Murder on the Inside: The True Story of the Deadly Riot at Kingston Penitentiary

Catherine Fogarty. Biblioasis, $16.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-77196-401-2
Fogarty’s well-researched and moving debut examines a 1971 Canadian prison riot and the conditions that caused it. Located in Kingston, Ontario, Kingston Penitentiary opened in 1835, making it Canada’s oldest prison. By 1971, the prison was in poor physical condition, overcrowded with inmates, and understaffed. Prisoners could spend years in solitary confinement, where many died by suicide and often ate only bread and water. On April 14 of that year, inmate Billy Knight, the prison’s barber, instigated a riot demanding better civil rights for the prisoners. Six guards were taken hostage, and an inmate committee started day and night negotiations with a citizens committee. The government had no intention of giving in to the inmates’ demands and ordered the army to surround the prison. With the army expected to storm at any minute, the general population became violent, almost destroying the prison and beating undesirable prisoners, namely sex offenders and snitches. Two died, and 14 had to be hospitalized. Four days after the start of the riot, the prisoners surrendered. Fogarty sympathetically portrays Knight and others who acted in good faith. For readers who have ever wondered about life behind bars, this is a must-read. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/08/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-77196-402-9
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