A Contribution to the Struggle Against Prison and its World

Unrest in Prisons


October 1st 2013 – Prisoners Strike Across the Country
Prisoners went on work strike in Ontario at Bath, Collins Bay, Fenbrook and Warkworth Institutions. They were joined later by prisoners at the Atlantic Institution in New Brunswick, Donnacona Institution in Quebec, Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Stony Mountain Institution in Manitoba, and at the Kent, Mountain, Matsqui, and Mission Institutions in British Columbia. A spokesperson for the Correctional Service of Canada confirmed on October 3rd “work and program refusals are occurring sporadically across the country.” The strikes have also forced the shutdown of the government’s CORCAN operations inside the prisons. CORCAN has contracts to make textiles, furniture, and other goods as well as repair vehicles for government departments and outside agencies. The most a prisoner could get paid was around $65 every two weeks with a CORCAN job. After the proposed 30% cut to prison wages the most a prisoner will earn in a day is $4.90. A prison staffer said “the threat of violence is always there” that “the inmates are protesting the way they’re being treated,” and that “there have been too many changes too quickly.”

More info:

September 8th 2013 – Don Jail (ON)
Over 30 prisoners took control of unit 3C of the Don Jail in Toronto. They used bed sheets to cover the bars, flooded toilets, and destroyed part of the common areas. Negotiations between the prisoners and prison administration began four hours into the conflict. At around 8 p.m. an agreement was struck to end the rebellion without charges being laid against the participants. The prisoners involved were later transferred to the Toronto East and Toronto West detention centres.

August 5th 2013 – Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (NL)
Around a dozen prisoners flooded a unit of the prison in St. Johns. They smashed windows and destroyed much of the unit with the use of makeshift weapons. The unit was incarcerating 17 people at the time of the disturbance. The prison’s emergency response team responded to the riot. A tactical unit and negotiator from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary were also called to help end the riot. The rebellion lasted 5 hours and ended around 4 a.m.

February 19th 2013 – Headingley Correctional Centre (MB)
A former Winnipeg Police officer was found dead in the showers at the prison in Headingley, Manitoba. Richard Dow was serving a 16-month sentence for sexually assaulting 17 women and 5 girls ranging from 15 to 24 years of age.

February 6th 2013 – Hull Jail (QC)
At around 9:15 AM, 16 prisoners refused to return to their cells and barricaded themselves inside the maximum security wing of the Hull Jail. Guards placed the prison on lockdown as the prisoners covered the windows and cameras from the inside. The prisoners set up barricades and caused damage to the prison; “TVs, doors, chairs, anything they had their hands on in that wing” was damaged according to Sûreté du Québec (SQ) Sgt. Marc Tessier. Gatineau police patrolled the outside, SQ officers were inside, a tactical unit and negotiators drove up from Montreal, and a police helicopter was deployed over the  area. The standoff ended 9 hours after it began through negotiations. The maximum-security wing is in its own section of the Hull jail and other parts of the jail were said to have not been affected by the rebellion. Twelve police negotiators have since set up a command post inside the jail to determine the reason for the demonstration and the prison officials have placed the area under lockdown. Stéphane Lemaire, president of the guards’ union, suspects that the prisoners were resisting being transferred to other prisons: “[it] was probably that they [prisoners] didn’t want to be transferred. There were some who were  going to be transferred.”

January 20th 2013 – Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (NL)
Prison placed on lockdown most of Monday morning after a prisoner jumped the prison wall in an attempted prison break. He was recaptured shortly after.

January 12th 2013 – Central North Correctional Centre (ON)
Prisoners on most of the cell blocks of Unit 5 refused to lock up in their cells at 6:30 PM. Guards ordered the prisoners to comply with the lock up and were met with defiance from prisoners on cell block 9A. Around 50 guards were brought in to attack those who resisted. Some prisoners were placed in segregation following the incident. Alex Hundert states that “the protest was against the ongoing degradation of our living conditions here, which was a culmination of dissent after a week where we had been locked down for all or part of every single day.” For more information go to the communications From the Inside, or visit Alex’s blog at

January 6th 2013 – Collin’s Bay Institution (ON)
Prisoners refused to go to work in the kitchens. The following day the entire population went on strike. They did not work, go to school, or participate in any of their scheduled programs. The prison houses 583 prisoners. The strike was about the conditions of detention within the prison and lasted three weeks.


November 12th 2012 – Baffin Correctional Centre (NU)
Prisoners and guards evacuated the Baffin Correctional Centre late that night, as firefighters put out the flames. A news release stated that “the fire was [quickly] isolated and damage was minimal.” The fire was deemed “suspicious” by prison officials. In October 2011, a fire broke out after three inmates set fire to linens in their cells.


