The Closing of the Prison
for Women in Kingston
July 6, 2000

The First Inmates

It was ironic that after so many years without a separate women's prison, the first inmates of the Prison for Women would be men and not women.

In 1932, overcrowding pressures at Kingston Penitentiary, exacerbated by a riot, left the Warden with little choice but to transfer 100 men to the Prison for Women despite the fact that it was still under construction. They remained there until December 1933.

On January 24, 1934, under the guidance of Supervising Matron Ms. Edith A. Robinson, the first women arrived at the new prison, ending a serious overcrowding problem at the Female Department of the Kingston Penitentiary. With the exception of the two chapels, the prison was complete.

Edith A. Robinson
Edith A. Robinson,
Supervising Matron from 1934 to 1944.

In that first year, the population averaged about 40 women.