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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 22, 1929, Image 13

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' STERN DISCIPLINE
HELD PRISON NEED
Unarmed Guards Ignored
Only Revolt Ever Attempted
at Ontario Penitentiary.
Following is third and final article of
• series describing Canada s model pris
ons. The Ontario penel institution has
no "ins de guns." walls or politics.
There has -never been a mutiny nor riot
»n its 25 years of existence.
;
BY CHARLES A. MIC HIE.
PENITENTIARY,
Ontario. December 22.
threat of these jagged walls,
upon the gale-swept shores of
Lake Ontario, hangs over the furtive !
head of every crook and evil doer in [
the Dominion.
The penitentiary, which sprawls hel
ter skelter within, is regarded as the
model for all such Institutions on the ,
Continent, and Warden John C. Pons- .
ford, ruddy, genial, like any successful
business man, challenges the world to ,
equal It.
“I have the finest prison, not only ,
In Canada and the United States, buc
In the civilized world, and I challenge
contradiction,” he declared with con
viction.
You can’t just “crash the gate” at
this institution. To get inside is a
devious procedure.
Gen. William St. Pirie Hughes, ac
Ottawa, superintendent of peniten
tiaries. is the only man who controls
admission and is very strict about al
lowing vis tors whose bu-iness is out
of the ordinary. But once inside, the
visitors find the prison as hospitable
as Warden Ponsford can make it.
“Need Discipline" at Auburn.
By long-distance telephone conversa
tion Gen. Hughes inquired the business
of a reporter from across the border
and snorted with regard to Auburn
prison. "They need discipline down
there. Walt till you see this place.”
Warden Ponsford is a rigid discipli
narian, although it is recorded that
three prisoners asked the minister of
justice to extend their sentences to en
able them to assist the warden to sink
a coal mine at Edmonton “pen” in rec
ord time.
The warden refused comment on
prison revolts in the United States, re
marking that a two-hour tour of every
nook and cranny of his own institution
Would be eloquent.
As the wings, cells and industries of
the prison were explored, he told of the
theories and-practices of this and other
Canadian penitentiaries. “A thing we
do not have here is the trusty ‘system,’
he said. “If a man is in here, he can’t
be trusted, and we don't trust him.
Simple, isn’t it?”
In two hours the only guns visible
were those which came smartly to
“present arms” as the warden and
Chief Keeper Matt Walsh passed. There
were four, at the shoulders of a guard
stationed at each corner of the wall,
which incloses 12 acres of buildings and
yards. The inside guards carry no
Weapons other than a “billy.”
It was in 1914, when practically
everybody outside carried rifles, that
guns were taken from the police force
of Portsmouth “pen.” This move was
made on the orders of C. J. Doherty,
then minister of justice in Parliament.
“If one of my policemen (they don’t
call them guards here) should have a
gun In his pocket while supervising the
work of a big squad of convicts and
hf is suddenly attacked, what chance
has he to use the gun?” the warden
asked, reasonably. “If he has one, the
prisoners get it. They are armed and
a menace to the lives of everybody in
the prison. That has happened before
today.” he concluded.
The shops are all connected with
the main doors leading into what la
known as the “shop dome.” Here
other unarmed guards are stationed
upstairs and down, with a great triangle
gong suspended beyond the upper gal
lery to sound any alarm. This toesm
has not sounded for many years.
And here the great age of the in
stitution becomes obvious. The flag
stones and ancient iron railing speax
of construction days 100 years ago.
Since that time the prison has been
added to constantly and 10 years ago
it was entirely remodeled.
Only Revolt Was Ignored.
The only suspicion of mutiny oc
curred six or seven years ago, when
“Red” Ryan, a bank bandit, mobilized
a large squad of other long-term men,
who seized upon crowbars, axes and
anything that looked like a weapon and
milled around in the great yard.
There was no way out. The undis
turbed police force did not attempt to
stop the demonstration. The mutineers
were allowed to run around and yell
to their hearts’ content. As supper time
approached the more timid sneaked
quietly into the buildings and headed
for the kitchen and food. Ryan was
unable to prevent desertion from the
ranks of his guerilla army when hunger
Srodded them back to where they would
e fed.
As the men slipped inside they were
marched quietly to their cells, Rvan
and other ringleaders were seized, and
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Portsmouth’s one and only one revolt
was over.
There has been no escape from the
five Canadian penitentiaries, of which
Kingston is the largest, in six years.
