Millhaven Institution

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Millhaven Institution
Aerial image of Millhaven Institute- 2014-05-21 18-03.jpg
Aerial image of Millhaven Institute.
Location Bath, Ontario
Status Operational
Security class Maximum security
Capacity 413
Opened 1971
Managed by Corrections Canada
Warden Kevin Snedden

Millhaven Institution is a maximum security prison located in Bath, Ontario. Approximately 400 inmates are incarcerated at Millhaven.[1]

Opened in 1971, Millhaven was originally built to replace the area's other maximum security prison, Kingston Penitentiary, in Kingston, Ontario. A riot at Kingston Penitentiary forced Millhaven to open prematurely. During the period of 1977–1984, a Special Handling Unit (SHU) operated at Millhaven along with its general maximum-security population. A new Special Handling Unit was subsequently opened in Quebec.

Millhaven also holds the federal inmate assessment unit (Millhaven Assessment Unit or MAU), and is one of two identically designed maximum security institutions in Canada. The other is located at Archambault Institution, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec.

On September 30, 2013 Kingston Penitentiary was closed. Many maximum security inmates that were housed there were transferred to Millhaven. The exact housing arrangements of such inmates as Paul Bernardo and Russell Williams are not known; it is likely, though, that they are in administrative segregation.[2]

Living units[edit]

Millhaven consists of three main living units, a segregation unit and a hospital wing. There are approximately 120 men per unit. Units have two levels. Ranges are double sided and have hydraulically locking metal doors, housing two inmates per cell. The ranges/cells are designated by alphanumeric code (i.e. B1, H2 etc.).

Main living units are designated by Alpha codes:

A Unit = Federal Intake and Assessment Unit- Ontario region (MAU) (ranges B, C, & D) [3]

E Unit = Federal Intake and Assessment Unit- Ontario region (MAU) (and institutional workers)(ranges F, G, & H) [4]

I Unit = Administrative Segregation/Special Needs

J Unit = Maximum Security Unit (MSU) (ranges K, L, & M) [5]

N Area = Main intersection and security control hub.

MAU (Millhaven assessment unit) houses inmates recently sentenced to federal time, in the Ontario region. They are assessed and placed in other prisons according to security needs. The average stay in MAU is about 3–6 months.[6]

There are inmates of all types in MAU, and it is classified as integrated (housing convicts serving time on all types of charges).

Federal parole violators are also returned to MAU to appear in front of the National Parole Board for disposition.

Certain special needs inmates (Protective Custody) have been known to spend years in MAU, as they may be in danger in other prisons (e.g. Patrick Kelly, former RCMP SI officer who was convicted of murdering his wife in 1983).

Correctional Services of Canada has stated they will likely move Millhaven Assessment Unit to Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ontario. This will facilitate more suitable housing at Millhaven Maximum Security, for transferred in inmates from Kingston Penitentiary.[7]

MSU (J unit) houses violent offenders, and is not integrated. (no sex offenders or informants). Many lifers are also housed in MSU. It is considered "gladiator school" and convicts who serve time there are revered in the criminal subculture.[8]


The perimeter fence.

The perimeter is surrounded by a double 30-foot razor fence, and has observation towers at the corners.

There is a 4-foot "warning fence" inside the perimeter of the exercise yard, that acts as a boundary inmates cannot cross without deadly force being used. Armed patrol vehicles with Colt Canada C7 rifles and parabolic microphones are on guard 24/7. There are motion sensors in the outlying property,[9] and multiple CCTV units throughout.[10]

Visitors are subject to personal and vehicle search once on CSC property, and an ION scanner is used upon entry to detect drugs or other compounds on clothing or personal objects. The visiting area is equipped with CCTV, and listening devices are embedded in each table.[11]

Inmates in the MAU (intake - A and E units) are allowed only screened visits, (behind glass).


Over the years, "Thrill Haven" has seen its share of violence. J unit is considered one of the most dangerous places in Canada's prison system. The most unruly inmates are often housed there.[12]

On the first anniversary of the August 10, 1975 suicide of prisoner Edward Nalon, prisoners at Millhaven refused to work and began a hunger strike for improvements to the prison system.[13] They asserted that their strike was in solidarity with a strike at the British Columbia Penitentiary, and their strike inspired sympathy hunger strikes at Collins Bay and Joyceville.[14]

In 2004, correctional officers employed at Millhaven Maximum Security were concerned about their safety after a rash of inmate uprisings. The Supreme Court of Canada had ruled that an inmate can conceal a weapon, (when in prison) if he/she is defending themselves. This ruling sparked a rash of weapon related attacks in the living units.[15]

In May 2009, Millhaven was the site of a riot which lasted less than 24 hours.[16]

On October 12, 2010, a correctional officer with a rifle shot a convict who refused orders to stop assaulting another prisoner in an outdoor recreation yard.[17]

On December 7, 2010, 120 inmates in the assessment unit refused to return to their cells at the end of a recreation period. They began to barricade themselves in the area and guards fired shotguns and used chemical agents to gain control of the situation.[18]

