Fonds F01358 - Kingston Penitentiary fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Kingston Penitentiary fonds

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1835-1934 (Creation)
    Kingston Penitentiary

Physical description area

Physical description

75 microfilm reels : positive, 74 microfilm reels : negative

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Administrative history

In the 1830s a commission consisting of the Honourable John Macaulay, Hugh C. Thompson and Henry Smith Sr. had purchased lot N0. 20 in the first concession of the Township of Kingston as a site for a provincial penitentiary. KP is the first structure erected in British North America to reflect the requirements of the late 18th century prison reforms, namely one prisoner per cell, classification of the inmate population by seriousness of the crime committed, constant supervision, and a rehabilitative labour program. Construction began on the facility in 1834 and the first wing, the south cellblock, opened a year later. The other three wings of the main building, the hospital, dining room, shops, walls and towers were constructed by the inmates themselves. The cellblocks and the rotunda were not completed until 1860 Kingston Penitentiary opened on June 1, 1835, during the reign of King William IV. As the "Provincial Penitentiary of Upper Canada", KP welcomed its first six inmates that day, and thereby marked the birth of Correctional Service Canada and the beginning of 162 years of correctional history in this country. Initially the institution was operated by a warden, a deputy warden, a clerk, a surgeon, two instructors, one labourer, one matron, six keepers and six guards, then called watchmen. Once the institution was under the control of Upper Canadian authorities, convicts were put to work erecting new stone structures and building a high stone wall surrounding the prison grounds. Shortly after Confederation in 1867, the Kingston Penitentiary was taken over by the Domonion government and continues to function as a federal prison.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of minute books of the Board of Inspectors, daily journal of the warden, correspondence, accounts and receipts for labour of convicts in the penitentiary, punishment record books; hospital records; daily reports; liberation question books; duty rosters; Protestant Chaplain's registers; letter registers; and convict biographical information.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Microfilmed from originals held at Kingston Penitentiary.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

MF 598-599
MF 2280-2352.13

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Some restrictions apply.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright restrictions may apply.

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No further accruals are expected

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Location (use this to request the file)

  • Shelf: MF 598-599
  • Shelf: MF 2280-2352.13
  • Shelf: MF 899