December 4th 2011 – Grande Cache Institution (AB)
A 56-year old prisoner died in his cell while the prison was on lockdown. The prison was built in 1995 for male offenders. It was built to accommodate 203 inmates but currently houses 233, according to the Correctional Service of Canada website.

December 2nd 2011 – Kingston Penitentiary (ON)
The prison was placed on lockdown and searched after a prisoner assaulted a guard. Prison staff found two weapons, homemade alcohol and a television that had been altered to create a hiding place inside it. “We anticipate the search will continue for the rest of the week,” said Michele Vermette, assistant warden management services.

October 20th 2011 – Baffin Correctional Centre (NU)
Prisoners started a riot and lit parts of the prison on fire with their bedsheets. Iqaluit’s RCMP and fire department were called in to quell the riot. Three inmates accused of lighting their bed sheets on fire were transported to the RCMP holding cells in Iqaluit for the duration of the investigation. The prison has been on lockdown since the riot. No injuries were reported to prisoners, guards, or police.

October 7th 2011 – Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (NL)
The prison went on lockdown on Friday the 7th for five days and government officials have said nothing about what caused it. A prison spokesperson said the lockdown was enacted because of “an internal security matter.”

October 5th 2011 – Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (BC)
FRCC was placed on lockdown after prison staff received an anonymous letter from prisoners alleging that one of them had a “pen gun.” A pen gun can shoot a .22 round. No gun was found after a search of the prison. FRCC was originally built to hold 254 inmates, but is currently 200 per cent over capacity. Most units have one guard supervising between 30 and 35 inmates, on some days the inmate to guard ratio can climb to 40:1.

September 26th 2011 – Saint John Regional Correctional Centre (NB)
At around 10:30 PM, 12 prisoners in maximum security unit 1-B refused to cooperate with the evening routine. They damaged a dayroom, sprinkler heads,  doors, windows, and alarm systems. Emergency crews stood by for two hours for the conflict to end. Denise Durette, with the Elizabeth Fry Society, said overcrowding has become a problem on the men’s side. She said she’s also hearing complaints about a lack of food, since the province switched to a standardized meal system on April 1st.

September 12th 2011 – Millhaven Institution (ON)
At around 8 PM, prisoners living in the maximum security unit of the maximum security prison refused to return to cells from a recreation area. The prison went on lockdown and the prisoners returned to their cells that same day.

August 22nd 2011 – Stony Mountain Correctional Centre (NB)
100 convicts took control of their range and built barricades with desks and other items. The incident ended after three hours of negotiation. There were no injuries and no damage to the prison. The standoff came as concerns grow about Stony Mountain’s transition to a prison with a maximum-security cellblock. Construction is under way on a 96-bed maximum security wing. All inmates and visitors can expect greater scrutiny and tougher rules, corrections experts say. Inmates whose history doesn’t call for maximum-security treatment will see their freedom curtailed, says Howard Sapers, the federal prison ombudsman. “Their conditions of confinement, the manner in which they’re housed, in which their movement is controlled, will reflect the higher security level and not the appropriate security level,” Sapers said in an interview. The prison was placed on temporary lockdown following the rebellion and no visits were allowed for all 578 inmates. These conditions are shared by all of the prison expansions that are under construction from coast to coast, and for prisoners the frustrations can also be shared.

August 4th 2011 – Cape Breton Correctional Centre (NS)
At approximately 12:30 AM, three prisoners barricaded the doors to the dorm with bedsheets and held guards back using makeshift weapons. They were subdued three hours later after guards used stun guns on two of the men. “We have no estimate on damages yet” said Dan Harrison, spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. There was damage to furniture, a television, bathroom fixtures and the sprinklers, which resulted in water damage. The dorm area housed 13 offenders who have since been moved to other units in the facility while the damages are repaired. Police were called to the scene as a precaution, but did not intervene. The medium-security facility in Gardiner Mines near Sydney only handles adult male offenders. It opened in 1975 and has a maximum capacity of 96 inmates. The facility is staffed by some 102 full-time and part-time employees.

June 28th 2011 – Collins Bay Institution (ON)
For several days, prisoners refused to report to their prison jobs in protest of the excessive use of double-bunking. Double-bunking is the practice of forcing multiple people to live in a cell designed for one person. Read more at

April 25th 2011 – Joyceville Institution (ON)
Guards patrolling a recreation area saw inmates fight at approximately 8:50 AM. They issued orders for prisoners to halt and then fired chemical agents in a bid to contain the violence. Kingston Fire and Rescue responded to a 911 call around 9:26 AM, but firefighters were not allowed entry. They remained on standby outside the prison gates until 1:05 PM. A reporter on the scene observed seven ambulances positioned inside the prison fates, in front of the institution. As the ambulances idled, Corrections vehicles patrolled the perimeter of the building. Audible shouting and swearing could be heard outside the prison, before the reporter was told to leave the premises. Kingston General Hospital was told to expect up to 40 inmates. Eight convicts were injured, one seriously, according to the Correctional Service of Canada. The OPP Pen Squad was called in late Sunday to investigate. All visits to Joyceville Institution have been cancelled until further notice. Last month at Millhaven Institution a fight broke out in the recreation yard. Guards there used chemical agents to quell a fight where two inmates involved were allegedly stabbing a victim. Guards shot and killed one inmate and wounded another who was allegedly stabbing the victim. The wounded inmate was later charged with attempted murder.

