A prison gang snapshot – bikers rule the roost

Hells AngelsCanada’s federal prisons have a growing gang problem. More disenfranchised young men who live on a diet of drugs and violence on the street are importing that culture to penitentiary cellblocks, where they can dominate weaker convicts, continue to peddle drugs and kill whenever necessary. Confidential Corrections Canada documents that I obtained – including a gang profile of the inmate population at Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ontario – reveal that more than 10% of the prison’s convicts are gang affiliated and a dozen are outlaw bikers.

The problem with gang members is that they don’t just sit back and “do their time,” as oldtimers in Corrections might describe it. The gangsters, whether they’re outlaw bikers or street gangsters, like the Driftwood Crips, a notorious Toronto crew (3 of them in Joyceville), continue to do behind bars what they do best on the street – cause mayhem, run drugs and intimidate and threaten others. This means there’s often pressure on other convicts (a practice called muscling) who have outside connections to wives, girlfriends or other visitors, to smuggle in drugs, in order to avoid violence and stay safe (hear senior Corrections official talk about gangs and drugs in this previous post). The muscling and drug dealing is complicated by gang rivalries. Street beefs don’t dissolve behind bars, contrary to the that old adage about honour among thieves. Inside prison, Bandidos and Hells Angels bikers are still avowed enemies, meaning Corrections staff have to keep them separated and be vigilant about old grievances and unfinished business from the street. Gang rivalries often divide along racial lines too, meaning prison authorities try to keep the different races separated in different units and cellblocks of the prison.

• Aboriginal gang members: 4
• Asian gang members: 2
• Outlaw biker gang members: 12*
• Prison gang members: 2
• Street gang members: 30
• Traditional organized crime members: 3
• White supremacists: 1
TOTAL: 54 gang members
(total popn approx 400)
• Bandidos: 2
• Hell’s Angels: 6
• Simcoe County Chapter: 1
• Last Chance: 1
• Outlaws: 1
(one uncategorized)


Here’s my newspaper story from September 21, 2010, about  a big drug bust and violence at Joyceville that is fuelled by the gangs:

Six visitors to a federal prison in Kingston were arrested and drugs worth $30,000 seized, the latest in a string of incidents that have turned the penitentiary into a powder keg.
On Saturday, during a family social day at Joyceville Institution, staff intercepted 300 grams of marijuana, tobacco and drug paraphernalia, according to Corrections Canada.
Five visitors were charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and one person was charged with possession. More charges are expected.
“Charges are pending only against offenders,” said Lorrie Oddie, an assistant warden at Joyceville.
As a result of the seizure and the unusual arrest of half a dozen people in one incident, the warden ordered the more than 400 inmates at the medium-security facility locked in their cells to allow staff to scour the institution. Visits are cancelled.
The prison-wide search turned up $3,000 worth of heroin, another 24 grams of marijuana and other contraband, including one homemade weapon.
The Whig-Standard learned that Joyceville has been racked by violence, fuelled by booze and drugs, for roughly six weeks.
Since August, there have been three assaults on staff, two incidents of death threats against staff, more than 60 internal charges were laid against convicts for verbal aggression and disrespectful conduct, staff found 200 litres of homemade alcohol, nine homemade weapons and there were six inmate altercations.
Since May, staff have found more than 50 homemade weapons.
Oddie confirmed that there have been incidents but she could not provide statistics.
“We have had seizures of brew, there have been weapons found as well,” she said.
Oddie said there have not been any incidents recently in which staff suffered serious injury as a result of assaults by inmates.
Internal reports obtained by the Whig show that the number of serious incidents in every category at the prison have increased this year over last year including assaults on staff, inmate fights and disciplinary problems.
There have been 14 threats against staff so far this year, compared to four last year.
Jason Godin, a senior official in the union representing correctional officers, said Joyceville is “completely in chaos.”
“The drugs are rampant,” he said. “It’s the population it has now – it has the highest ratio of gang members Ontario.”
Senior corrections officials have been saying publicly for the past several years that the system is struggling to cope with a gang problem.
“We’re seeing folks that are serving sentences that are much more violent than they ever were in the past,” senior Corrections official Chris Price told Ontario police chiefs at a presentation in Kingston this summer.
Price said gangs are a big part of the problem.
Information obtained by the newspaper shows that more than 10% of inmates at Joyceville are identified as having gang ties, including a dozen outlaw motorcycle gang members and 30 street gang members.
Godin said the gang members are ruthless and more violent than many other inmates.
“Seizures [of contraband] at Joyceville are way up and I think that can be attributed to the population we’ve got there, the young, gang-affiliated more violent inmates,” he said.
The problems will only get worse, he warned, because of a ballooning prison population at a time when managers are trying to cut security positions at Joyceville to save money.
“It’s a cutback in staff, meanwhile the number of incidents continue to rise,” he said.
He said Joyceville has particular problems because it’s one of the few medium-security prisons without open-concept style cellblocks being built across the country, so the most dangerous inmates are being shipped there.
Joyceville is a decaying, 50-year-old prison.
“That population is extremely violent and we’re trying to manage them in an aging facility,” Godin said.
As a result of the problems, there have been several recent incidents of staff refusing to perform work, citing health and safety concerns.
It’s uncertain when the lockdown will be lifted, Oddie said. Visits are cancelled.

