SOC229 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Kingston Penitentiary, Roger Caron

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Prison Riots – Week 2 (Sept 12)
Kingston Penitentiary Riot (1971)
- Largest riot in Canada
- Most violet riot
- Lasted 4 days (typical prison riots last 3-4 days)
- Resulted in the murder of a couple of inmates
- Torture of a dozen inmates
oAll the inmates were seen as undesirable
- The prison is closed now, ideas of opening as a museum
- Due to the murders there were investigations
oThe police set up interviews with the inmates
oAll 500 of them refused the interview (said they did not see anything)
oInmate code (sub-cultural value)
Defending an inmate is seen as positive, cooperating with the authorities
is seen as negative (snitch, put your life in danger)
o50 inmates did talk to the police
The police tried to protect the inmates name and identity
Why cooperate if they are put in danger?
These interviews were taped (the prof used this to write his novel)
Some went to court and testified
One inmate let it be known they he was going to testify and he got beat
up very badly
Some inmates instead of going on day parole to find a job would go to
the court to see who was testifying then go tell the others
- 13 inmates were found for 2 cases of murder
- Prison riots are political events
oThe government is seen as losing control
- The case of the murders dragged on for months and months
oB/c the crown had 50 witnesses
oA plea bargain was made
- The crown must disclose everything to the defense (so they can defend)
oHowever, the names of the witnesses, and the interviews were not disclosed till
months later
A lawyer gave the list to one of the clients (inmate)
This “rat list” was going around in the prisons
The 50 inmates were then sent back to Kingston to protect them
Became known as P.C. (Protective Custody)
Protective Custody: Inmates who are at risk are held for their own
protection
Before there were P.C.s within a penitentiary however inmates would
find out and murder the “undesirables”
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Document Summary

Lasted 4 days (typical prison riots last 3-4 days) Resulted in the murder of a couple of inmates. Torture of a dozen inmates: all the inmates were seen as undesirable. The prison is closed now, ideas of opening as a museum. Due to the murders there were investigations: the police set up interviews with the inmates, all 500 of them refused the interview (said they did not see anything, inmate code (sub-cultural value) Defending an inmate is seen as positive, cooperating with the authorities is seen as negative (snitch, put your life in danger: 50 inmates did talk to the police. The police tried to protect the inmates name and identity. These interviews were taped (the prof used this to write his novel) One inmate let it be known they he was going to testify and he got beat up very badly.

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