5 Worst Prisons In The Province of Ontario

Five Worst Prisons In The Province of Ontario, Canada. This article lists the five worst prisons in the province of Ontario in East central Canada.

Five Worst Prisons In The Province of Ontario
Five Worst Prisons In The Province of Ontario

Canada has been prosperous in terms of its stable administration for a very long time. And though there is no doubt Canada is one of the golden countries of the world, it is in no way perfect. Ontario, a province in east-central Canada, is said to have one of the worst prison systems in the world and constantly declining conditions. It takes a lot to keep the streets safe by taking the threats off of them, but it takes even more, to manage those people safely, humanely, and lawfully.

From overpopulation to unsanitary conditions to overwhelmingly dangerous prison environments, the number of model prisons in Ontario is so thin that it’s hard to name one.

Below are listed five of the worst prisons and correctional facilities in Ontario.

#5 Millhaven Institution

Millhaven Institution, known as Établissement de Millhavenin French, is a maximum security prison in Bath in central eastern Ontario. Approximately 500 inmates are imprisoned at Millhaven Institution.

Established in 1971, Millhaven was originally built to replace Ontario's other aging, maximum security prison, Kingston Penitentiary, located in Kingston, Ontario. However, a riot at Kingston Penitentiary caused Millhaven to open prematurely.

Over its long years, the institution has seen its fair share of violence. J unit (also called MSU, which houses habitual violent criminals) is considered one of the most dangerous places in Canada's prison system. The most unruly inmates and those with life sentences are often housed there.

Millhaven has a history of attempted escapes, riots, and subsequent manhunts and killings. For instance, in 2004, correctional officers at Millhaven Maximum Security were concerned about their safety after a rash of inmate uprisings. Similarly, in May 2009, Millhaven became the site of a riot, but it was short-lived and lasted less than 24 hours. On 21st March 2011, a prisoner named Jordan Trudeau, 29, was killed in an altercation by a correctional officer in the gymnasium area during a routine exercise.

#4 Collins Bay Institution

Collins Bay Institution, known as Établissement de Collins Bayin French, is a multilevel correctional facility located in Kingston in the Ontario province of Canada and falls under the supervision of Correctional Services of Canada (CSC).

The facility was established in 1930 and is the oldest operational federal penitentiary in Ontario. The main prison is medium security, with a minimum security facility formerly called Frontenac Institution, residing on the same property. There is also another 96-bed maximum security unit operational.

Dave Woodhouse, 63, of Kingston, is a former correctional officer who worked for CSC from 1983 to 2003 and spent most of this time at Collins Bay Institution. Woodhouse wrote a book called “West Yard,” primarily concerning his 20-year career at Collins Bay Institution.

In the book, released in the fall of 2021, he wrote about inmate murders and suicides, assaults, riots among the prisoners, homemade weapons, how easily illicit drugs found their way into the institution, and a toxic work atmosphere.

He alleges that during his career, young recruits were not supported or respected by older officers; instead, they were intimidated by inmates and not assessed by the senior staff, which led to many young ones quitting their jobs.

#3 Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre

The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, also called EMDC, is a maximum security jail with a capacity of 450-beds located in London, Ontario. Concerns have recently been raised about the security of the inmates at the prison, especially because of the frequent deaths at the prison. EDMC is also known to suffer from prison overcrowding.

There have been a total of 19 deaths since 2009. Reasons for inmate deaths ranged from natural causes (pneumonia and other health issues) to suicide/homicide and drug overdose. Most of the deaths are handled by Kevin Egan, a Canadian lawyer and advocate for inmates at EMDC. Egan is also a part of a class action lawsuit that was filed on behalf of 10,000 inmates for $325 million (Canadian Dollars) in damages inflicted against the Government of Ontario.

James Pigeau, a name among the 19 dead inmates, once gave an interview to CBC’s The Fifth Estate. He spoke about the facility's alleged beatings by guards and correctional officers, rampant drug abuse among the inmates, and general lawlessness.

Pigeau also described how he was beaten up by several guards one summer.

James Pigeau, 32, was in jail waiting for his trial on charges of robbery and theft. On 7th January 2018, he was found dead in his cell.

#2 Kingston Penitentiary

Kingston Penitentiary (known colloquially as KP and suggestively, Kingston Pen) is a former maximum security prison located between King Street West and Lake Ontario in Kingston in the province of Ontario, Canada.

Constructed from 1833 to 1834, Kingston Penitentiary opened on 1st June 1835 as the "Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Upper Canada". It was regarded as one of the oldest prisons in continuous use in the world at the time of its closure on 30th September 2013.

On 14th August 1954, a two-hour riot broke out in the penitentiary, known to be the worst in its history up to that point. It involved 900 inmates. During the massive riot, a breakout was attempted but prevented by the gate's guards.

On 14th April 1971, a riot lasted four days, and two inmates died, resulting in the destruction of much of the prison. Security was substantially increased afterward, and prison reforms were instituted. Six guards were held hostage by the inmates during the riots, but all were eventually released unharmed.

In its later years, Kingston Penitentiary became notorious as a "dumping ground for bad guards." The most famous breakout occurred in 1999 when inmate Ty Conn escaped from the facility. Although there had been at least 26 escape attempts since KP’s inception in 1836, Conn was the first to evade capture for weeks since 1958. Two weeks later, Conn suffered a fatal self-inflicted gunshot and died.

#1 Toronto South Detention Centre

The Toronto South Detention Centre is a maximum-security correctional facility located in the district of Etobicoke in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is operated by the Government of Ontario and houses adult male inmates serving a sentence of up to 2-years-less-a-day and felons who’ve been remanded into custody while awaiting trial.

The Toronto South Detention Centre officially opened on 29th January 2014 replacing the Toronto Jail, the Toronto West Detention Centre, and on the site of the demolished Mimico Correctional Centre.

The Toronto South Detention Centre is said to be Ontario’s most violent jail, even though it was supposed to be one of the safest. The $600 million facility was expected to establish a new model of corrections, with inmates getting more freedom, more opportunities for reform, and more humane treatment.

CityNews obtained the photo of an alleged gang boss charged with murder, posing for a camera, with the gourmet meal, an iPhone, and root beer discovered on another inmate’s cell phone during a routine search.

In 2017, 337 assaults, attempted assaults, and threats were made against staff at Toronto South. In 2015, there were 167 reported cases of inmate-on-inmate violence at the facility. By 2016, that number had climbed to 218 incidents; in merely the first six months of 2017, there were already 115 incidents.

Inmates are locked in their cells for 24, 48 sometimes 72 hours at a time with 3 or 4 other inmates and this has caused increased cases of violence and killings, the majority of which go unreported by the correctional officers.

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