» Corrections Canada news release about the weekend drug bust at Joyceville (does not include detail about past problems)

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3 thoughts on “A prison gang snapshot – bikers rule the roost

  1. Hi people , I ‘ve done time in the Haven , the Ville, pitsburg , And frontinac institutions from 1991 to 1995 and then from 1997 to 2000 . So I have seen , heard and saw lots of things happining in those places . so your going to get this first hand with no bull shit , and first off I’m not a racist as I don’t care what your race , creed or color maybe if you treat me ok then I’d do the same ! If you try to play games or bullshit me then I don’t know that you exist …nuff said …. now , first of the muslems , queers ,diddlers , skin hounds , not to mention all the paid informants and out and out rats always get the preferential treatment in the institutions .When parole dates come up , Its the diddlers and other sex offenders that have about a 90 o/o chance of getting out on early release just because there are so many of them comming into the institutions all over canada , and they have almost nowhere to put them as they would be killed if put behind a wall . so they get put (almost automaticly ) into a farm camp where they suddnly find god and miracles of miracles they get some unnassuming church persom to believe thier crud story . next thing is they get the person or persons to come to the parole hearings and back them up so they get out early . Now one has to remember that the pedofiles have been luering and conning kids /people in general / even the parole members as itsin thier best intrest to get out faster than doing thier whole “BIT” . The end result is they get out to a half way house , stay there for a bit then get full parole and then after that they move to another area and start to do thier crap again .they may have only 1 or 2 convictions for the sexual offences but ask a guy that sells drugs if that was the only time he /she ever did that and they will tell you its the only time they did that (BULLSHIT) .and the thing is that the police /crown attounerys as well as the parole board members know this but seem to be forced to realease these lowlifes .
    Now for the paid police informants / rats ect .
    They get perefentral treatment for obvious reasons , they get protection from institutional staff , just because they tell staff about the goingons at the institutions
    It also gets mentioned at thier parole hearings so the parole board can look favorbly upon them. so they can get out early .One thing for sure they only care about themselves and make no mistake , they’d shit on anyone especially if your in there way to get out . this is for the people who haven’t been in trouble anyone else that has done time already knows this fact .
    Now for the muslems …. I don’t really have a beef with them (even after 911) not all of them are bad , just a few wackheads.
    but I found it really hard to get a “special diet ” (due to digestive problems ) Yet if I convertedto be muslem I could easily get thier special diet no problem . It took me about 7 months to finally get my diet and only after getting my street doctor to send them and me a copy of my medical file with respect to my dietary problems listed and recorded with him . but a institutional doctor still took 3 months to approve it …. Good thing I never had a heart problem .. the other thing is that when they never got things and or thier way , they go to the media and cryfoul about being descrimanated because of thier religon …. whine and cry and the institutions give them what they want , way more than any other group in the institutions ..

  2. Totally 100 % correct! I’m an ex federal convict (Joyceville as well) and can attest to the truthfulness of your statements! I was there in the early half to the late part of the 90’s and even then the Muslims weren’t subjected to urine tests, were in the process of having their own unit despite it being contrary to CSC protocol to segregate inmates based on race or religious background!

    The only power the bikers have is largely symbolic – the perks of having a patch! I was a black convict (there were 3 of us on a mostly biker unit (2A) and without a doubt the majority were feeble and a little to copper friendly. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the bikers lost the card shop, the last vestiges of their power lol

  3. i’ve done time in joyceville and other federal institutions and the muslim’s control joyceville. Contrary to what correctional Canada will make you believe the muslim’s run the place and they are untouchable (violence wise). There are also more than 3 driftwood crips because not all of them are identified as gang members. For example, if peel police arrest you and you are a gang member in Toronto, Peel dont have your file so it does not show.
    The bikers don’t run anything. They are febble and snitches

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