April 20th 2011 – Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (BC)
A man breaks out by climbing over the fence and sneaking through the surrounding wooded area.

March 20th 2011 – Millhaven Institution (ON)
A fight between inmates erupted in the gymnasium of the maximum security unit at around 6:30 PM. Guards deployed chemical agents and fired live ammunition to gain control of the situation. One inmate is dead and two others are in the hospital with serious injuries. Neither police nor Correctional Service of Canada representatives are saying whether the man died of a gunshot wound or at the hands of other prisoners. Jordan Trudeau, 29, was pronounced dead at 7:15 PM. He arrived at the prison on May 12th, 2010, to serve eight years for robbery and accessory, after the fact, for a murder in 2009. The maximum security unit at Millhaven houses about 130 prisoners. In a little more than six months, authorities have had to fire shots on three different occasions to quell a disturbance.

March 15th 2011 – Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (NL)
Around nine inmates refused to return to their cells and decided to take their frustrations out on the unit by setting off fire extinguishers and damaging walls. The disturbance ended with a prisoner suffering a broken hand. The facility, which dates from the mid-19th century, has a capacity for 145 offenders, yet typically houses 170 or more. The Department of Justice is in the preliminary stages of planning a new institution.

March 9th 2011 – Edmonton Institution (AB)
Guards dressed in riot gear intervened in a disturbance among inmates. “Warning” shots were directed at inmates wielding homemade weapons. No guards were injured, but two inmates were sent to the hospital with “some types of wounds.” The incident was said to have been caused by a fight between two groups. The prison was placed on lockdown.

March 6th 2011 – Mountain Institution (BC)
Inmates find themselves in the final stages of a struggle to form a prisoners’ union. Their lawyer, Natalie Dunbar, said organizers at the prison in Agassiz are trying to sign up members for ConFederation, Canadian Prisoners’ Labour Union, Local 001. A spokeswoman for the institution said administrators are moving carefully because no penal institution in Canada has ever been confronted with the issue. Inmates work in the facility’s store, the cafeteria and as plumbers’ and electricians’ assistants. Some also work on the facility’s vehicles at the institution’s garage and others are considered employed while they take various courses. “There is a lack of resources at federal institutions to address issues such as proper work boots and qualified first-aid personnel.”

February 15th2011 – Hull Correctional Centre (QC)
Inmates set fire to a mattress on the day of a staged protest by the Quebec union of prison guards. The wing of the prison was evacuated. The small fire produced a lot of smoke, which led to four guards and two inmates being taken to the hospital sometime after 1:15 AM for smoke inhalation. The guards’ protest involved 50 members of the Peace and Correctional Officers Union of Quebec walking off the job briefly, calling for better wages and more vacation time. They gathered outside the facility at 7 AM, and then marched down St. Francois Street blowing whistles and red horns. They returned to work by about 8:15 AM. Guards said they had been instructed not to talk to the press, but according to the union website, contract negotiations were scheduled for the same day.

January 30th 2011 – Collins Bay Institution (ON)
The Correctional Service of Canada stated that there was an incident in the afternoon involving eight to ten inmates in the recreation building of the medium security facility. Guards intervened and gained control of the situation. Several inmates were injured in the incident. Weapons were found and the prison was put on lockdown.

January 17th 2011 – Kent Institution (BC)
Guards put the prison on lockdown for seven days in order to complete a fullscale sweep of the prison. This plan follows several instances of drugs being seized from inmates. All visits have been held off for the duration of the search.

January 6th2011 – Millhaven Penitentiary (ON)
For the second time in two days, Corrections Canada staff at Millhaven Institution were busy trying to negotiate with 110 inmates who refused to return to their cells. According to Corrections, the prisoners were upset over the restrictions that were placed on their recreations activities, as a direct result of Tuesday night’s uprising.

January 4th2011 – Millhaven Penitentiary (ON)
At 10 PM, 139 inmates from the Assessment Unit refused to return to their cells. The commotion ended three-in-a-half hours later following successful negotiations between staff and inmates, who were all returned to their cells by 1:30 AM.


December 31st 2010 – Brandon Correctional Centre (MB)
Emergency response members were called New Year’s Eve to deal with inmates who refused to be locked down until they rang in the new year.  Once midnight arrived, the prisoners returned to their cells of their own accord.

