An Ontario man charged with violently assaulting two people in southwestern B.C. is a paroled killer responsible for five deaths in a 25-year criminal career that includes a dramatic prison break, the kidnapping and rape of a woman and a shootout at a police roadblock. Documents acquired by Cancrime reveal that Thomas Brydges, 73, who is serving a life sentence, was granted full parole – the most permissive freedom for a lifer – in 2014, despite a psychological assessment that concluded his risk for reoffending was “moderate-high level” and despite a previous failure on full parole. Brydges was notorious in Ontario, in part, for drowning four friends when he drove a stolen car into a canal to elude pursuing police and for his role in a breakout from medium-security Collins Bay penitentiary in Kingston that led to a three-day crime spree.
An incarcerated murderer who escaped prison eight years ago, aided by his pretty prison psychologist-lover, has made a startling admission to authorities. The revelation raised alarm about the risk posed by killer Andrew Wood, who fled penitentiary after Erin Danto, his secret sweetheart, smuggled him a cellphone, equipped a campsite hideout for him and schemed to conceal his whereabouts.
Corrections Canada doesn’t seem concerned by a 45-per-cent increase in the rate of escapes from penitentiaries over the past three years. The rate in the 2015-16 fiscal year was 1.23 escapes per 1,000 inmates, up from 0.85 three years earlier, according to a departmental plan for 2017-18 recently tabled in parliament (read it in full after the jump). The prison service says that “in spite of the increase in the rate of escapes during the last three years, the results are still meeting CSC’s target.” It demonstrates that, if you set your expectations suitably low, any achievement is acceptable. This isn’t the only non-success at the $2.5 billion a year penitentiary service. In this three-year period, the rate of “non-natural and undetermined offender deaths in custody” rose by 60 per cent.
When the Conservative government shuttered 178-year-old Kingston Penitentiary, Canada’s oldest prison, in the fall of 2013, it was briefly opened for two rounds of public tours. Tickets, at $20 each with proceeds to charity, were snapped up quickly and the website selling them crashed under demand. Many people were left disappointed. Unfulfilled curiosity for what lies beyond the 10-metre high, truck-thick stone walls will be satisfied this summer, with the announcement that public tours will resume in late June 2016 and run until the end of October. The tours are possible because the 20-acre complex is mostly empty and disused. While tours may offer a fascinating view of prison conditions, did you know you could have owned a piece of the pen, for a pittance?
(UPDATED JULY 14) It’s not surprising that convicts at Joyceville Institution, a decaying medium-security federal prison in Ontario that is racked by gang violence and tension, want to get away from the place. It is a brutal, crowded and decrepit facility built on a ridge overlooking the scenic Rideau Canal waterway on the northeastern outskirts of Kingston. Staff there recently discovered an escape plot, sources tell me, just the latest in a series of problems at the 52-year-old penitentiary.
I was remiss in not posting sooner that the motley crew above, all federal convicts who escaped in 2009 from the same federal prison in Kingston, are now all back behind bars. The last remaining fugitive from Frontenac Institution, Kenneth McBain (centre), was caught January 27 in Toronto by the Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Unit (ROPE), a cross-province team of officers – Ontario’s version of the famed U.S. Marshals. The ROPE squad hunts federal parole violators and escapees.
A federal convict who escaped from minimum-security Beaver Creek penitentiary, near Gravenhurst, Ontario, and then led police in the Toronto area on a wild chase, is a savage domestic abuser who appears to aspire to kill women, Cancrime research shows. Robert John Saunders, 57, was recaptured today after a 200-kilometre chase that ended in a crash.
The tally of violent cons to escape a minimum-security federal prison in Kingston has risen to three this year with the disappearance yesterday of Kevin Douglas Rice (above left). Rice was last seen at Frontenac Institution, a pen with no fences and no armed guards, at 8:15 a.m., November 26. Staff realized he was gone during a head count at 11:30 a.m. Other escapees this year are Kenneth McBain (centre), who bolted July 6 and is still on the loose and Andrew Wood (right), who was caught days after his escape in June.