Canada's Big House: The Dark History of the Kingston Penitentiary



Peter H. Hennessy, quot;Canada's Big House: The Dark History of the Kingston Penitentiaryquot;.
Publisher: Dundurn Press | english | ISBN: 1550023306 | edition: 1999 | File type: PDF | 244 Pages | 10 mb
Kingston Penitentiary shall quot; . . . be a place by every means not cruel and not affecting the health of the offender, [but] shall be rendered so irksome and so terrible that during his lifetime he may dread nothing so much as a repetition of the punishment . . . quot; 1883 report calling for the construction of a penitentiaryThe obvious contradiction within the historical mandate of Kingston Penitentiary bedeviled the entire history of the jail. Its turbulent and controversial history is the subject of Canada's Big House: The Dark History of the Kingston Penitentiary by Peter Hennessy.A local writer and historian, Hennessy lays bare in cool prose the rapid descent from puritanical purpose to merely punitive management.Canada's Big House sketches the penitentiary's 165-year history as a backdrop to recent events within the institution. Hennessy uses ancient documents, newspaper articles and committee reports, interviews inmates, guards and management, and draws from his experience as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee to describe the conditions in the prison over its lifetime. He examines the inhumane living conditions of the 1800s, the riots of 1932, 1954 and especially the devastating riot of 1971, and the struggles with human rights, cruel and unusual punishment and poor management in the past decade.Penitence through silent reflection was the original high moral purpose of Kingston Penitentiary. Unfortunately, not long after the first convicts arrived in 1835, this mandate drifted into the foggy realm of official myth. The prison seems to have always suffered from faulty leadership and confusion of purpose. Is Kingston Penitentiary doomed to repeat its sordid history, or is there hope for a brighter future?




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