December 30th 2010 – Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (BC)
Three prisoners escaped prison custody while working on a work crew in Alco Park, which is situated in the 24900 block of Alouette Road. It is not felt the escapees will be violent.

December 18th 2010 – Toronto West Detention Centre (ON)
A prisoner in violation of parole took out a hammer and uttered death threats as he smashed computers and office furniture in the prison admitting area, where inmates are searched and issued prison clothing, around 9 AM in the morning. He was eventually subdued after being tackled by officers. Police said “he suffered some cuts.” Jail workers alleged the prisoner caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the office.

December 7th2010 – Millhaven Penitentiary (ON)
Tuesday evening at 9:45 PM, 120 assessment unit prisoners at Millhaven refused to return to their cellblocks from recreation period. When staff tried to negotiate, they were “met with aggression,” Corrections said. The prisoners tried to barricade the entranceways so the guards could not quickly get into the area. Security staff fired blasts from shotguns and used chemical agents to gain control of the rebellion. No one was seriously injured, but some inmates were struck by pellets. There were no inmate-on-inmate assaults. All of the prisoners were back in their cells just after 6 AM Wednesday. Jason Godin, regional president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, said senior managers tried to downplay the incident as minor; he had a different opinion: “that’s a major disturbance; that’s serious business.”

December 4th2010 – Hull Detention Centre (QC)
Quebec police evacuated about 20 prisoners from one wing of the prison after rioting inmates set fire to a mattress and broke some television sets at about 10:20 pm. Police say the prisoners were escorted outside the facility, where they began to throw rocks at police.

November 27th 2010 – North Fraser Pre-trial Centre (BC)
An inmate snuck up behind a guard and hit him in the back of the head with a broom handle.

November 16th 2010 – Central East Correctional Centre (ON)
A set of 6 keys were announced missing. Some are for individual doors and some are master keys that work all the doors in larger areas. The facility was never searched, as is required by a policies and procedures manual for all correctional facilities that house adult prisoners.

November 15th 2010 – West Coast Correctional Centre (NL)
An inmate was sent to the hospital following a scuffle with prison guards. RCMP were called to investigate and concluded that the guards were acting “within the scope of their duties.”

November 10th 2010 – North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre (BC)
At 4:45 PM. an inmate punched a guard several times. Once the guard had fallen on the floor he was kicked and stomped on until backup arrived. The guard was partly unconscious and suffered cuts and bruises to his face and had a concussion. This was the 29th assault on a guard in the past two years at the Port Coquitlam facility, which was originally built in 2000 to house 300 inmates but on average holds 650 prisoners.

November 8th 2010 – Nanaimo Regional Correctional Centre (BC)
Kenneth McCabe, 34, escaped from custody while working on a prison farm just outside the centre’s security fence. Police recaptured him a day later. McCabe is the only prisoner to walk away from a work party in Nanaimo this year. Two prisoners walked away from Nanaimo work parties in February and November 2008 and two inmates escaped by climbing over the correctional centre fence in August 2008. Two other prisoners went missing from a work party on the Nanaimo BMX Track in Beban Park in August 2007.

October 19th 2010 – Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (BC)
BC Corrections has launched an internal investigation following the death of a prisoner; they anticipate its completion within a month. Ridge Meadows RCMP was called to the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC) in Maple Ridge at around 7 PM to attend to the 32-year-old male. FRCC is also the temporary holding area for hundreds of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in August. FRCC was built as a maximum-security prison to hold 254 inmates; with the addition of the Tamil migrants the count is over 800.

October 18th 2010 – Millhaven Institution (ON)
Guard shot inmate with a 9mm rifle during fight amongst prisoners. Prison went on lockdown at 11:45pm.

October 8th 2010 – Saskatchewan Penitentiary (SK)
A prisoner died in prison today after a fight amongst inmates. Seven prisoners required immediate medical attention and inmate Courtney Dallas Cook died as a result of his injuries. No staff injuries were reported. The prison went on lock-down at 8:15 pm. Cook was the second inmate to die in the prison this year. The prison currently incarcerates 503 people in medium-security and 166 in maximum.

September 11th 2010 – Saskatoon Correctional Centre (SK)
Three inmates, drunk on prison-made alcohol, forced their way into a staff office and held weapons to the throats of the guards in duty. They demanded their keys in this attempted prison escape, but were thwarted when one of the guards managed to push a panic button in the room, summoning a flood of co-workers who were able to subdue the three inmates. No one was injured. Kendal Campeau, 20, Brett Wapass, 21, and Randy Brabant, 23, pleaded guilty in provincial court to charges of attempted escape, kidnapping and forcibly seizing three jail guards while armed with shanks made from an oven rack. They received sentences ranging from 3 to 3 ½ years.

