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Revolt in a New York Prison.

A scene of great excitement took place at the Sing Sing prison, New York, on the 25th August, when a general revolt amongst the convicts was narrowly avoided. The disturbance was due to the obstinacy of one of the inmates of the gaol named John Barrett, a noted New York burglar and rowdy. This man, having refused to work on the ground of sickness, and grossly insulted the doctor who visited him, was punished by a species of flogging called “ paddling.” The next day two of the warders went to his cell and took him to the chaplain’s office, where he behaved with insolence, standing with his hands in his pockets. The warders laid hold of him to force him into a more respectful attitude, when he raised one arm,-* and it was found that he Vinrl a knife in his hand. Witn this weapon he aimed three blows at one of the warders, who was severely stabbed in the thigh. Barrett then made off through the yard, and into the moulding shop, where he armed himself with several pieces of iron, and with them escaped to the roof. A warder named Good followed him, and Barrett threw at him the iron bars, but fortunately without seriously injuring him. The chase was by this time taken up by another warder, and the convict was brought to bay in the moulding-room, i in which a large number of convicts are kept at work. Here he seized an iron “rammer,” and, placing himself against a water T tank, kept his pursuers off. Great excitement began to prevail. It was the dinner hour, and the convicts from other parts of the gaol were assembling in line before going to the refectory, and these men commenced to encourage Barrett to resist and attack the Carders. Seeing the danger of the situation, the warders drew their revolvers, and threatened to use them • but the convicts made light of the threats, and were tumultuously assembling in a ring round the' warders, who stood back to back, when Barrett began to swing his formidable weapon about, in a threatening manner. Thereupon, after a further warning, one of the officers, named Good, fired his revolver point blank at Barrett, the bullet penetrating his heart. After this evidence of determination the inmates of the gaol altered their demeanor and became tractable, and the crisis was over. There were 12 prisoners in the gaol, most of whom assembled together in the mess-room at dinner time, and had the spirit of revolt spread amongst them the consequences must have been most serious. An inquest on the body of the deceased convict was held in the evening, when the jury found the killing to have been in self-defence, and necessary for the maintenance of discipline.

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Bibliographic details

Revolt in a New York Prison., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 7, 11 October 1879

Word Count

Revolt in a New York Prison. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 7, 11 October 1879