Hon. E. D. Fulton (Minister of Justice):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement to the house on the riot which took place yesterday morning at Collins Bay penitentiary, where 441 inmates are held.
The disturbance started at 10.30 while the majority of the inmates were having their morning recreational period in the yard within the prison walls. There had been no advance warning either by rumour, as is usually the case in disturbances of this sort, or by any indication whatsoever. The breakout was sudden, and a number of the prisoners proceeded to set fire to buildings, smash windows, throw pop bottles, etc.
By 10.50 sufficient extra guards had been assembled so that an armed shock troop could be sent in equipped with rifles, tear gas, nauseating gas, and other appliances. Within ten minutes thereafter the riot was under control, and by 11.30 the inmates had been sufficiently secured so that the vehicles of the Kingston fire department and the township fire department could enter the gates and fight the fires. City, provincial and Royal Canadian Mounted Police also assisted in quelling the outbreak.
One hundred and thirteen inmates were actually segregated as those being involved in the riot. During the course of the riot two men were injured. A guard suffered scalp lacerations, presumably from flying glass or a flying pop bottle. One inmate suffered a leg wound which is a flesh wound only. He was wounded when a number of inmates attempted to storm the kitchen and, when ordered to stop, refused to do so. Approximately 12 shots were fired in the air as warning shots, but when the immates still refused to stop a low shot was fired and one inmate was wounded. This immediately stopped the attack on the kitchen and undoubtedly saved an enormous amount of property damage.
An estimate of the damage to the buildings based on information at present available is $52,500. This is exclusive of machinery,
which could not be properly assessed until power was turned on and the machines of various types tested. The buildings damaged were two dormitories, the carpenter shop, paint shop, dissociation cells and minor damage to several other shops. An investigation is under way to ascertain, if possible, the cause of the disturbance and what, if any, further steps may be taken to prevent similar action in the future.
I would like to compliment very sincerely the staff at the penitentiary for their prompt action. Within half an hour after the riot had broken out the inmates were contained. The promptness of the action beyond a shadow of doubt saved many thousands of dollars of property damage and, as it was, for a riot of this size the property damage was small in comparison with other such occurrences. I would also like to acknowledge the prompt assistance rendered to the staff by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario provincial police, the Kingston police and the local fire-fighting forces, to whom we are extremely grateful.
Subtopic: COLLINS BAY PENITENTIARY
Sub-subtopic: STATEMENT ON RIOT