Kingston Penitentiary Inmates

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Kingston Penitentiary Inmates, The steel doors of Kingston Penitentiary closed behind Wayne Ford, and all he could see were the lawns, flowers and limestone walls of the maximum-security prison.

The year was 1966 and the 19-year-old Ford was a lifer in the system and a member of biker gangs.

Even for a foreboding man standing nearly two metres high with broad shoulders and thick legs who had been in prison before, walking inside Kingston Penitentiary sent a small shock through Ford’s body.

“It has a mystique,” Ford said from B.C., recalling the five years he spent at the place known colloquially as KP.

“It’s the mystique. It’s the personality.”

Its personality emanates from the ominous grey walls that surround Canada’s oldest penitentiary, coiled razor wire adorning the tops of walls in between the guard towers at each corner.

Lake Ontario flows to its south and its hometown’s most affluent neighbourhood to the east.

To the west, the Olympic Harbour, so named because it hosted the best sailors in the world for the Montreal Olympics.

“Kingston Penitentiary is outstandingly different from most — not all — of the prisons (in Canada) because it is part and parcel of the city,” said Peter Hennessy, whose book, Canada’s Big House, documents the sordid history of the prison.

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