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So you think things like electronic harassment can't happen?

Monday  November 09, 1998
CBC Radio (National) THIS MORNING
Introduction/Interviewer:  Avril Benoit
Interviewer:   Rosie Rowbotham
Interview with:  Dorothy Proctor, Allen Hornblum, and
                 Dr. George Scott


AVRIL BENOIT: It is known that the U.S. government used prisoners
as guinea pigs for often horrific experiments conducted in the name
of commerce and science. Now there is growing concern over
experiments on Canadian prisoners, experiments in sensory
deprivation in which prisoners were placed in solitary confinement
for weeks at a time. Experiments in pain tolerance using electric
shocks and other experiments in which prisoners were given massive
doses of LSD and other drugs without their knowledge nor their
consent. Correctiions Canada has investigated the matter and now a
Federal Report calls the experiments "unethical, even by the
standars of the day". One former inmate has launched a
multi-million dollar lawsuit against the doctors who used her as a
human guinea pig and against Corrections Canada for allowing it to
occur. The woman and one of the doctors she is suing spoke with our
Contributing Editor, Rosie Rowbotham, who joins me now:

AVRIL BENOIT: When did these experiments occur?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Well they started in the 1960's here in Canada and
went as far as the mid-1970's. It depends on which offender you are
talking to.

AVRIL BENOIT: Which prisons did they occur in?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: They happened in Prison for Women [P4W], East Cell
Block [ECB] inside Kingston Penitentiary and Millhaven.

AVRIL BENOIT: How many prisoners were involved as guinea pigs?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: We're not sure of the exact number, but it is safe
to say several dozens alone here in the Kingston area.

AVRIL BENOIT: You spoke with several of them. What do they say
about their experiences?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: I talked with both Canadian and American prisoners
Avril, and some were ex-cons and some were still serving time.  A
few of the Canadians, one in particular, had served time in Raway
(sp) Prison in New Jersey. His tale is of psychotropic drugs and
eventually he has cirrhosis of the liver now, and is back doing
time in Canada, and he is terminal, he is dying. Another Canadian
who is doing time today talks about Millhaven ECB and he talks
about sensory deprivation, shock therapy and many many types of
drug experimentation.

We talked about LSD experimentation. We are going to hear from one
of the prisoners, a woman named Dorothy Proctor, in a few minutes.
But I wanted to talk a little about America first.

AVRIL BENOIT: Which is where the controversy started? How would you
compare then what happened here, to what happened in the States?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: In the USA there was a lot of experimentation with
the pharmaceutical companies. They were using dioxins as a skin
cream on many of the prisoners. Starting in the twenties, thirties
and forties. Cancer cell injections, many things.  In Canada the
emphasis was more on drugs, especially LSD, shock therapy and
isolation. But the important thing is that we came along and
borrowed a lot of the idea from the USA because it is a perfect
control group a prison population, for several reasons. Instead of
an old folks' home or mental institution, they could report on what
happens to these drugs, and so the experimentation gives them some
results,  some results they can follow.

AVRIL BENOIT: You mean because they are lucid enough to tell you
what they are experiencing.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: And the area is controlled where they are going,
what they are eating.

AVRIL BENOIT: And they can't leave.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: We have a completely controlled group.

AVRIL BENOIT: Was it also the fact that many people of the time
were absolutely unsympathetic with prisoners, as many are still

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Well, I would say it was back in the times, in the
thirties and forties, I don't think anybody even gave a second
thought about prisons or what was happening to them. Nobody was
talking about it. I talked to an American author, Allen Hornblum.
He has written a book about experiments on American prisoners
called, ACRES OF SKIN. He went to Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia
in the early 1970's as a literacy teacher, and this is what he saw

ALLEN HORNBLUM: One of the things that immediately shocked me was
the great number of inmates who had bandages and adhesive tape on
their backs, on their chests, on their arms. I thought to myself,
"is this from a prison riot, was there a fight on a cell block - I
had no idea what it was." And the next day a guard told me, he
said, " oh that's no big deal, that's just the experiments for the
University of Pennsylvania. They are doing a perfume study." It
turned out it was part of a very large research program by a famous
doctor at the University of Pennsylvania.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: I understand the famous doctor you are talking
about is Dr. Albert Kligman. How did he start off at Holmesburg?  I
understood this thing started off innocently enough.

