Archive | April 18, 1971: Kingston Penitentiary riot ends

Archives | April 18, 1971: Kingston Penitentiary Riot Ends

The April 18, 1971, one of the most violent riots in Canadian prison history ends at Kingston Penitentiary.

50 years ago, a major riot ended at Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario. The event is considered one of the most violent revolts in a prison establishment in the country.

Host Bernard Derome, in theReview of the Year 1971 in Canada of December 31, 1971, briefly summarizes the events surrounding the Kingston Riot.

Host Bernard Derome summarizes the main events of the riot at Kingston Penitentiary in April 1971.

On April 14, 1971, the prisoners revolted.

Kingston Penitentiary is the oldest prison in Canada. It has existed since 1835.

Tensions exist within its walls.

In 1954, a first riot took place in this prison. It was estimated at the time that the damage caused by the prisoners amounted to $2 million.

In 1971, Kingston Penitentiary was dilapidated and suffered from overcrowding. Relations between prisoners and guards are strained and the complaints system is inadequate.

Inmates complain in particular about the excessive time spent in the cells and the confinement of prisoners who did not deserve to be imposed on them maximum security measures.

There is also criticism of the delay in the reform of prison institutions.

The federal government, through the Solicitor General of Canada Jean-Pierre Goyer, initially promises to take prisoners' requests into consideration.

But then the authorities sent specialized riot troops to quell the revolt in Kingston.

Two detainees are killed, 13 of the mutinous prisoners will later be charged with murder.

“What really happens when a penitentiary explodes in a bloodbath? »

— Anne-Marie Dussault, 1986

Report by Anne-Marie Dussault on the riot at Kingston Penitentiary

On November 14, 1986, an excerpt from a Contrechamp report by host Anne-Marie Dussault sheds a striking light on what is inside. happened during the Kingston Riot.

We hear in particular the testimony of Roger Caron, who has just written a book entitled Bingo which gives us a good idea of ​​the dynamics of the riot .

Roger Caron makes us observe the level of frustration of the prisoners and the violence that the uprising entailed.

There was a riot inside the riot. It's time to wreak vengeance. Detainees are tortured by prisoners.

Two prisoners die and 12 are injured.

Anne Marie Dussault's report also uses the event that took place in Kingston to show certain flaws in the prison system in Canada and the inevitability of revolts breaking out in this last.

The riot that occurs in Kingston sends shock waves through public opinion and government authorities.

In 1977, a report by Judge Mark MacGuigan on the penitentiary system in Canada proposed certain reforms, including the creation of a formal mechanism to investigate prisoners' complaints.

Kingston Penitentiary is permanently closed in 2013.

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