"Opened in 1947, The Rideau Correctional Centre in Merrickville, Ontario originally served as a minimum security facility where inmates learned farming skills while serving out their sentences. The agricultural component was phased out over the years, in favour of treatment programs. In the latter years of the jails operations, it housed mainly sex offenders and drug addicts in the 354 beds, and offered various treatment programs in an attempt to combat recidivism. These treatment programs included anger management, substance abuse, and relapse prevention.
The Rideau Correctional & Treatment Centre closed in 2004 as part of the Ontario governments Infrastructure Renewal Program, and the inmate population was transferred to the new super jail in Lindsay. The program also brought about the closure of almost twenty other provincial jails, including the Millbrook Correctional Centre, which I also explored recently.
Our exploration begins with a long walk across the farmer's field, which was once maintained by the inmate population. We continue through dense vegetation and thick brush under the hot summer sun. Ninja and I, clothing covered in thistles and thorns, eventually make our way down a steep embankment, and then back up the other side of the crevice, pushing aside grasses and weeds that are taller than ourselves. We are overjoyed to come across what inmates here would surely have loved to encounter: A hole in the fence.
And so here we are, breaking into prison..."