Prison For Women

The Prison For Women ("P4W"), located in Kingston, Ontario, functioned at a maximum security level from 1934 to 2000.

The first female inmates arrived on January 24, 1934. Before this date, maximum security female offenders were housed in the Female Department of the maximum security Kingston Penitentiary located across the street.

Beginning in 1995, female inmates were gradually transferred to other federal correctional institutions. On May 8, 2000, the last female inmate was transferred away from the P4W.

In January 2008, Queen's University took ownership of the former site of the Prison for Women. The property is 8.1 acres (33,000 m2) in size. The university archives will be housed there once renovations are completed. The transformation of the property includes the demolition of three of the four stone security walls.


The Prison for Women was closed following a number of controversial incidents. LSD was administered to inmates at the prison as part of tests that are today considered to be ethically dubious. As well, a riot at the prison in 1994 resulted in Justice Louise Arbour, then of the Ontario Court of Appeal heading up what became known as the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston which found that the treatment of prisoners at the facility had been "cruel, inhumane and degrading".

  • 1934-1944 Ms. Edith A. Robinson Supervising Matron
  • 1944-1950 Miss Amelia May Gibson Supervising Matron
  • 1950-1960 Miss Lorraine L. Burke Supervising Matron
  • 1960-1966 Miss Isabel J. McNeill Superintendent
  • 1966-1970 Mr. Donald Clarke Warden
  • 1970-1972 Mr. C.A.M. Edwards Warden
  • 1972-1980 Mr. Doug Chinnery Warden
  • 1980-1987 Mr. George Caron Warden
  • 1987-1994 Ms. Mary Cassidy Warden
  • 1994-2000 Ms. Thérèse LeBlanc Warden