September 3rd 2010 – Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre (NS)
An inmate punched out a guard. She suffered two black eyes and had to get stitches. Two male guards were assaulted at the jail last month. One was punched in the face on Aug. 6 and another was stabbed in the abdomen with a pen the next day. Also, police recently laid mischief charges against 17 male inmates who were involved in a three-hour riot at the jail in June.

August 20th 2010 – Riverbend Institution (SK)
Two inmates escaped from this minimum-security jail but were recaptured several hours later.

August 10th 2010 – Toronto East Detention Centre (ON)
300 inmates went on hunger strike to protest the conditions in the prison on Prisoner Justice Day. On this day, similar forms of resistance are taken by prisoners in penitentiaries across the country to remember those who died in prison as well as to resist their current incarceration and/or to struggle to change it. Read full story here:–prisoners-go-on-hunger-strike-over-bad-food

August 7th 2010: Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre (NS)
A jail guard was stabbed in the afternoon. Halifax regional police were called to the jail at about 2 PM. The guard was taken to Dartmouth General Hospital with a stab wound in his abdomen. The injury was not life-threatening.

July 22nd 2010: Stony Mountain Institution (MB)
Around 20 inmates refused to return to their cells. They destroyed furniture, caused water damage to the building, and barricaded themselves inside a wing of the prison. Negotiations were attempted by Correctional Services’ staff, but inmates refused to communicate. An emergency response team was called in to break the revolt and an ambulance left the prison with someone in a stretcher.

July 21st 2010: Orsainville Prison (QC)
Fourteen inmates ran riot in the prison’s F-Wing after a fight broke out amongst prisoners. Guards ordered everyone back into their cells. Some of them refused and instead set fire to a mattress and some clothing. The entire wing of the prison was filled with thick smoke when guards retreated and sealed off the corridor. When the guards returned, 8 prisoners were incapacitated and two (Eric Adamson Yaouvi, 20, and Denis Ampleman, 45) were found dead. Paramedics were called 55 minutes after the first fire alarm was pulled. It took another hour for the first ambulance to ferry the injured to local hospitals. Every inmate involved was awaiting the end of their trial. This incident started three separate investigations, one by provincial police, one by the coroner, and the last by the Correctional Services. This isn’t the first riot in the prison this year; police were called in to deal with riots and small fires in March and May.

July 20th 2010 – Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (NL)
Inmate Barry Smith, 33, is alleged to have used a television to assault four guards at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary.

July 4th 2010 – Estrie Youth Centre (QC)
Three inmates housed at the Val-du-Lac building on the centre refused to return to their cells after the 8 PM curfew. They armed themselves with wooden bats and began hitting things and yelling for other inmates to join them in starting a riot. After hours of negotiations, an intervention team moved in to put down the rebellion because the bats “are considered a deadly weapon.” One guard was hit with a bat and another struck an inmate with his taser. The rebellion ended shortly after 10 PM and three 17-year-olds face a number of charges in Quebec Juvenile Court, including making death threats, armed assault, and participating in a riot.

June 15th 2010: Central Nova Scotial Correctional Centre (NS)
The Jail went on lockdown after an inmate was stabbed. 17 prisoners in another wing of the prison refused to return to their cells and smashed windows and recreational equipment.

May 15th 2010: Brandon Correctional Institute (MB)
Around 11 inmates went on a rampage, smashing windows and other fixtures. After a few hours, an emergency response team put down the rebellion.

April 18th 2010: Joyceville Institution (ON)
Some 70 inmates refused to return to their cells and fought with prison guards in the recreational yard. 27 remained outside all night until an emergency response team forced them back into their cells the next morning. Five inmates suffered minor injuries and three were brought to the hospital.

February 11th 2010 – Beaver Creek Institution (ON)
Inmate escapes by arranging laundry on the bed to look like someone lying down. He’s noticed missing at 8:30 PM. He was recaptured March 3rd after a brief foot chase.

January 26th 2010: Edmonton Institution (AB)
After refusing to return to their cells, prison guards shot over a dozen canisters of tear gas, in order to return around 27 of the prison’s 240 prisoners back to their cells.

January 9th 2010: St. John Regional Correctional Centre (NB)
About 16 of the 153 inmates in the provincial jail barricaded themselves inside a wing and damaged the property. Fire trucks responded but it is unclear whether there was fire involved. The jail was placed on lock down after the rebellion was put down.


November 23rd 2009: Manitoba Youth Centre (MB)
Four youth barricaded themselves inside a unit of the jail. They made weapons, smashed things, and lit a fire. Police and an emergency response team came in to quell the revolt. The damage is estimated at $52,000.

