inside prison

Joyceville (Federal Correctional Institution)

Quick Facts
Country Canada
Province Ontario
City Joyceville
Security-Level Medium-Security
Website Joyceville Institution
Jurisdiction Federal
Year opened 1959
Capacity 452
Population 456
Famous Prisoners --
Joyceville Institution


35 year-old Clinton Suzack, who was convicted of murdering a Sudbury police officer in 1993, was the suspect in an escape attempt that came to the attention of guards by an anonymous phone tip. A recreation-yard fence was cut open, and a prison-wide search began. Joyceville went into lockdown, and Suzack was soon transferred to Kingston Penitentiary in maximum-security custody (The Globe and Mail, 2 December 1999).

In early July of 1979, two inmates escaped from Joyceville, allegedly using the absence of staff manning the guard towers between midnight and 8 a.m. According to the Globe and Mail, a penitentiary spokesperson said that Joyceville reduced its guard tower staff to save money, which was considered an acceptable measure at the time for all medium-security institutions (The Globe and Mail, 6 July 1979).

Suicides, Deaths, and Incidents

In January 3 the prison was locked down after an inmate was found dead in the prison's common area on Saturday night. The 49-year-old inmate was declared dead at Kingston General Hospital that evening.

Joyceville again went into lockdown on June 2 2004 after an inmate was found stabbed in his cell by staff. There was no explanation for the stabbing, and the prisoner remained in stable condition at the hospital. Another stabbing occurred three years earlier, in May of 2001, when one inmate was stabbed both in the neck and the stomach as he was making his way across the recreation yard in the evening. The OPP launched an investigation, a lockdown began, and visitations were canceled (Broadcast News 5 May 2001).

On March 30, 2000, 30 prison guards refused to go to work for fear that a cyanide had been smuggled in. 475 prisoners were confined to their cells. According to the Globe and Mail, guards demanded that every cell be searched for illicit substances, citing a previous successful attempt by inmates to smuggle in 800 gallons of alcohol and 67 weapons in the last month alone. The guards were under a federal right to refuse to go to work if they believe the workplace was unsafe. Cyanide has been previously used by prisoners as a deadly weapon, and can be applied in small enough quantities to fit on the back of a stamp, the Globe reported (The Globe and Mail, 30 March 2000).

In late July of 1996, 35 year-old inmate Mathew Strukelj, a Yugoslavian-born Canadian citizen was stabbed to death. The incident only came to the attention of staff the following morning after the stabbing, as Strukelj attempted to treat the wound himself in his cell. The suspect was placed in segregation (The Globe and Mail, 26 July 1996).

>> Latest News

January 2006: inmates are no longer allowed to smoke cigarettes indoors, including their cells, in an attempt to reduce the risk of second-hand smoking in prison. Joyceville's plan is to provide one 10 minute break in the morning and two 10 minute breaks in the afternoon to go outside to smoke. This is not including the five hours of recreation time available for smoking from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night. According to the Toronto Star, about 70% of Joyceville's approximately 500 inmates are current smokers. Critics of the move argue that the banning of indoor cigarettes will only increase the use of organized crime and smuggling operations within prison, and encourage prisoners to continue to conceal tobacco in small plastic pouches on their bodies (The Toronto Star 1 Feb 2006).



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