Abandonment Issues: Kingston Penitentiary

ATTN: sgotwalks

Found this blog and wanted to share with you, I don't have a blue but the pics and dialogue are pretty cool. Enjoy !!!



On September 30th, 2013, moments before the last handful of federal inmates were transferred to different facilities, the Kingston Penitentiary held the distinction of being the oldest prison on Earth still in operation. Sitting ominously on the lapping shores of Lake Ontario in Kingston, the notorious penitentiary housed federal inmates serving anywhere from two years to life sentences, and has been home to some of Canada's most infamous criminals.

The Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Upper Canada was constructed in 1835, before the birth of the country of Canada. Shortly after confederation it became known as the Kingston Penitentiary, and in time became referred to by inmates, guards and locals simply as KP. Constructed with local limestone using convict labour, the imposing structure became a model for other institutions the world over for over a century to come and was even admired by the likes of Charles Dickens, who toured the facility in 1842.

Women, children, vagrants, and lunatics were all admitted to KP, until the time the Rockwood Lunatic Asylum (1870) and Prison for Women (1934) were constructed nearby, also using KP inmate labour and local limestone. The very first inmate to be admitted to the prison was Matthew Tevender in 1835. Boys and girls as young as 8 years old, such as Antoine Beauche were sentenced to serve time at KP for crimes as minor as pick-pocketing.

The architecture and philosophical underpinnings of KP were carefully designed to influence its inhabitants behaviour and create compelling incentive for reform. An enormous cross shaped 5 storey cell block was linked by a domed rotunda and a similarly designed building housed the workshops. For inmates at KP, the whole world existed within this 10 acre walled enclosure. A large bell was placed in the rotunda area of the Main Dome and its shrill ring directed inmate movements and became a hated symbol of control. A then revolutionary penal method known as the Auburn system was used in which inmates worked during the day and were kept in solitary confinement by night. Cells that measured 2x8 feet, with small barred openings in thick wooden doors for ventilation and supervision and were separated by thick concrete to prevent communication. Prisoners sentenced to KP could not even discuss their fate – a strict rule of silence existed until 1935, forbidding all forms of verbal and non verbal communication between prisoners, which it was believed could lead to “further moral contamination.”

The first warden Henry Smith was a notorious sadist and dished out cruel and unusual forms of corporal punishment: lashings (known as “the cats”), meals of bread and water, confinement to a dark cell, the water bath punishment, and perhaps most dreaded, “the box,” an upright coffin in which prisoners were forced to stand for minutes or hours at a time. Reports indicate some prisoners were lashed to the point of insanity and after a 14 year reign, Warden Smith was fired for his excessive use of punishment. Corporal punishment at KP continued until 1969.

TTT for fellow Canadian sgotwalks.

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