ALLEN HORNBLUM: That's right. Periodically there would be outbreaks
of athlete's foot which you can imagine, in a large, unhealthy
environment. Well, either a doctor or technician or pharmacist at
the prison called Dr. Kligman and said we have this problem, take a
look at it. He did come up, and when he walked through the front
gates of Holmsburg I believe he was amazed by what he saw. As he
said, what he saw before him were "acres of skin".    He no longer,
in my estimation, saw them as people or prisoners - he saw them as
acres of skin which would be perfect for dermatologic study. He did
in fact say, "He felt like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the
first time" and that these men represented an anthropoid colony
perfect for dermatologic testing. He basically set up shop there.
It ran from the very early fifties to the mid-seventies.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: What is the worst thing that happened there, in
your memories?

ALLEN HORNBLUM: There are a number of them. One of things that
makes the Holmesburg story unique is that so much was done there -
it was really like a K-Mart of investigatory operations.
Holmesburg was like a university of research. They ran experiments
on a cross-section of things on thousands of inmates for nearly
twenty-five years. A of it was very innocuous stuff, product
testing. Hair dyes, lotions, detergents, athlete's foot medication,
eye drops, toothpaste, things of that nature.

They also did some more serious Phase One Testing - new drugs that
were coming on the market. But worse and far more dangerous was the
fact that Dr. Kligman was applying dioxin to the faces and backs of
prisoners; injecting prisoners with radioactive isotopes; and for
many years injecting prisoners with various chemical warfare agents
for the Army and the CIA.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Now that wasn't just happening in Holmesburg. From
reading your book, you talk about this expanding to other parts of
the country.

ALLEN HORNBLUM: That's right. Just about every state in America had
at least one prison that was acting as a source for medical
experimentation. We tend to see one prison focusing on one
particular malady or problem over a short period of time.
Pennsylvania, the state I am calling from, unfortunately had, in my
estimation, the worst reputation. We had double to five times as
many prisons involved and that is probably because the area of
Philadelphia and South Jersey is such a hotbed for pharmaceutical
companies and medical schools.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: But some of these are horror stories. Taking
cancer cells and injecting them in patients in Ohio State; having
their testicles stuck in radioactive water as a test for
sterilization.  RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company testing for bladder
cancer. It seemed to be out of control.

ALLEN HORNBLUM: I think that's a good way to characterize it. And
that's one of the things I find so frustrating and outrageous. At
the end of the War it was the United States (not Russia, not
England, not France) that put the Nazi doctors on trial for what
they did at Bergen Belsen, Auschwitz, Ravensbruk. We harangued
those Nazi doctors, we lectured them, we found them guilty, we
ultimately hung seven of them but at the same time we were doing
that, in our own country we were injecting plutonium and uranium
into unwitting hospital patients.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Didn't the Nazis say that at the trials at

ALLEN HORNBLUM: They did bring up the fact that the United States
had used prisoners as test material. It surprised a lot of folks on
the American side because they were not aware of it, but the Nazi
doctors and their legal counsel became aware of it early in the
trial, and they used it as exculpatory material. I am not sure it
did them any good but what's worse in my estimation is after the
trial we ended up doing up more of it rather than less of it.

AVRIL BENOIT: American author, Allen Hornblum, talking with Rosie
Rowbotham about his book, ACRES OF SKIN: the human experiments at
Holmesburg Prison, published by Rutledge.

Rosie, when Canadians started their own research on prisoners, did
anyone raise any ethical objections?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: No, and at the time if they did, who would care if
they did speak out?  These prisoners, again, were a perfect group
to do experimentation on, especially when it comes to psychiatry.

AVRIL BENOIT: You interviewed one woman, Dorothy Proctor, who has
launched a five million dollar lawsuit against the doctors, and
Corrections Canada. Tell me about her.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Well, she was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
She had a fairly tough upbringing. For her first adult crime she
was sentenced to three years for robbery at the age of seventeen.
She was sent to the Kingston Prison for Women in 1961. This is what
happened to her.

DOROTHY PROCTOR: Being a young girl and being labelled as a
juvenile delinquent I behaved as such. The authorities used my
behaviour as an excuse to label me as a sociopath or a psychopath
and that was just a label, that was just language they could put on
paper so they could legitimately receive funding for the
experiment. Now I know that I was being primed with sensory
deprivation to prepare me for the other experiments. At that time I
didn't know.  I was told it was for disciplinary reasons.

