Kingston Pen an icon of evil

Four of the most reviled prisoners ever housed at Kingston Pen from the left are Paul Bernardo,...

Four of the most reviled prisoners ever housed at Kingston Pen from the left are Paul Bernardo, Michael Briere, Mohammad Shafia and Russell Williams.

Patrick Kennedy, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:01 PM ET

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."


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