October 4th 2009: Brandon Correctional Institute (MB)
Twenty-seven inmates ran riot, damaging the units. The riot act was read; pepper spray, stun grenades, and water hoses were used to put down the revolt. Extensive damage was caused to the jail, including an exterior wall that was smashed open, and fire that were lit.

July 21st 2009: Warkworth Institution (ON)
About 200 of the 579 inmates ran riot for 20 hours. 13 inmates were sent to the hospital, one died of an overdose, and the recreation area was set on fire as inmates burned “whatever they could get their hands on.” The riot act was read for the first time in the prison and “let it burn!” could be heard chanted from the recreation yard throughout the night. The prison remained on lockdown for weeks, making it the longest lockdown in its history.

June 13th 2009: Frontenac Institution (ON)
An inmate escaped but was caught five days later.

May 20th 2009: Millhaven Institution (ON)
Some 48 prisoners refused to return to their cells and tried to break into an adjacent yard. Shotguns and gas were fired at the prisoners to put down the rebellion.

May 11th 2009: Collins Bay Institution (ON)
Around 327 prisoners did a one-day protest, refusing to work or participate in programs, against changes to their daily routines and other “social development issues.”

April 8th 2009: Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre (NS)
Nearly 60 inmates went on a rampage after refusing to return to their cells. They set fire to garbage cans and bookshelves, smashed windows, used shards of glass against the guards, and ultimately caused more than $300,000 in damages. Pepper spray and tear gas were used to quell the riot.

March 30th 2009: Matsqui Institution (BC)
95% of the 220 prisoners at Matsqui refused to go to work or participate in programs to protest a restructuring of their workday and time in the yard. The prison went on lockdown May 11th. Several prisoners initiated court proceedings citing inhumane conditions during the work strike and were shipped off to other jails or put into solitary confinement. The nine-week lockdown ended on June 5th after lawyers went public with complaints about the deteriorating conditions in the jail. There are no phones, toilets, or sinks in the cells of this old jail.

March 28th 2009: Niagara Detention Centre (ON)
About 17 inmates wearing masks and wielding homemade weapons took control of a section of the prison until the police broke up the rebellion. Damage to the prison was quoted at $2,000.

February 7th 2009: Regina Correctional Centre (SK)
The prison went on lockdown after inmates got rowdy overnight. One prisoner ripped a sprinkler head off the ceiling of his cell. Three others barricaded themselves inside a cell with mattresses for several hours until the prison guards managed to remove them.

February 5th 2009: Atlantic Institution (NB)
Around 36 of the 225 prisoners of the Atlantic Institution refused to return to their cells for the night. The prison went briefly on lockdown after the rebellion was ended.

January 10th 2009: Stony Mountain Institution (MB)
100 prisoners rioted. They set fires and threw garbage cans at the prison guards. Some stabbed each other in gang related tensions. The corrections officers fought back with pepper spray and displayed their shotguns. It took six hours to put the prison back under their control.


December 3rd 2008: Regina Provincial Correctional Centre (SK)
Two prisoners broke apart desks in their cells and used the pieces to smash out some windows in a possible escape attempt.

November 28th 2008: Grierson Centre (AB)
A man sentenced to life in prison for killing his landlord walked away from the minimum-security prison.

November 25th 2008: Pinegrove Correctional Centre (SK)
A prisoner escaped during an “escorted absence into the community.”

November 19th 2008: Niagara Regional Police Headquarters (ON)Someone ripped a toilet out of the wall of a holding cell, flooding the building and causing a ceiling to collapse. He was tasered in a battle with the police and charged with two counts of mischief, breach of probation, and assault with intent to resist.

November 16th 2008: Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre (NS)
Prisoners in two rooms refused to comply with a lock down and trashed one of the cells. 13 guards were called in from home and other parts of the facility to help put down the revolt. Tasers were used on the prisoners. This jail, which has room for 224 inmates, has been overcrowded with over 300 people for some time now.

November 8th 2008: Saskatoon Correctional Centre (SK)
Two inmates climbed several fences of the prison but were caught before clearing the final fence.

November 8th 2008: Kent Institution (BC)
A fight broke out in the gym among prisoners. They were sent back to their cells to be placed into lockdown. Some refused and instead tried to break through a fence to gain access to the roof. Guards used gas to get the prisoners under control and after a scuffle, a guard was sent to the hospital.

November 7th 2008: Paul Dojack Youth Centre (SK)
Four men escaped. Three of the inmates were apprehended shortly afterwards while the fourth remained at large for ten days.

October 25th 2008: Brandon Correctional Institute (MB)
Two inmates escaped by getting through a fence in the exercise yard and climbing to the roof. They were unfortunately caught later that day.

September 26th 2008: Kent Institution (BC)
Prisoners refused to return to their cells to protest the new “enhanced structure program” for prisoners with “behavioral issues.” Negotiations took place and the prisoners returned to their cells the next day.

