was partially explained when he faced the charge laid by the authorities of the Kingston Penitentiary of having broken his parole. Col. Denison accordingly ordered that he be returned to that stronghold, where his recent army training in marking time will land him in good stead.

[previous article]
RECRUIT DID HANDSPRING

Demonstrated That He Was Active Enough to Be Forester
One of the novel features of the Orange Day parade was the appearance of the 238th Foresters, equipped with the weapons with which they hope to fight the Kaiser – axes. The Foresters were out over forty strong, this representing the most of the recruits taken at the local recruiting depot during the past two weeks.

A somewhat astonishing turn to the recruiting of the 238th took place yesterday when a man walked into the headquarters at 55 Queen West, turned a double-somersault forwards and backwards, then walked up to Lt. H. S. Price, who is in charge of the office and asked if he appeared active enough to be a Forester. The man turned out to be Lezime Renaud, of Aylmer, P. Q., who had traveled from Hamilton for the sake of joining up. Besides being an acrobat, a boxer, and wrestler, Renaud is a saw-filer by trade, and should prove a valuable addition to the force. He has two brothers already fighting with the Canadian forces.

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“Charge of Complicity In Breaking ‘Padlock’,” Ottawa Citizen. July 25, 1938. Page 03.

Two Men Who Tried to Wire Constables Inside Their Own Car Escape But Man Who Helped Them Charged With ‘Complicity After the Fact.’

Canadian Press.
QUEBEC, July 25. – F. X. Lessard, self-styled ‘only living Communist to break open a Duplessis padlock for Communists.’ remained in the cells today while friends considered means of raising bail of $1,200 set Saturday by Judge Hugues Fortier when the 40-yer-old carpenter appeared before him on a charge of ‘willfully breaking a provincial law.’

Behind bars also was Henri Beaulieu, the man police charged with ‘complicity after the fact’ in the escape of two men who tried to imprison guards in their automobile Friday while Lessard entered the home authorities padlocked two days before because of the carpenters alleged Communistic activities.

When police went to the six-room Lessard dwelling last Tuesday to advise the family the flat would be locked up for a year under the special law aimed at halting the spread of Communism, it was the authorities’ third visit to homes occupied by the carpenter. Twice before they had seized literature from Lessard’s dwellings.

Away at work when police told Mrs. Lessard the family would have to evacuate the premises ‘within 24 hours,’ the carpenter again was absent when two detectives arrived the following day to execute the withdrawal order. His blue-eyed, middle aged wife and two children were marched from their home singing the ‘Internationale’ and the ‘Young Guard’ after refusing to remove their furniture. 

Two policemen immediately were detailed to guard the abandoned flat, located in to the top of a tall building below steep St. Sauveur cliff.

Curious lookers-on frequently engaged the two guarding officers in casual conversation and the police saw nothing to arouse their suspicions when two men approached their parked car Friday ostensibly for a chat.

But the officers were startled suddenly to notice their ‘callers’ slyly were binding the car’s doors with strong wire and when the guards attempted to seize the men the pair fled – just as Lessard walked along the sidewalk, pulled open a street door, and ran up three flights of stairs to his former home.

Drawing revolvers, the policemen followed and on reaching the top of the stairs they found the ‘padlocks’ (official seals of Quebec province) had been smashed. Lessard, calmly walking about the kitchen, made no resistance to arrest.

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“‘Bobs’ And Our Own Col. Denison,” Toronto Star. July 21, 1908. Page 01.

The Star’s photographer caught these two sons of Mars in civilian dress as they were out for a brisk walk around Quebec on Sunday.

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