I was put in the Hole [solitary segregation] for all sorts of
violations.  When I was in the Hole it was for twenty days or
twenty-some days - but actually I used to go the Hole for fifty two
days with just bread and water.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Tell us what that was like, being in the Hole for
52 days.

DOROTHY PROCTOR: That was - what was it like? Well, at my age -
actually Rosie, I am glad I was the age that I was because I was
young and ignorant, probably didn't have enough sense to realize
what was going on. All I know is that it was frightening. I thought
I was going to die. I thought "I can't live 52 days bread and
water". Every third day I would get a bowl of porridge and a boiled
potato and I wouldn't be let out. So what I would do to occupy
myself was exercise, I would sing, I would dance. I had visitors -
spiders, insects.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: These are real insects - this was before the LSD?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: (laughs) Oh yes. Real insects. Before the LSD.
Little things that you find in these places. Because you have to
amuse yourself. I never thought of a future because right then and
there, there was no future to think about.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Okay now, what about the actual LSD? When did this
come about? They started the sensory deprivation.

DOROTHY PROCTOR: Also electric shock - I had electric shock often -
I would say when they began - maybe two, three times a week. That
was within my first year and that was combined with going to the
Hole.  I would come out of the Hole and of course I would react. I
mean look what they were doing to me. Sometimes I would physically
engage with another inmate and so any infraction - I would be put
in the Hole. But it seems strange to me Rosie, the other inmates I
would engage with would never be put in the Hole. It was just me

I believe I was targeted from the very beginning. I don't want to
play the race card but I really can't help but think that perhaps I
was targeted because first of all I was very, very young.  I think
I was the youngest inmate there. I didn't have any family support.
I didn't come from a background of influence or power and plus I am
Native and Black Canadian.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: After these electroconvulsive therapy, what was
done with the LSD?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: After the electric shocks and the sensory
deprivation I believe they were preparing me. Mr. Eveson, the
prison psychologist, used to come down - now this is where I am
connecting the dots. I believe brainwashing was the issue here. He
would come down, he was a soft-spoken man, non-threatening in his
body language and behaviour. He would come down to the Hole and he
would speak to me like "Dorothy I am making arrangements to have
you released. Please try to cooperate with me and I will try to
help you." Almost a Stockholm Syndrome started to set in with me.
He would be the person to come and release me, rescue me so to
speak. He would be very soft spoken with me and kind. So now he's
my friend.

Before Mr. Eveson, I was also seeing Dr. Scott, the psychiatrist.
Now Mr. Eveson comes down to the Hole, and he has a student with
him, a lady psych student from Queen's University and she's to take
notes.  He pulls up a chair for her and him, and they are outside
in the hallway section of the cell - this is through the bars.  I
am on the floor, no mattress just a blanket, then I am taken out of
the cell that has a commode. I am now in cell with a hole in the
floor for my toilet. That had backed up so I am also in my own
waste and stench -- you can imagine.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: You set the ambience.

DOROTHY PROCTOR: Yes. So he comes out and presents me with this oh,
you know, we want to help you so much, we want you to correct
yourself, and we want you to be able to rehabilitate yourself. And
I am your friend, and you are worth saving, so just cooperate with
me scenario.  And I have here a pill or something like that just
might help you.  I am going to rescue you. That was the LSD.

I don't think it was fifteen or twenty minutes before Dante's
Inferno. It was obvious. I am locked in. I can't get away. And the
walls start the walls start to move in on me, and they melt.  The
bars turn to snakes, there was an awful physical vibration in my
body.  It was just awful, just awful, and of course, any mind that
I had to think in reality, I just thought I had gone mad, that's

