The Guards’ Digest [of the Headingly Provincial Gaol]


Burritt, (Colonel) Royal (1876-1962)

Out of stock


Burritt, (Colonel) Royal (1876-1962). The Guards’ Digest [of the Headingly Provincial Gaol]. Headingly, Manitoba: The Provincial Gaol, E.J.D., 1943-1945. First Edition, First Printing. Tall 4to., measuring 9″ x 14″. Textured green cloth over boards with gilt lettering to the front board. A bound volume of an exceedingly scarce penological periodical/digest published by the Headingly Provincial Gaol from February, 1943 to June, 1945, and comprising of 29 issues. Published under the governorship of reformist Col. Royal Burritt (1876-1962) each issue numbers 2 – 3 pages, and comprises of various scholarly, and practical articles for the betterment of correctional employees. It is exceedingly enlightened for its time with articles discussing all manner of penological affairs sometimes offering unusually detailed discussions; for example offering insight with respect to the mental health of inmates. Unusually, for its time the issues openly discuss homosexuality, lesbianism, and other sexual preferences of the prison population. Indeed, in the preface to the first issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) of February, 1943, Burritt qualifies the need for such a publication by stating: “It is proposed to publish each month excerpts from Lectures given and articles written by authorities on Modern Penology. By this means it is hoped to refresh the minds of the officers serving in the penal institutions of Manitoba, in the fundamental principles of the philosophy of Modern Penology and also in respect to their duty and attitude in living up to those principles. In other words this Digest will be of much educational value and should be carefully read and studied by all officers”. A fascinating historical record, often incredibly far-sighted in its insights we are unable to locate any issues of this periodical amongst any institutional holdings. Not recorded in OCLC, LAC/BAC, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. Rare indeed. A real estate broker, soldier, and civil servant Col. Royal Burritt was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Order, as well as the Croix de Guerre. Following his appointment as Governor of the Headingly Jail (Gaol) in 1938 he rapidly instituted a range of reforms. Under his tenure, conditions for inmates improved dramatically with prisoners permitted to talk, smoke, and play cards during their daily rest periods; sunbathe while working outside and afforded a cup of cocoa before bed, and after lunch prisoners could also smoke in their bunks. Inmates were also now permitted to plead their grievances directly to the Governor with a 10:00 a.m. time set for inmates to bring forth their complaints every day. Effective March, 1939 movies were shown to inmates on Thursday afternoons as the recreation activity during the fall and winter months. Burritt’s tenure also saw the cessation of compulsory attendance for religious ceremonies in 1944. He died at Winnipeg on 13 October 1962. Hardcover. (#1519) $1,295.00