The First Inmates

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

End of an Era, the closing of the Prison for Women in Kingston

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.

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

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