American crooks, in Canada because
they are in fear of a fourth conviction
under the Baumes law, frequently land
In Kingston ’ pen,” the warden declares.
They hate the strict discipline of the
institution, but he adds they speak with
terror of the law which would put them
away for life.
The dining-room system of feeding
passed at Canadian penitentiaries, the
warden said, as the men filed in for
supper, with the passing of the dark
ages of prison regulation. The cellular
system is in force here and has been
for many years.
As the men march in single file into
the great wing dome of the cell blocks
they pick up trays as in a cafeteria.
Each receives his rations and proceeds
Immediately to his cell. Here he has a
table and eats alone.
The federal government of Canada Is
in great part responsible for the busy
Industries of the penitentiary.
Mail bags produced revenue for the
Institution In the fiscal year 1928-29
amounting to between $55,000 and $60,-
000 and this department, combined with
the broom shop, the shoe shop and the
tailoring department, brought SBO,OOO
revenue.
Convicts Are Kept Busy.
The department of Indian affairs
buys clothing from Portsmouth for dis
tribution among treaty and destitute
Indians as far North as the Arctic Clr
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THE SUNDAY STAR, WASHINGTON, D. C. t DECEMBER 22, 1929—PART ONE.
cle, the Royal Northwest Mounted Po
lice buy their riding boots and undress
uniform* here, and the prison authori
ties are bickering now for militia con
tracts.
Thus does the state assist in the all
important business of keeping the des
perate men busy and out of trouble.
In the machine shop and stone cut
ting department are being prepared the
stone and barriers for a new women’s
prison being built half a mile away. In
the Summertime a 400-acre farm sup
plies work for more than 150 men.
No newspapers are allowed Into the
men’s cells, so that Wardep Ponsford
says the men In his care still do not
know of the bloody revolts at Auburn.
All magazines are carefully censored.
Relatives only are allowed to visit
prisoners, and that only once in two
months. When they meet, with a bar
red and screened corridor between them
a guard listens to every word that’s
said.
"Oh, we are as strict as we can be.”
Warden Ponsford declared, "but our
record speaks for our success.”
(Copyright, 1929, by the North American
Newspaper Alliance.)
• *
Tourists Increase.
LONDON (iP). —Foreign tourists visit
ing Great Britain in the first nine
months of 1929 totaled 209,909, an in
crease of 6 per cent over the same pe
riod in 1828. The Travel Association of
Great Britain said the figures exclude
business visitors, seamen and passen
gers In transit to other countries.
A A A A a a
SEAL SALE CAMPAIGN
OVER sl3 000 SHORT
Early Response on Those Sent by
Mail to Persons on Approval
Is Requested.
Cash received for Christmas seals at
the headquarters of the Tuberculosis
Association, 1022 Eleventh street, yes
terday at the end of the third week of
Bthe seal sale, left
the association
still more than
$13,000 short of
the campaign
goal of $40,000
necessary to con
tinue through the
next year the
various health
activities that
have been carried
on during the
year, including
the Children's Clinic, Children's Health
Camp, Occupational Therapy for hos
pital patients, free lunches for fresh air
classes, free health literature and ad
vice for children and adults.
This means that at least 1,300,000
more of the seals must be bought or!
converted into money at a cent each, i
The demand for the seals was brisk I
yesterday at the Junior League booth
at Woodward & Lothrop’s and calls for
more seals came from several df the
stores where self-service stations are
placed. Also there is yet to be received
the money collected by the Tuberculosis
Hospital patients and some of the
private schools.
The main hope of the campaign
managers, however, lies in the several
thousands of persons to whom $1 or $2
worth of the seals have been sent by
mall on approval and who have not
yet made any response. There are al
ways some who delay payment until
after the holidays.
All who can do so In the two re
maining days before Christmas are
urged by those directing the seal sale
to send payments for the seals to head
quarters, or to return any of the seals
not desired so that the association may
account for all issued.
A lecture entitled “The Historical As
pect of Parliamentary Union of England
and Scotland, 1707,” was recently broad
cast by the British government over a
network covering all the British Isles.
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ADULTS LEARN ALPHABET.
Millions of Russians Taught in
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MOSCOW (/P). —Eleven million adult
Russians have been taught their A B Cs
in nine years, according to statistics
of the Society of Down With Illit
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In 1897 only 22 per cent of Rus
sia's 150.000.000 people could read and
write, says the society. The latest data
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The government has published ABC
books In 43 languages. In the more
backward regions of the Soviet Union
it has introduced the Latin alphabet.
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13

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