August 24th 2008: Regina Correctional Centre (SK)
Six men escaped through a hole dug into a cinderblock wall and covered by a radiator grill. They protected themselves with blankets as they climbed over a barbed-wire fence. One of them was recaptured shortly after, and the rest were recaptured a month later.

August 15th 2008: Kingston Penitentiary (ON)
Two prisoners tried to escape by sneaking onto the gymnasium roof. They attached a homemade grappling hook made of metal clamps with a rope, composed of shoelaces and wire, onto a razor-wire fence.

August 6th 2008: North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre (BC)
A man escaped by impersonating another inmate in court. He was recaptured two days later with the collaboration of a gas station attendant.

August 5th 2008: Millhaven Institution (ON)
Well over 100 inmates refused to return to their cells, preferring to spend their time in the yard or gymnasium. The walkout was staged in protest of increased drug surveillance at the prison, including random cell searches and the use of sniffer dogs and ion scanners to detect contraband. The next day they are all searched and the prison is put on lockdown.

July 17th 2008: Atlantic Institution (NB)
Prisoners refused to return to their cells. It took seven hours and the prison’s incident response team to get the prisoners placed in lockdown. After the revolt, there was damage to lights and cell door windows.

July 2nd 2008: Cowansville Institution (QC)
Around 50 prisoners ran riot in protest to a new smoking ban in prisons, breaking windows and attempting to break into the section of the prison reserved for prisoners with “disciplinary sanctions.” Guards were deployed with AR15 assault rifles, and pepper spray was used to put down the rebellion. The prisoners went on strike, refusing to work or participate in programs, until July 14th when they ended their revolt. No concessions were made regarding the smoking ban.

July 2nd 2008: Drummondville Institution (QC)
Prisoners went on work strike and refused to participate in programs in protest of a new smoking ban. A week later, around 51% of the strikers voted to end the strike. Some were threatened with transfers, and those that were soon to be admissible for conditional release were threatened with disciplinary opinions written on their files.

July 1st 2008: Edmonton Institution (AB)
A major knife fight broke out in the yard, and guards wearing riot gear moved in on the prisoners who by then refused to return to their cells. Tear gas and eventually live rounds were fired; a bullet struck one prisoner. Prisoners set a large sweat lodge on fire. After the fighting ended and the wounded were taken to the hospital, 40 inmates still refused to return to their cells. It took six canisters of tear gas to contain them.

May 26th 2008: Springhill Institution (NS)
Prisoners refused to work or participate in programs in protest of the new smoking ban that came into effect on May 20th as well as to protest against a broken drug scanner, which was turning away visitors. The prisoners voted to end the strike on June 23rd.

April 3rd 2008: Mission (BC)
A man who was being transported as part of an ongoing investigation escaped from police custody. While he was standing outside a police cruiser in the company of a couple coppers, he managed to jump into a moving pickup truck as it sped away.

April 3rd 2008: Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre (NS)
A man, who was being transported from a jail in Dartmouth to a medical appointment, freed himself from his leg shackles, jumped out of a transport van, and evaded recapture.

March 31st 2008: Joyceville Institution (ON)
At 9:30 PM prisoners started smashing furniture, flooding cells, setting fires and attempting to smash through walls and barred barriers. Prison bosses handed out shotguns to staff and called in a prison riot squad, who shot tear gas to control the riot. The riot lasted five hours and cause $25,000 in damage.

March 30th 2008: Mountain Institution (BC)
After breaking into a storage room in the gymnasium, around 60 rampaging inmates armed with baseball bats and fire hoses seized control of the jail. They flooded areas of the prison; smashed up cells, control posts, computers, and even the panel that controlled cell locks. Two inmates died, including a child molester who was beaten to death for informing on others and then laughing about it. The other inmate died of a drug overdose. Twenty-two prison staff fled to the roof of the open-concept prison, fearing for their lives until backup came with shotguns to put down the riot.

February 26th 2008: Port-Cartier Institution (QC)
Around 13 prisoners refused to return to their cells after guards seized tobacco from a prisoner. Pepper spray was used and an emergency response team was deployed to manage the situation.

February 15th 2008: Millhaven Institution (ON)
The prison went on lockdown for over a week after a prisoner assaulted a guard, fires were set in a maximum-security area, and a weapon was found in the kitchen.

February 9th 2008: Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (BC)
In the second riot in six months, angry prisoners set fires, broke windows and smashed up their cells. It took nearly four hours for tactical teams to put down the revolt. On August 9th 2007, over 30 inmates ran riot, causing extensive damage to a living unit. Sprinkler heads were broken off, which resulted in flooding. Windows were attacked with metal pipes. Prisoners had access to other areas through a ventilated pipe shaft. Eventually they had access to elevators and caused around $300,000 in damage before tactical teams arrived to put down the rebellion.