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: How long did these LSD experiments go on?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: I clearly remember over ten sessions but we could
only find documents that support I think, three. That's fine with
me, I am not going to play a numbers game here because one time,
ten times, fifty times. It should have never have happened.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Did Dr. Scott or any of the other doctors or
medical staff at the Prison for Women  at any time tell you why
they were doing this?  Did they have any justification for doing
these experiments?  What did they tell you?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: They have no reason to tell me anything. I was a
nothing, I was just something to experiment on. They probably
discussed it among themselves but it was never discussed with me. I
was not worthy of that respect.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Was there informed consent? Did they ask you to
sign any forms saying that you were aware what they were doing and
you had given permission for them to do these things?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: No, absolutely nothing. They took permission, they
took charge of me and my life and my brain.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Tell us more about Dr. George Scott, he was man
who actually ran these experiments. What was he like?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: I don't have a clear memory - I have a clear
memory the existence of a Dr.  George Scott. I don't have a clear
memory of interacting with him. The only evidence I have to support
that are his own letters, documents referring to sessions with me,
they gave me psychological tests, and I was "highly intelligent"
according to Dr. Scott.  "Above average in intelligence" in his
words, and "fairly gifted".  Now Rosie, why would take a child who
was "fairly gifted" and experiment on them and take a risk of
making them "mad", causing them to be insane?

Not only that, they created a drug addict, I had never done drugs.
I walked out of Kingston Prison for Women with $47.00 in my pocket,
a one-way ticket to Montreal, and a full blown drug habit.  I
remained a drug addict for twenty-four years, and all that means.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Did you do drugs in prison, contraband drugs that
were in prison as well, like heroin, while they were doing these

DOROTHY PROCTOR: I didn't have to do contraband drugs. I had my own
little drugstore with Dr. Scott and Mr. Eveson. They were giving me
drugs.  I had LSD and I had pharmaceutical drugs. I couldn't even
pronounce the names. We have lists of them in our documents.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Do you have any lasting physical effects?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: I have flashbacks. I have to live alert 24 hours a
day. Most people can take their days, their movements, their
actions, for granted.  I can't.  I am always making sure that I am
stepping the right way but it's not noticeable to anyone who is
watching me. It's something I have learned to live with and I
handle.  I don't go into deep sleeps. I have been drug free for
eleven years and it took me about the first five years before I had
some clarity and understand what was wrong with me. These are
things that will live with me forever, plus my life has been
drastically altered. My own government created a drug addict. I
just can't get my mind around that.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Have you learned to forgive? Have you found some
spiritual centre through all this?

DOROTHY PROCTOR: I don't have a problem with forgiving. If I
forgive them, I forgive everybody because I want to be forgiven so
I have to forgive. I understand that with forgiveness comes
accountability.  They still have to be accountable to me whether I
forgive them or not.

AVRIL BENOIT: It really sounds like she went through chemical
torture through all that time. It's a wonder she pulled out of it
at all.  How is Dorothy Proctor doing now, Rosie?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: She's fine. She leads a very careful and limited
life, Avril. She has claustrophobia. Incidentally when I was doing
the interview with her, she felt that the interview room at the
studio was closing in on her, so I was sensitive to that and tried
to get the interview over as quickly as possible.  But she is
determined to get justice, and she wants to bring this to a close.

AVRIL BENOIT: You met with Dr. Scott?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Yes I did. I met him north of Kingston, around
Sealeys Bay, he has an old farmhouse. He was standing outside
there, to meet us.  He is 82 years old, he is getting rather old

He took us in his back room - where he has his old psychiatric
books, and a Carl Sandberg book on the wall. He had an old space
heater going. You can maybe hear it in the background. We had a
good chat for an hour and a half or so. He's been stripped of his
license to practice medicine by the College of Physicians and
Surgeons for an unrelated matter - sexual impropriety with two
female patients.

AVRIL BENOIT: Who were prisoners?

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: No. This is from his practice on the street,
because the man had his own private psychiatric hospital. He was
successfully sued for $400,000 in connection to one of those

He refused to discuss the Dorothy Proctor case specifically with me
although he did agree to talk in general terms about what went on
at P4W and other prisons.

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: To start off with, I would like you to know that
my interest in psychiatry has been from when I was the age of
probably fiften.  When WWII ended, clinical psychiatry was just
about beginning to become a thing. It was gradually going uphill
through difficulties, ideas. In 1960 it was LSD, diethylalmide.
It's a psychoactive one. We are being sued for it by a prison

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Can you talk in a general way about the LSD? I
don't mean in specifics, but what was that about?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: In 1960 a researcher found that the alcoholics -
when they were deeply involved in alcohol - they would come out
with no memory at all.  They wouldn't remember what the hell
happened. So they found that after the treatment periods in an
alcoholic, that they had some type of awareness of something. It's
like a pea being in  your pocket. You eventually begin to say
"Jesus Christ. I've got a sore seat and I don't know what's going

Well, there was something in their mind that was burning them.
Then they were more vulnerable to say "I remember when I was a
little kid". [tries to sound like a child]  You know? The doors are

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: So LSD opened their doors inside?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Yeah. The set of doors. No psychiatrist was
muttering at them.  That other life came out. And it was proven
that 30-40% of the real serious alcoholics in the large
metropolitan centres - New York, Pittsburgh, and the other places -
they would be improved by LSD. And all the experiments in LSD
finished off about 1982 or 1983. 1960-1961, everybody's ears were
going up about LSD, and the dangers of it, and all the other stuff
was It become a problem. So LSD ran its gamut. LSD is now just a

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Let's talk about sensory deprivation, you did
those studies. What did sensory deprivation with inmates teach
mankind or psychiatry?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Well, that actually started in Montreal. Where a
research psychiatrist isolated people in big, like, balloons. A
balloon that you could walk into. They lived in isolation for a
period of time. The one research we did, and I had the overt
privilege of being told that I was Boss of the whole thing - but
Paul Gendreau was the real able guy.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: This is in Correctional Services you are talking

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Yeah. Paul and I and several other people did the
paper and the results of the paper were that more than a week or
two weeks of isolation on people who were already vulnerable. You
see, the inmate, "He Ain't Normal" because he lives in a
pathological environment. You live with rattlesnakes, you are
either goint to get rattlesnake venom, or be able to bite the
rattlesnake or whatever. What happened was that the people, I think
we had twelve people, and they found that the longer they were
there, the more they wanted to stay and sleep.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: You say you had twelve. How did you select those
twelve people?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Purely by deciding what would be the standards -
anybody who get's involved in the research project, it has to be
explained, and they have to sign that they are doing this of their
own free will, and their own free control. That's the way it is.
There was no forcing ever. I mean, it's not my line. You see, with
my kind of personality, if I can't talk them into it, I might as
well give up. If they need it I will go all the way.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Were they told?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Oh sure, they would know the whole show.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Did they sign?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Yeah, oh yes, absolutely. And there was no
discomfort really.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: And for other studies, did everybody know what
they were -

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Nothing could be done - now the one that's up in
the air now, I can't talk about that.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Is that the LSD study you were talking about?


ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Can you tell us this about that? How were they

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: I had nothing to do with selection. Nothing. See,
I was the Boss Man. So I get shit on. So I get shoved around
(laughs) as the Father of all this.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Somebody has to be responsible.

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: All I had to do was work the money and make sure
that the limits of research were all looked after.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: What did you, as a psychiatrist, learn from the
experience with any of these studies?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: LSD is not used in the medical context, anywhere
in the world, at this point. Not at all.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: So you would say certain drugs you would still
use, and psychiatry still uses, but LSD you say ran its gamut, and
can't be used today because there is nothing from it? Did you learn
anything from it?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Well, you see, I was not actually involved. I was
sitting at the head of the class but - we worked with the
Department of Psychology at Queen's University. That was their
part. The psychologists were involved greatly in that. Their work
that they did was exceptionally fine. There's nothing about them
that could really be questioned. I was more for the physical side
of the psychiatric part.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: This is the LSD stuff.

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: That was done through a very capable guy who had
the research background that he could allow LSD to be given for
therapeutic purposes.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: This is in Canada.

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Yeah, in this area.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Do we know who that is?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Oh you could find out.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: Did you ever work in Prison for Women?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: I have worked in every prison.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: When you hear about the LSD and Prison for Women,
what is your perspective, what do you think of that, what do you
feel about what people -

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: One troublemaker out of twelve is one
troublemaker out of ten.(?)  That's an 8% casualty rate. That's not
bad. That girl, or any person who goes through a system and thirty
years later feels they have been poorly done by, it's what they
say.  I've got nothing to do with it.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: The other people who did the LSD, you're saying
they had no problems?

DR. GEORGE SCOTT: Well, you'd hear from them if they were. Yup.

ROSIE ROWBOTHAM: I just want to clarify a few things. You said you
were not involved with any LSD stud

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