Cabals, Quarrels, Strikes, and Impudence: Kingston Penitentiary, 1890-1914

  • Roger Neufeld


Kingston Penitentiary opened in 1835 with expectations of deterring crime and reforming criminals through labour, solitude, and careful discipline. The failures of the penitentiary, though, were exposed dramatically by the Brown Commission in 1849. Disappointments wtih regard to the penitentiary did not end there, and formal investigations recurred, especially in the 1890s and in 1914. The flawed character of the penitentiary model suggests that Michel Foucault’s theories might be both applied and critiqued in the case of the Kingston Penitentiary, especially with reference to the years after 1850.