Robert Carter Jr. (Letters, May 22) called for a rational discussion on the issue of prison construction. An obvious step in this direction is to examine a city that throws considerable light on this problem. The city is Kingston, Ont., Canada, where three federal penitentiaries exist cheek by jowl, with one of Canada's most prestigious universities. It is a serene and beautiful little city with tree-lined streets, old limestone houses and Lake Ontario lapping at its doorstep.
Kingston Federal Penitentiary (maximum security for men), Collin's Bay Penitentiary (medium security), and the federal penitentiary for women called the Prison For Women, are all located within the city.
Two of these maximum security prisons are both within comfortable walking distance of the university and this is an important factor in bringing the resources of Queen's University to the prisons. Even more important, it means that the town's people themselves have the opportunity to walk to prisons, visit the prisoners and if they are so inclined, may help to implement programs that will help the prisoners prepare for their paroles.
How do those who advocate isolation of these citizens explain the fact that the most exclusive and expensive neighborhood in Kingston is smack up against the fortress of a prison, built more than 100 years ago, the Kingston Federal Penitentiary? It is probably the safest area in Canada. The people I knew there didn't even double lock their doors!