Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).
Kingston Pen (Part #2) – Kingston, Ontario
As I mentioned in last week’s post Kingston Penitentiary was Canada’s longest serving and most notorious maximum security prison.
Originally built in the mid 1830’s, by the time it was closed for good in 2013 it was an out-of-date, obsolete, overcrowded hell-hole.
Today, it is part of the Canadian Corrections Services Museum.
Back when it first started taking in prisoners, KP housed both male and female inmates; in separate buildings of course.
One of their most notable female inmates was Grace Marks who was the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace.
The 19th century was a different time. Back then children found guilty of certain crimes were often locked up as well. In its early days KP had its share of child prisoners.
During our tour we learned of the youngest one, eight-year-old Antoine Beauché who was sentenced along with two of his older brothers, to three years for pick-pocketing passengers on a steamboat on the St. Lawrence river.
Prison records show that back then corporal punishment in the form of lashings was used to keep prisoners in line. There were strict rules in place such as no noise, no speaking, no laughing, no whistling, and no communication among the prisoners.
Now try enforcing this for any length of time on an eight-year-old….
Over a period of 9 months records indicate that Antoine received lashings on 47 separate occasions. In 1848 commissioners appointed to investigate the management of the penitentiary noted that the treatment of this child was a “case of revolting inhumanity” and was one of the factors leading to the firing of KP’s first Warden.
For a time KP was also at the forefront of correctional innovation with several shops where inmates could work and learn marketable skills that could allow them to find employment upon release.
Formed in the 1940’s CorCan was the KP run company that had the contract to supply Canada Post’s mailbags for several decades, well into the 1990’s.
Needless to say these were highly coveted positions where inmates had to be on their best behavior to qualify for jobs that paid a small wage.
Inmates could then spend their money on small luxuries, such as cigarettes, candy bars, or other treats available from the KP canteen.
Across the road from the Pen we visited the Warden’s residence which is also part of the museum.
Okay, let’s wrap it up – this place is giving me the creeps. I’ll be back with some fun, pretty doors next week, I promise 😉
As always I thank you for taking the time to stop by 🙂
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