When an inmate had contravened one of the many rules and regulations they were sent to the HOLE inside Kingston Pen.
This is page three of information about the Kingston Pen, in the hole in Kingston Pen. If you care to read about and see photos of the Pen from the beginning, here is page one entitled Inside the Walls of Kingston Pen.
Inmates were stripped, searched (with all of the ugliness that that suggests) and then placed in a cell.
In more modern times, the inmate would be brought before a “judge” inside the prison to determine if their transgression merited time in the isolation cells.. The “judges” were practicing lawyers doing pro-Bono work. Brought before the “judge” their crime was assessed, and if found guilty, the prisoner was sentenced to time in “the Hole”.
In The Hole In Kingston Pen
An inmate could be sentenced to a maximum of thirty days at a single stretch inside the Hole. Who knows if, in the fullness of the complete history of Kingston Pen, that was always the case?
Thirty days inside the Hole doesn’t sound like much. However…
- the inmate got a mattress, blankets and books – that’s all
- they were not able to communicate with anyone else during their in-prison incarceration at all – no one!
- all meals were taken in silence in their cells with food passed through a slot – no talking
- the inmate got 60 minutes – one hour only – per day outside their cells in the outdoor exercise area – by themselves – in an area of about 15 metres x 15 metres (approximately 45′ x 45′), with walls 3-4 metres high around it, open only to the sky
- if it was pouring rain or blowing a blizzard, the prisoner did not have to go outside, but then, they got to spend 24 hours in the Hole that day
- if the inmate was illiterate – as many were – then they only had the mattress and blankets to entertain. Books would do them no good at all
A former guard, and one of our tour guides today, spoke of monitoring the Hole cells via the control center below, then walking down the short hallway, peering in at the captives, and seeing them lying there, staring at the ceiling hour after hour, or pacing their small cells, wall to wall, end to end, ceaselessly.
There were a few cells in the Hole section of Kingston Pen. If the inmates sentenced to the Hole exceeded the number of cells, some were transferred briefly to the Admin Cells, where some inmates chose to self incarcerate to isolate themselves from what were often dangerous situations with other prison inmates.
These next shots give you a sense of what the cells looked like in the hole in Kingston pen.
When their sentence is solitary confinement was done, this next image shows the view the just-released prisoner would see, as they exited the Hole, and reentered prison life.
Another part of Kingston Pen that many have heard about over the years is the Dome, added around 1850 through 1861 added to connect the four cell blocks. See photos and information about the Kingston Pen Dome here.