On March 21, 2011, inmate Jordan Trudeau was killed in an altercation. The event took place in the gymnasium area during exercise for "J" Unit (Maximum Security) inmates. Officers deployed chemical agents and fired shots to attempt to gain control of the situation. Trudeau was killed by correctional officers by a shot from a 9mm rifle to stop him from harming other inmates.[19] Two other inmates involved were wounded. The OPP Prison squad investigated the incident, and found CSC staff acted properly.[20] Convicted murderer of Toronto teen Stephanie Rengel (David Bagshaw, 21) was charged with attempted murder in regards to this (Jordan Trudeau) incident. He is an inmate at Millhaven (MSU) and was involved in the attack on another inmate that forced guards to fire shots. Bagshaw and another inmate (the attackers) were shot to stop them from assaulting a third inmate.[21]


Drug-smuggling Millhaven prison worker found dead

A manager at Millhaven (used by the Hells Angels to smuggle in drugs) was found dead August 21, 2011. David Martin had been arrested in August 2010, and charged with smuggling various narcotics into Millhaven.[22]

Federal cabinet minister stops media interview of Omar Khadr

In late April 2013 the Canadian Press reported (through freedom of information documents), that Federal Public Safety minister Vic Towes overruled the Millhaven warden, who had approved a Radio interview with Omar Khadr.[23]


Millhaven MSU (maximum security) inmates can gain employment in the CORCAN industries shop. Furniture for federal government offices is fabricated there. Inmates receive a small weekly wage for this work. (approximately $20).[24]


Stephen Reid [25] (bank robber of The Stopwatch Gang fame) stated that he was told by an aboriginal inmate whilst incarcerated at Millhaven in 1971 (upon opening), that it was built on a native burial ground. This meant the prison would be forever cursed, and a place of turmoil.[26]


In April 2006, a new division was created to house foreign citizens being held on security certificates. It has been dubbed "Guantanamo North".[27] Omar Khadr was transferred to Millhaven from Guantanamo Bay on September 28, 2012.

Khadr was transferred to Edmonton Maximum security penitentiary on May 28, 2013 due to threats made on his life in Millhaven. Khadr was transferred to Bowden Institution in February 2014.

Popular culture[edit]

The song "38 Years Old" by The Tragically Hip refers to an escape from the prison. The opening lines of the song say "Twelve men broke loose in '73, from Millhaven maximum security". There was such an escape, but the rest of the song alludes to fiction.

The track "Caller Go Ahead" on Canadian performer Bruce McCulloch's 2002 comedy album Drunk Baby Project features a caller on a sports radio show who is not able to watch televised games while at Millhaven.


  1. ^ "MILLHAVEN INSTITUTION Bath, Ontario". Correctional Service of Canada. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  2. ^ "Kingston Penitentiary: Canada’s most famous prison closes its doors". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  3. ^ "Millhaven Institution employee faces drug charges". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Millhaven Institution employee faces drug charges". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  5. ^ "LOCKDOWN AT MILLHAVEN". Correctional Service of Canada. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  6. ^ "DISTURBANCE AT MILLHAVEN". Correctional Service of Canada. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  7. ^ "RTC inmates being moved to Bath, Millhaven". The Whig Standard - Kingston. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  8. ^ Contenta, Sandro (2008-07-25). "Crowded prisons crucible for crime". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  9. ^ "Senstar - Millhaven Case Study". Senstar. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  10. ^ "Notice of Proposed Procurement". Government of Canada. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  11. ^ "Drugs in prison". Public Safety Canada. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  12. ^ Contenta, Sandro (2008-07-25). "Crowded prisons crucible for crime". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  13. ^ Prisoners Sue Government
  14. ^ "Security Tight at Millhaven," Globe and Mail, August 12, 1975, p2
  15. ^ "Millhaven guards fear for safety". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2004-11-03. 
  16. ^ Prison riot quelled at Millhaven pen
  17. ^ "Millhaven Inmate Dead". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  18. ^ "Millhaven Inmate Dead". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  19. ^ "Slain Prisoner Shot By Guard". QMI Agency ( Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  20. ^ "Millhaven Inmate Dead". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  21. ^ "Rengel Killer Bagshaw Charged". Cancrime. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  22. ^ "Drug-smuggling Millhaven prison worker found dead". CanCrime. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  23. ^ "'Overt political influence' in decision to nix Omar Khadr prison interview". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  24. ^ "CORCAN is a key rehabilitation program". Correctional Service of Canada. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  25. ^ "CBC News Indepth: Stopwatch Gang". Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  26. ^ David Wallechinsy, Amy Wallace, Ira Basen, and Jane Farrow (2005-12-27). "Stephen Reid's 10 toughest prisons in North America | - Canada - Features". Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  27. ^ "Canadian prison being called Guantanamo North]". CTV News. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°11′50″N 76°45′08″W / 44.19729°N 76.75229°W / 44.19729; -76.75229