Kingston Penitentiary
Kingston Penitentiary (known locally as KP and Kingston Pen) is a maximum security prison located in Kingston, Ontario between King Street West and Lake Ontario. Originally constructed in 1833”“1834, and officially opened on June 1, 1835 as the "Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Upper Canada," it is one of the oldest prisons in continuous use in the world. Kingston Penitentiary is one of nine prisons in the Kingston area which range from low-security facilities to the maximum-security facilities Kingston Penitentiary and Millhaven Institution (which was initially built to replace Kingston Pen). The institution was built on land, described as "Lot number twenty, in the first concession of the Township of Kingston" The site was chosen for "combining the advantages of perfect salubrity, ready access to the water, and abundant quantities of fine limestone." Six inmates were accepted when the penitentiary was opened. The penitentiary's western wall adjoins the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, which hosted the sailing events for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Immediately across the road to the north is the now closed Kingston Prison For Women (the property is now owned by Queen's University), officially opened on January 24, 1934 to take female prisoners who had originally been housed in segregated quarters in the main facility. On April 14, 1971, a riot at Kingston Penitentiary lasted four days and resulted in the death of two inmates and destruction of much of the prison. Security was substantially increased and prison reforms were instituted. From 1971”“1981, the penitentiary served as Corrections Canada's Ontario Region Reception Centre. Today the facility houses between 350 and 500 inmates, plus another 120 at R.T.C. (the Regional Treatment Centre) contained within the prison. Every inmate is given an individual cell. In 1990, Kingston Penitentiary was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

In 1999, prisoner Ty Conn escaped from within the prison; although this feat had been accomplished on at least 26 occasions beginning in 1836, Conn was the first to succeed since 1958. Conn's body was found in Toronto: He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while speaking on the telephone to a producer from the CBC.

Infamous inmates
Kingston Penitentiary has been home to many of Canada's most dangerous and notorious criminals. James Donnelly, patriarch of the infamous Black Donnellys, was sentenced to be hanged on September 17, 1859, for the murder of Patrick Farrell. A petition for clemency started by his wife Johannah saw his sentence reduced to seven years in Kingston Penitentiary. Other notable inmates include Russell Williams , former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Rob Ramage, Paul Bernardo, and formerly, Clifford Olson, Roger Caron and Grace Marks. Wayne Boden, the Canadian "Vampire Rapist" died there in March 2006. Tim Buck, leader of the Communist Party, was a political prisoner at Kingston convicted under Section 98 of the Criminal Code during the early 1930s. Shots were fired in his, as well as other cells during the 1932 riot, but no evidence exists to suggest that these were part of an assassination attempt. Marie-Anne Houde, formerly convicted for the murder of her stepdaughter Aurore Gagnon, was sentenced to life in Kingston Penitentiary, following the appeal to commute her sentence to death citing health reasons. She was released on June 29,1935.

Correctional Service of Canada Museum
Located directly across from Kingston Penitentiary, the Correctional Service of Canada Museum (also known as "Canada's Penitentiary Museum") explains the history of Kingston Penitentiary and other correctional centres using displays that incorporate artifacts, photographs, equipment, and replicas. The museum also houses most of the institution's historical records as well as those of other Canadian penitentiaries, and provides the only penitentiary research service in Canada.


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