KINGSTON, ONT. - The places are synonymous with violence, depravity and dread. Attica, Rikers, Sing Sing, San Quentin, Alcatraz: Legendary lockups south of the border where survival — not necessarily rehabilitation — is often the goal.
In Canada, the most notorious is the one known simply by its initials, KP — Kingston Penitentiary.
"We hated the place," said Wayne Ford, now in his 38th year of liberty since serving a murder sentence, in part, at KP. "If you were a criminal, you knew about KP and you didn't want anything to do with the place."
Canada's oldest prison closes Monday, 178 years after it opened.
KP's hardened reputation as a fortress of fear goes back nearly as far.
"It's a foreboding physical structure," said Paul Henry, a respected, retired prison psychologist, whose 42-year career consisted of only a few weeks at KP. "Guys talk about the clanging of the gates behind them when they first walk through. It's a very intimidating place."