Sociology229- Selected topics in Criminology
1. Module1= April 1971 Kingston Penitentiary riot.
2. Module2=Pattern in prison riots
3. Module3=Treatment of hostages and murders in prison riots.
4. Module4=Three different theories of prison riots.
• During this riot two inmates were murdered, Brian and Bertram.
• Murdered by a group of other inmates who were eventually charged, 13 inmates
charged with two counts of murders.
• Interviewed all 500 inmates, 50 of them gave detailed statements to the police.
• These statements were valuable info, This is called useofavailabledata.
• Problem with this is that you cant ask questions you may have wanted to ask.
• Was in a max security institution, with a lot of violent offenders.
• Back in 1867, Fed govt... took on the responsibility of taking care of inmates with
• Anyone with more then 2 years would go to a federal penitentiary system and under
two years would go to a provincial.
• Provincial inst. are jails, and federal are penitentiary.
• More serious is federal penitentiary, with long term criminals and more violent
offenders, However there are violent ones in provincial.
• There is a classificationsystemforprisonsinCanada:Maximum security institutions,
medium and minimum security inst.
• Usually inmates with Lengthy sentence, security risk, risk of violence or
escape,inmates will spend good time their and prior to release and then go down the
system to medium, to minimum to release through good behavior.
• It can also be the opposite = inmates move up the ladder.
• Inmates in Max tend more dangerous, resulting in higher security.
• Max prisons have the biggest problems with prison riots, mostly occur in older secure
max prisons, environment is more repressive and generally inmates more dangerous. • Kingstoncaseis considered to be on of the most violent riots in Canadian history.
• Inmates were able to get control of the entire central area of prison, this isn't usually
the case bc prisons are designed in a way where if there is a riot guards can easily
shut off that section so other inmates are unaware of the riot.
• They were able to open up the cell block and release everyone in dome area, approx.
550 inmates at the time.
• Roger Carons book bingo, he was an inmate at the time.
• 50 statements given to the police from inmates,Two main reasons why 50 cooperated:
1.1. Hoping to get parole, after trail was over, the crown attorney and went through
the file of 50 inmates many were given parole for their cooperation.
1.2. second reason is, societal values, finding it offense to their values, getting
• Cooperating means they are putting their lives in danger, this was realized. one of the
first things that happened after, they would testify in court and go back to the
penitentiary at night and they would being attacked at night.
• Mostseriouscase occurred when the names of these 50 inmates fell at the hand of the
13 accused men.
• Crown attorney at the time through discovery passed on the witnesses names to the
• He handed it over in condition that the names would not be reveled to the clients,
however they were: one of the defense lawyers passed it on and it circulated through
• Correctional serviced then moved these 50 inmates back to Kingston to protect
• What they did was they changed the services policy, put them in a protective custody.
• Book written buy inmates roger Caron called - Bingo, 4 days in hell, he’s also author of
“gold boy auto biography” about his life which described 13 escapes from prison.
• During his escapes he went out and committed bank robberies.
• He had two sides to his personality.
• Anumber of inmates heard a rumor that there was going to be an incident the night the riot
started but none of them reported this to prison authorities.
• This is unusual since most inmates do not wish to participate in a riot
• The riot was led by inmate Billie Knight and several others who took the guards as hostages
• Knight took over leadership once the riot began and opened negotiations with the warden
• The army surrounded Kingston Penitentiary following the riot
• Gourds do not carry guns in penitentiary is because they are outnumbered by inmates they
can easily be over powered and their guns taken from them. • There are tear gasses that can be used under certain conditions such as riots.
• 6 inmates along with the 7th one were able to take over the penitentiary, once they secured
the guards, they grabbed the remaining guards and captured them.
• They then released ppl from their prisons, They threatened and opened everyone into the
dome to take place in riot.
• Inmates used metal bars as weapons, Billie knight told everyone he was in charge that he he
had control of the guards, he also told them this was going to be a peaceful riot and no
one would be hurt, however he told the inmates to wreck the place after.
• Inmates began smashing everything, millions of dollars of destruction.
• Protective custody wing, the undesirables.
• Most of them were child molesters or informants.
• Most inmates do not ask what your there for, so they can have freedom of access of
programs, however their is always that risk that someone would find out and make them
• Undesirables consist of informants and sex offenders, particularly child molesters
• All of the inmates were released from their cells when the riot began except for those in 1-D
• 1-D was the protective custody wing of the prison and held inmate undesirables
• Once the riot began, other inmates began to threaten and assault the undesirables
• Brian Ensure was killed, he was a child molester and attacked in the 1-d and killed him with
• Ralph lake - child molester amongst general population, went looking fro his friend. Before
he could find his friend. Some found him and beat him.
• Billie Knight was meeting with the Warden while all this was going on, when he came back
he found out what happened in 1-D, he was very upset and got ensure, and Barren
Mcansey, took ensure back and put him in 1D bc they thought that would protect him.
• Beatings came to an end when knight told everyone to stop the attacks on the undesirables.
• Knight periodically called the inmates into the dome to address them about prison
• Knight scolded inmates for the attacks on the undesirables
• Knight and his associates appointed inmates to protect the guard hostages
• Several violent inmates attempted to seize control of the riot from Knight
• Barry MacKenzie intervened and became the inmate leader. • Power struggle in prison riots is uncommon, knight lost the leadership role, given sleeping
pills and went to sleep.
• Leadership changed twice.
• MacKenzie took over the negotiations from Knight
• The government became impatient with the fact that the inmates could not come up with a
list of demands
• The government gave the inmates an ultimatum – give up the guard hostages or the army
would be used to take back the prison by force
• This wouldn't happen today bc govt. knows the best way to end a riot is to negotiate.