February 7th 2008: Moncton Detention Centre (NB)
Prisoners refused to return to their cells after supper. This resulted in a brawl between several inmates and guards. All available guards arrived on scene to deal with the prisoners. One guard received a back injury during the altercation. Earlier in the week, two guards got into a fight with an inmate. One guard was punched in the face and her eye swelled shut. The other received seven stitches behind the ear and had bite marks on his back.

February 7th 2008: Orsainville Prison (QC)
Two days after the Quebec government declared its smoking ban inside and outside prisons, 70 inmates set fires in their cells. The next day, the Provincial Public Safety Minister Jacques Dupuis immediately reversed the decision in order to allow smoking outside the buildings.

January 25th 2008: Matsqui Institution (BC)
Around 170 prisoners at the facility in Abbotsford refused to return to the living unit, and set blazes in the yard – burning garbage, foliage, and a gazebo. A negotiator and an emergency response team were deployed to manage the situation.

January 1st 2008: Hull Detention Centre (QC)
About 15 prisoners refused to return to their cells. Instead they damaged doors, windows, and their cells before being controlled by guards. Pepper spray was used to put down the revolt, and ten inmates were later transferred to other prisons.

6 Responses to “Unrest in Prisons”

  1. hi there.

    great site, except that the orange is kind of heinous.
    anyhow, i just wanted to suggest that under the “news 2010” section, you start posting things with a date. it’s great that the news stories are chronological, but the date would also be useful information in some circumstances.


    • To be honest, the news isn’t always chronological.

      I guess that’s why it would be a good idea to add the dates (at least of when a news article was written in the mass media). Also, don’t be shy to ask if there’s any information you think we could provide regarding a news article.

      The action reports usually have dates written into them, but it’s sometimes difficult for us to find the date when something happened if we haven’t done much research on the subject matter before stumbling across some half-witted journalists’ reporting.

      Just for the record, we put a lot more energy into researching events in the chronology of “unrest in prisons.”

      Regarding the orange, this website is fairly new and like most of our projects, our focus is mainly directed towards its content rather than its appearance.

      Nonetheless, thanks for the interest / feedback!

  2. Hi there,
    I live in Lumby – the Mayor wants to take advantage of grant money (in lou of taxes) for a provincial prison – he has not given us facts and we are in the dark.

    What is a minimum security prison? Is that a remand centre?

    How much space would a new proposed prison take up?

    How many staff and guards are needed in a 360 cell provincial jail I think it’s double bunking

    Any help would be appreciated

    • Hi,

      Minimum security only refers to the security level of a prison; minimum security can apply for both a provinvial prison or a federal prison. As you mention later on in your article, the prison is planned to be a provinvial prison.

      In practice, a remand centre is not all that different from a provincial prison. That’s because remand centres are designed to hold someone in jail (to be remanded/ in remand) until they are sentenced or convicted of an offense. Provincial jails hold people who have been sentenced to 2 years minus a day, for the duration of that sentence; but with the overpopulation in prisons, today 2/3rd’s of prisoners in provincial prisons across the country are people who have yet to be convicted of a crime. That’s why provincial prisons and remand centres seem to function the same in practice, although the latter was designed only to hold people until after their trials.

      In terms of the space a new prison would take up, that depends on its size and how big they make the rec yard. I’ll see if I can find some examples of how many acres average provincial jails take up and send it to you by email.

      How much staff for a new prison? That also depends on the budget. In Nova Scotia, where prisons are fairly understaffed for a number of reasons (overpopulation, funding, etc) there are wings in the central nova scotia correctional centre holding around 200 prisoners and they are being policed by 2 guards (and at times 1). Staffing also depends on they type of prison, some new isolation prisons require very few guards to staff them because of the advanced surveillance and control technologies.

      From my understanding it’s difficult to measure the affect that these different factors would have on a new prison.

      I hope this helps… At least to clarify how it’s difficult to predict certain aspects around new prisons.

      Lastly, yes. The prison will most likely be double bunked, because of how crowded provincial jail populations are in BC.

  3. As one of the principle participants in the aug 07 riot of frcc, I will say this:treat people with common courtesy and respect and the solid guys of the imate populace (the only people with the pull or ability to stage these occurrences) will respond in the same fashion. Go on a needless, arrogant power trip and things can rapidly escalate and go beyond staff control. It is wise to remember:regardless of their state of incarceration, these are wolves (the solid inmates) being guarded by sheep. The uniform is and situation is understood and tolerated by the wolves out of force and necessity of the moment (incarceration), but push too far and baser instincts will manifest and reality will come into collision with correctional doctrine. The inmates live there, the guards must report daily to work there, best to co-exist with a mutual tolerance and respect to the situation, it is always a mutual arrival at whatever interaction occurs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: