UN Torture Committee Blasts Australia


HRMU at Goulburn, inmates can be kept in inhumane conditions for an indefinite period. Last year, the NSW Coroner was also highly critical that mentally-ill people are placed in isolation in the supermax prison,” Mr Murphy said. 

Last night in Geneva, the United Nations Committee against Torture called for a review of Australia's supermax prisons, the abolition of mandatory immigration detention and for a referendum on a federal Bill of Rights. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) endorses all of these calls. 

In its report on Australia, the Torture Committee was critical of Australia's prisons, counter-terrorism laws, mandatory immigration detention and of the way Australian officials have ignored torture and mistreatment overseas in places like Abu Ghraib.

The Torture Committee expressed concern about conditions in Australian prisons, especially the so-called supermaximum prisons like the notorious HRMU 'Supermax' at Goulburn gaol.

“The UN is right to be concerned about the state of Australia's prisons. You are 11-times more likely to be in prison if you are indigenous. The incarceration of the mentally-ill continues to increase. Juveniles and adults are not necessarily being kept apart in NSW prisons. Our remand facilities are overcrowded,” Mr Murphy said. 

“CCL joins the Torture Committee in calling for a complete review of the regime imposed on detainees in supermax prisons. In the HRMU at Goulburn, inmates can be kept in inhumane conditions for an indefinite period. Last year, the NSW Coroner was also highly critical that mentally-ill people are placed in isolation in the supermax prison,” Mr Murphy said.

"The Torture Committee wants an update in 12 months on the conclusions of the review into the supermax prisons. CCL calls on the NSW and Victorian governments to cooperate with the federal government when it conducts an open and independent inquiry into conditions in Australia's Supermax prisons at Goulburn and Barwon," Mr Murphy said.

"If there's nothing wrong with these prisons, then the States have nothing to fear from any federal inquiry," Mr Murphy said.

The Torture Committee also called for the abolition of mandatory immigration detention. 

"CCL supports the call for the abolition of mandatory immigration detention. It is okay to hold people for a short time to determine their identity and health status, however it is completely unacceptable to lock people up for extended periods of time when they have committed no crime", Mr Murphy said.

"Australia should implement the recommendations of the Torture Committee and end the inhumane policy of mandatory immigration detention," Mr Murphy said.

The Committee against Torture expressed concern about Australia's counter-terrorism laws. The Committee was also concerned that Australians knew about what was happening in Abu Ghraib, but did not act to stop the mistreatment. In a thinly disguised reference to the cases of Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks, the Committee expressed concern that Australia has failed to investigate claims of torture.

"Australia needs to overhaul all the draconian terrorism legislation introduced since September 2001," Mr Murphy said. 

"Australia also needs to investigate the very serious claims of torture made by Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks," Mr Murphy said. 

"It is unacceptable that Australia keeps asking the torturers to investigate complaints of torture. That's like asking the wolves to investigate why the sheep went missing," Mr Murphy said. 

"Australia should not have asked the US or Egypt to investigate whether they had tortured Mr Habib. Only a full Royal Commission can get to the bottom of all this," Mr Murphy said.

"The Australian government should be compensating victims of torture. Not fighting them every step in the courts. The Australian government should read the UN Torture Committee's report very carefully," Mr Murphy said.

The Torture Committee also called on the federal government to adopt a constitutional Bill of Rights protecting human rights in Australia.

"CCL has long advocated for a constitutional Bill of Rights to protect the most vulnerable in our society. This is the upteenth time the UN has called for Australia to enshrine a Bill of Rights", Mr Murphy said.

"We welcome federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland's announcement that he will consult on how best to protect rights in Australia. We hope that the Rudd government will be true to its promise to listen to the UN and will hold a referendum to enshrine a Bill of Rights in Australia. Australians deserve that opportunity to vote for a Bill of Rights to protect us all," Mr Murphy said.

The Torture Committee welcomed Australia's announcement that it will ratify the Optional Protocol to the Torture Convention. The Optional Protocol will allow the UN and independent Australian bodies to do spot checks of places of detention like prisons and immigration detention centres.

“CCL welcomes the Rudd government's announcement that it will ratify the Optional Protocol to the Torture Convention. Federal parliament needs to move quickly to adopt the Optional Protocol into Australian law and implement the Torture Committee's recommendations”, Mr Murphy said.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

For more information contact: Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President, 0411-769-769



Lecture For the Solidarity Anarchist Conference


When it was suggested that I speak on the topic of being a blind Anarchist woman in today's society I laughed. It brought back vivid memories of when I was in high school and how I used to speak to the other year 7 classes about blindness. At question time, one very curious year 7 girl asked, "When you have a shower how do you know you're clean?" As a twelve-year-old my answer was: "I take a mirror in with me."
Today we are here to celebrate diversity. For this reason I will not be spending the next 25 minutes giving listeners a few societal stereotypes about vision impairment, with a list of blindness agencies at the end, who claim they work in the interests for and of blind people. Yet, historically, there have been, many, many mainstream conferences, packed full of blind consumers and their service providers. What solutions have actually come out of these conferences? None. 

Working conditions and wages are still unsatisfactory for blind workers slaving their guts out at the blind institute, alternative literature is still being censored by braille libraries across the country, and braille itself is still undervalued and underresourced. And if you are an Anarchist, forget about having any material to read. Of course, blindness agencies across the country are forever promoting their wonderful services and how they can assist vision impaired individuals to cope with their loss! What loss? No, my time with you will be totally different. 

As I said before, we are here to celebrate diversity. So, Today I will be discussing a critique, which encompasses anarchism, vision impairment, and institutionalisation of prisoners, censorship, and prison abolition. These topics are all interwoven.

You will see that without anarchism, there are no solutions.

I will start off by telling you a little about my background. I was born in Australia but I am of Italian descent. At fifteen, my mother was forced to marry my Father, after which both parents left Italy to settle in this country. Times were hard, with Dad working as a labourer and mum landing work in various factories, as a machinist. Although things were difficult, we were all very close.

As a blind child, I was free to roam the neighbourhood, playing with all the children and getting into all sorts of mischief. I remember playing a delightful game called ""Knick-knocks" during which my cousins brothers and I would run up to houses in our street, knock on the windows and flee. Of course, all the neighbours thought it was the girl across the road, not Marisa! She wouldn't be a troublemaker like that mob of boys there, she's blind.

My parents had a large vegetable garden. There was always plenty of food for the table. At five, my freedom was under severe threat! I was sent to a school for the blind where it was organised that I should live at the school Monday till Friday and go home on weekends only. My activist self surfaced. 

I took steps to prevent my own instutionalisation. I refused to eat, cried and screamed and would not cooperate with the nurses who were employed to look after us. The long dormitories scared me, just like it would have frightened Aboriginal children when they were taken from their parents for their own good, as those repressive policies stated. Against the doctor's and the school's wishes. Mum withdrew me from this hell and I got my freedom back.

I attended the blind school as a day pupil for 6 years, but at the end of grade 6 I went to a regular school. At eleven years old, I informed the principal that I was bored, and that I would not be staying at the blind school any longer. I was not in the principal's good books to start off with, because every time newspaper articles were printed to promote the reputation of the school, I would refuse to have my name or photograph in the article.

At seventeen, in the 1980's, I joined a group of blind workers and students, called Peni, people for equality not instutionalisation, and participated in the picket held outside the blind Institute in St. Kilda road. We were protesting for better working conditions, and services. (I don't know if the Iww is committed to this sort of thing). We eventually occupied the Executive's office of the Rvib. That was in the days when blind communities were radical.

Currently, I do some work for Grasslands, which is a not for profit vegan organic grocery store, radio work at 3cr and prisoner support work in the Abc (Anarchist Black Cross.) Last but not least, I belong to a group called BRAG, braille reading action group, which is a campaign aimed at overcoming censorship of alternative braille literature. 

A small bunch of Anarchists held a rally outside one of the braille libraries in October last year. In fact, one experience that really opened my eyes about what's going on is that without warning, braille production refused to finish brailing my herbal medicine course. Perversely, it was stopped on the very same day (21 May 2002) that I rang in to ask for Anarchist literature.

My college is very small and was unable to fund the course, but this blindness agency would not accept money from me either. Despite the intervention of a solicitor advocate and media coverage,

I have been forced to finish my course alone. I would like now to look at Anarchism and what it means to us. Today, dictionary definitions still define anarchism as the absence of government. These modern dictionary definitions of anarchism are based on the writings and actions of anarchists of history and present. 

Anarchists understand as do historians of anarchism and good dictionaries and encyclopedias, that the word anarchism represents a positive theory. Exterior sources, however, such as the media, will frequently misuse the word anarchism and, thus, breed misunderstanding. 

leading modern dictionary, Webster's Third International Dictionary, defines anarchism briefly but accurately as, "a political theory opposed to all forms of government and governmental restraint and advocating voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups in order to satisfy their needs."

Other dictionaries describe anarchism with similar definitions. The Britannica-Webster dictionary defines the word anarchism as; "a political theory that holds all government authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocates a society based on voluntary cooperation of individuals and groups."

Shorter dictionaries, such as the New Webster Handy College Dictionary, define anarchism as, "the political doctrine that all governments should be abolished."

These similar dictionary definitions of anarchism reflect the evolution of the theory of anarchism made possible by anarchist intellectuals and movements. As a result, dictionary definitions, although fair, only reflect watered down definitions of the word anarchism. 
Professor Noam Chomsky, in fact, has refuted the definition, as written in the New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, describing anarchism as a "political doctrine."

According to Chomsky? Dis-anarchism isn't a doctrine. It's at most a historical tendency, a tendency of thought and action, which has many different ways of developing and progressing and which, I would think, will continue as a permanent strand of human history." 
Anarchists are against chaos.

When you hear about anarchists you are led to believe that we are mad bombers. Every other group that lets off a bomb is immediately labelled 'anarchist' whether they are nationalists, socialists or even fascists. 
The myth is created that we believe in violence for the sake of it. The other myth is that anarchism is chaos.

It is claimed by politicians, bosses and their hacks in the media that if there was no government there would be chaos. 
But did you ever wonder about society today and come to the conclusion that perhaps we are already living in chaos? At the moment thousands of builders are on the dole yet homeless people need housing to live in. Thousands of people are dying of starvation around the world yet millions of dollars are spent every day on nuclear arms, which have the potential for wiping us and the world out.

You might ask why is this so? We say that there is one big reason - PROFIT! At the moment we live in a society in which there are two major classes - the bosses and the workers. The bosses own the factories, banks, shops, etc.

Workers don't. All they have is their labour, which they use to make a living. Workers are compelled to sell their labour to the boss for a wage. The boss is interested in squeezing as much work out of the worker for as little wages as possible so that hestnesshe can maintain high profits. Thus the more wages workers get the less profits the bosses make. Their interests are in total opposition to each other.

Production is not based on the needs of ordinary people. Production is for profit. Therefore although there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, people starve because profits come first. This is capitalism. Voluntary cooperation is at the root of all activism: no leaders, just voluntary cooperation. Instutionalisation goes against all anarchist principles.

Institutionalisation is not necessarily confined to an actual institution, such as the one I was almost imprisoned in. Instutionalisation is also about capitalism, which I defined earlier on. It's about beaurocracy, and about government rules, or the rules of churches and organized religions.

In anarchy, there are no laws except for the natural laws made by Nature. The Green Anarchists fight to protect our Earth from logging and war, but this is another topic in itself, which perhaps someone can take up at another time.

To look at vision impairment, we need to go back in history for a moment. In the 18th century, institutions and asylums for the blind were set up and the families of blind and vision-impaired children were convinced by the authorities to place them in these homes. The seed of division between the able-bodied and the disabled was created, with the gulf widening as the years passed. At present, the gulf has taken a different shape.

I meet a lot of blind people these days, who either don't wish to engage as activists, or, as so often happens are used as puppets by blindness agencies so that they may achieve a reputation as the expert, on blindness. Over the years, many blind people have become afraid of me because of my activism and because of the braille campaign and also because I hitchhiked around Australia.

One blind woman who works at a particular blindness agency refused to interview me on radio for the Blind unless I left out the hitchhiking experiences so I declined her invitation. 
In my own experience, it appears that activism is divided, with the government and the institutions attempting to create wedges and divisions between us.

For instance, the braille Campaign which I mentioned previously, aims to educate activists and community groups in the area of providing information in accessible format.

Ask yourselves these questions. When an action or rally is planned, is their money put as! I'd from benefit gigs for instance, to provide braille fliers, posters etc. Was money set-aside for the braille time labelling of this conference? If a food Co-op compiles a recipe book, is thought put into pooling resources for the brailleing of this literature? With radical music ie cd distros, is thought put into placing braille labels on cds? The mainstream view of economic rationalism (lack of resources) should not be rampant in our movements and safe spaces.

What can we do about this? Well, I can only speak for myself and all the fantastic activists that I have been involved with. Grasslands Groceries bought braille labels to place on the till so that I could serve customers at the cafe. The info shop also purchased a small tape recorder so that I could do research for the braille campaign. Anarchist Black Cross put aside some money from a benefit gig to ensure that all bulletins are brailled. 

I must talk about the bad experiences as well as the good ones, and to point out that many activist collectives are also conditioned. Ie they put the disability rights issue into the "too hard basket". In fact I have attended activist forums where some people have sarcastically remarked "Next thing you'll be wanting publications in Chinese."

Once every couple of years, the blindness agencies in this country hold what is known as the World Blind Union. This is where delegates from all over the world come together to make decisions on behalf of blind and vision impaired people. It is similar to the world economic forum. It is put about by bness agencies and many brainwashed blind people, that we should be grateful for what we have.

There is an illogical viewpoint that because millions in backward parts of the world are deprived of their proper right to receive basic care, we, in more advanced situations should be satisfied with any basic service that is substandard. The general public are free to access bookshops and libraries, and it is purely discriminatory that the right of blind people to gain knowledge and information is inhibited by any restrictive practice of those providers who are entrusted by the public, with the delivery services such as braille production?

Should we regard ourselves as members of an under-class, happy to receive handouts prescribed for us by some impersonal alms dispenser?

Anyone who imagines that what I am saying is in any way extreme, would do well to catch up on their history homework, bearing in mind that history has a compelling habit of repeating itself in one way or another. 

The institutionalisation of vision impaired people continues, as braille libraries across Australia merge into one centralised privatised cormrate body, archiving the braille books, and preventing anyone from browsing the shelves. Books must be posted to the blind person. 
There are no catalogues in braille. 

In fact, I was told in no uncertain terms that public libraries are for sighted people, these are lending libraries, not public libraries. In the same way, Prisoners are institutionalised and blatantly discriminated against. In the States and other countries, prisoners are forced to legally challenge the Department of Correction's unjust policies of censorship and discrimination against those inmates, [prisoners], who are labelled or self-described as "anarchist."

It is our position that the classification of anarchist inmates as a "Security Threat Group" is unfair and unnecessary. As an Anarchist who sees the abolition of Prisons as part of a utopian vision, I'm always challenged with the question "What do you do about crime?" "How about the sociopaths and violent ones?" Two excellent questions that as far as I know of have never been addressed by most Anarchists.

Anarchist Black Cross seeks to address these questions, by providing prisoner support, by sending letters and tapes, producing a monthly bulletin and compiling poems and other artistic endeavours, from people in prison. There have also been times when I have been involved with providing advocacy for prisoners, ie matching them up with a lawyer.

"Prisons" or "Penitentiaries" originated over 202 years ago with the Quakers in Philadelphia who believed that sinners or lawbreakers should spend their time alone to study the Bible to be penitent for their crimes so as to be released as a productive member of society.

Rules of complete silence were strictly enforced. It didn't take long to realise that this approach wouldn't work as prisoner after prisoner suffered nervous breakdowns and displayed signs of mental illness due to their complete lack of human contact 
(1) The Quakers realised that this solution was meaningless because it didn't address the underlying roots that lead to criminal activity. 

But it was too late as society picked up on the idea and mutated it beyond recognition complete with tax subsidies and massive propaganda. Today, as in the 1800's, 
isolation blocks make up the primary means of confinement and they are commonly called Control Units. The guards which work in these units are some of the most brutal and inhumane. The newer units have solid doors and the only contact that one confined behind it has is through a small window for counting purposes and a food slot.

The debilitating effects of 
total, isolated confinement as the Quakers found out, results in jeopardising a Prisoner's well being. This inhumane and barbaric treatment is meant to debase and degrade a prisoner's very soul, the purpose being they will cause no problems for the Prisoncrats in general population for fear of being sent back. You do not! Have to break a rule to be placed in one of these units. All one has to be, is have a screw think you are uncontrollable or a potential threat to the security of the institution.

Other degrading laws such as strip searches seek to further degrade prisoners. Censorship and degradation are also present when there are whole areas of work that simply don't get published into braille because someone decides there is no demand for them.

Works by anarchist authors and books on pagan religions for example, just don't make their way into Braille. Works such as Mills and Boon and popular mainstream material do, some aboriginal literature also finds its way into the braille collection. I have always been a very determined person. I made certain that I worked a whole range of jobs, and when I got tired of working I chucked work in completely and hitchhiked around various parts of the country. 
I would like to finish by saying that just because something does not affect you, it does not mean that we can ignore it. An injury to one is an injury to all.

This means that we as Anarchists need to work cooperatively and collectively to help each other because everything is inter-woven. It is not enough to say "But I don't know anything! About blindness, I know nothing about braille equipment." "I know nothing about prisoners, I've never been in gaol and probably never will be." Wrong! One of our number could end up in gaol at any time, especially with all these repressive anti-terrorist policies that are creeping in. Solutions:

To have a social centre without paid membership, and have mechanisms put in place where solidarity can be exercised. Our movement desperately needs conflict resolution. I urge us all whether anarchist or anything else for that matter, to educate yourselves. So, if you wish to join the braille campaign please contact Grasslands on 93620830 or if you wish to join Abc write to PO Box 300 East Brunswick 3057.

By Marisa Sposaro Delivered May 2003 posted 2 September 04

Related:

Federal police harrass local anarchist at request of FBI
My name is Marisa Sposaro and I am a human rights activist and prisoner support advocate. I am also a radio broadcaster at 3cr radio. The Federal Police came to my home unannounced and interrogated me about my Anarchist activities in Anarchist Black Cross, Australia.


Prison abuse outrage hypocritical: Burnside



A prominent human rights lawyer has accused the Howard Government of hypocrisy in expressing outrage over the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.

Julian Burnside, QC, told a public meeting in Canberra there are plenty ofinstances of people in detention in Australia, who have been treated in a way that amounts to torture.

He has cited 
strip and cavity searches and the prolonged use of solitary confinement as examples.

Mr Burnside says members of the Government should not criticise others for treating prisoners badly when such conditions exist in Australia.

"I think that the Prime Minister and other members of the Liberal Government, or the Liberal Coalition Government, are hypocrites," he said.

Abu Ghraib, USA

In Iraq, the Red Cross evaluated people who had been subjected to solitary confinement, and the organization discovered indications of psychological damage. The group's medical delegate said Iraqi prisoners were "presenting signs of concentration difficulties, memory problems, verbal expression difficulties, incoherent speech, acute anxiety reactions, abnormal behavior, and suicidal tendencies. These symptoms appeared to have been caused by the methods and duration of interrogation."

It was interesting that the International Red Cross was upset that prisoners were held more than thirty days in isolation and for twenty-three out of twenty-four hours," says Garvey. "In Boscobel, that's the case every day. In the standards of the International Red Cross," the prison at Boscobel is "out of compliance with the Geneva Convention, which doesn't apply as such, but it gives you a measuring stick."

By Just Us 25 June 04

Related:

Failure to condemn prison abuse risks lives: Kenny
The Australian lawyer representing Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has joined calls for the Prime Minister to condemn interrogation techniques being used at the prison camp.

Australia's "GITMO" System
Australia's "GITMO" System In June 2002 on the PM program on ABC radio, PHILIP RUDDOCK is quoted as saying: "Well, let me just say, detention centres are not prisons. They are administrative detention.


Death in custody: In memory of Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson 34 died in custody on 7 June 2004 leaving behind two children aged 9 and 14. It is alleged that he hanged himself in a segregation yard at Long Bay Prison Complex.

PRISONERS' STRIKE
The world was shocked by the images of Abu Ghraib prisoner torture. But around the world the prisoner community knows that worse happens every day. 



REPORT: AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS' ELECTION NEWSPAPER



There was high drama as the only state prisons department in Australia to refuse The Australian Prisoners' Election Newspaper, was challenged in an emergency hearing before the NSW Supreme Court.
All legal observers agreed that the state would almost certainly lose the case. Commissioner Woodham pulled out all the stops to keep the judge from making a judgement. He finally avoided it by making all prisoners vote early before the court could decide. We were ready for the battle but he wasn't.

George Williams, Anthony Mason Professor and Director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales, and Ben Zipser from Selborne Chambers argued the case on behalf of Stacy Scheff, the newspaper's editor.

Justice Smart heard preliminary arguments regarding the issues and timing of the case. Woodham's lawyers argued that he was on leave and therefore could not consider the matter. Justice Smart said that he would have to come up with a better argument than that.

Their next move was to argue that if constitutional issues were to be raised, all States' and Territories' Attorneys General would have to be notified and consider the matter, and that there was not enough time to do this before the federal election on Saturday, October 9 2004. Justice Smart decided there was enough time, and set the hearing for administrative arguments at 3pm on Friday, and constitutional arguments at 10am on the Saturday of the election.

After the hearing, the solicitors filed the appropriate notices to all States and Territories, and began to prepare for the next day. In anticipation of victory, we began to distribute the newspapers to NSW prisons to be held by the governors until the court order came down.

That afternoon, our lawyers got a call from the Crown Solicitors saying that the mobile polling booths had been rushed forward. Prisoners in Siverwater, Cessnock, Parramatta and Mulawa had already voted but Bathurst jail only was still going to vote on Saturday. We were planning to proceed with the case on that basis. Within one hour, voting at Bathurst had been moved up to Friday. All other NSW prisons voted by postal vote.

Because the constitutional case could not be argued until Saturday, and NSW prisoners would all have voted by then, our lawyers told us the judgement would be futile to the case we were arguing, and therefore the judge was unlikely to make one.

As a direct result of this action, support came from across Australia and around the globe. Top legal minds in Sydney stood up for prisoners' rights on short notice. The media recognised the decision for what it was: a bad mistake and an arrogant abuse of discretionary power. The groups who supported and produced this newspaper will be producing another issue, this time with the constitutional entitlements in mind. With a legal team in place for the full constitutional arguments, it will be put before Commissioner Woodham. As the election won't be imminent, it will be some months before it goes before the court, if necessary. 

justiceACTION

By Justice Action 8 October 04

Australia Must Change Nation: Community
Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham is entitled to raise comments about what war criminal, Prime Minister John Howard the "rodent type" made in relation to Asian migrants 14 years ago because the Coalition has been campaigned on his past.


Emergency Supreme Court action for prisoners' vote


Renowned constitutional lawyer, George Williams QC, assisted by Ben Zipser of Selborne Chambers and Joanne Moffit of Kingsford Legal Centre will argue for the right of prisoners to receive voting information in the form of The Australian Prisoners' Election Newspaper. The newspaper has been banned by the prisons commissioner, Mr. Ron Woodham. No explanation has been given.

Justice Action is bringing the action against the NSW Department of Corrective Services in the Supreme Court today Thursday, 7 October 2004 at 9:30 a.m. The case will be heard by Mr. Justice Smart in No. 1 King St. Court.

The newspaper was accepted and distributed in every other State and Territory in Australia last week.

"This is a clear case of undemocratic and unconstitutional decisions. Justice Action is pleased to have the opportunity to fight this battle in public, and enshrine the right of political communication for prisoners in a precedent that will be used by human rights and social justice activists for years to come." said Stacy Scheff, coordinator for Justice Action, one of a number of community based, social justice organisations in Sydney who produced the newspaper.

"This behaviour exemplifies prison authorities' disrespect for human rights of the citizens under its control. If prison authorities want to produce good citizens from its prisons, it needs to demonstrate respect for democratic process and civil liberties. Let the prisoners hear and be heard." said Brett Collins, a spokesperson for Justice Action.

In anticipation of an order directing the Department to distribute the newspapers, Justice Action will be bringing thousands of copies of the newspaper to court to hand over to Mr. Woodham.

Copies of the newspaper can be downloaded from the 
Justice Action home page.

By Justice Action posted 7 October 04

Contact Stacy Scheff: 02 9660 9111.
After hours: 0438-705-003


Justice Action
65 Bellevue St, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia
P.O. Box 386, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
ja@justiceaction.org.au
voice: 612-9660 9111 fax: 612-9660 9100

Please log into the Justice Action Web site, designed and sponsored by Breakout Design & Print, exercising good corporate citizenship.

Related Prisoner Voting Links: 

AUSTRALIA: 'HOW TO VOTE' MATERIAL BANNED
Australian voters have been blocked from receiving 'how to vote' material from the political parties. On Friday, October 1st, Justice Action received notice that Victoria and NSW prison administrations are blocking The Australian Prisoners' Election Newspaper from being distributed to voters in those prisons. No explanation for the decisions has been given.

RE: URGENT - Prisoner enrolment to vote!
Justice Action has been talking to the Australian Electoral Commission over the past three weeks about what steps were being taken to ensure that prisoners were given the opportunity to enrol to vote in the Australian Election on October 9.

Prisoner's right to vote attacked again!
On the eve of the election the Howard government has rushed a new law into the Parliament which will further remove the rights of prisoners to vote.

Howard wants prisoner vote ban
Politicians opposed to a federal government plan to ban all prisoners from voting were soft on crime, Special Minister for State Eric Abetz said.

Govt moves to strip prisoners' voting rights
The Australian Council for Civil Liberties has condemned a Federal Government move to stop prisoners voting. Under current laws, prisoners serving less than five years can vote.

Message of Solidarity: Greens
The Australian corrections system is appalling and rife with abuse of prisoner's rights. The spiralling numbers of those locked up, now over 23,000, is an indictment on a society which purports to be fair and democratic.

International Prisoner Voting Links:

Prisoners must get right to vote, says court
UK: The government will be forced to lift a ban on prisoners voting dating back to 1870 after the European court of human rights ruled yesterday it breached a lifer's human rights.

Fighting for Florida: Disenfranchised Florida Felons Struggle to Regain Their Rights US: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush looked out over a roomful of felons appealing to him for something they had lost, and tried to reassure them.

Felons and the Right to Vote One of the greatest achievements of the civil rights struggle was the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which removed most of the obstacles that kept African Americans away from the ballot box and enabled Americans who did not speak English to vote. But the voting rights movement never reached the last excluded segment of our democracy: our prisoners.

Related Prison Links:

Kathleen Megan Folbigg, 37, is either Australia's worst female serial killer or her case is a serious miscarriage of justice in which an innocent mother has been wrongfully convicted of infanticide.


Howard wants prisoner vote ban



Politicians, opposed to a federal government plan to ban all prisoners from voting were soft on crime, Special despotic Minister for State Eric Abetz said.

Parliament is expected this week to debate a government bill which would change the ban to every prisoner, rather than the current situation where only those whose sentences are longer than five years cannot vote.

Labor is prepared to reduce that to three years, or the life of the parliament, but is opposed to a ban on all sentenced prisoners.

Under the bill, voter rolls would close earlier, on the day writs are issued, meaning up to 300,000 people could be disenfranchised.

"If you're not fit to walk the streets, as deemed by the judicial system in this country, then chances are you're not a fit and proper person to cast a vote in relation to the future of your country," Senator Abetz told ABC radio.

"It will send down a very strong message to the Australian people, especially as they are now concentrating on issues of law and order.

"They would interpret that very much as seeing Labor and the Democrats being soft on the issue of law and order."

Labor Senate leader John Faulkner said the comment from Senator Abetz was predictable.

"The question you should put to Eric Abetz is `what does he say about the international obligations that Australia has under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, what about our obligations with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, re-signed by the Howard government recently?'," he said.

"This is the difficult balancing act that the parliament has to try and achieve on this issue."

Senator Abetz said a reliance on international treaties was usually the last resort of those who could not argue their case domestically.

"Secondly, having read both those international treaties, there is no way that the legislation would impede the international treaties that are referred to," he said.

Australian Democrats Leader Andrew Bartlett said no-one in jail should be banned from voting.

"I don't think it's a good practice at all. People who go to prison, you want to try and encourage them to reconnect with the community, not disconnect with it," he said.

Govt moves to strip prisoners' voting rights

The Australian Council for Civil Liberties has condemned a Federal Government move to stop prisoners voting. Under current laws, prisoners serving less than five years can vote.

Message of Solidarity: Greens

The Australian corrections system is appalling and rife with abuse of prisoner's rights. The spiralling numbers of those locked up, now over 23,000, is an indictment on a society which purports to be fair and democratic.

Prisoners must get right to vote, says court

UK: The government will be forced to lift a ban on prisoners voting dating back to 1870 after the European court of human rights ruled yesterday it breached a lifer's human rights.

By Just Us 14 July 04

Labels: 2004australiacitizenshipcivil-rightscommunity-and-societydisenfranchisedlaw-and-order,prisons-and-punishmentunvoting

DRUG USE WITHIN AUSTRALIAN PRISONS


Senator BARTLETT (Queensland--Leader of the Australian Democrats) (3.43 p.m.)--At the request of Senator Allison, I move:

That the Senate--

(a)acknowledges that drug use within Australian prisons poses a considerable health risk to prisoners and the broader community;

(b)notes that:

(i)the Australian National Council on Drugs report, Supply, demand and harm reduction strategies in Australian prisons: Implementation, cost and evaluation, found that many injecting drug users spend considerable periods behind bars and that a history of drug use is far more common amongst prisoners than in the general population,

(ii)the report also identified a high prevalence of injecting drug use during incarceration and that high proportions of prison inmates report injecting drug use in the community once released, and

(iii)levels of hepatitis C in prisons are estimated to be up to 17 times greater than those in the general community; and

(c)calls on the Government to work collaboratively with the states and territories to develop and fund:

(i)a hepatitis B vaccination program for prisoners,

(ii)voluntary programs for prisoners for testing, counselling and treatment for HIV and other blood-borne viral infections, and

(iii)a trial needle and syringe exchange program, with rigorous evaluation, in an Australian prison.

Question agreed to.

Daele Healy
Adviser to Senator Andrew Bartlett
Leader of the 
Australian Democrats
Parliament House Canberra 2600
Ph: 02 6277 5724
Fax: 02 6277 3235
Mob: 0419 867 649


By Daele Healy 31 November 2004

Related:

People: 'Prisoners' of Drugs'
According to an Australian Medical Association report, 83% of prisoners behind bars are there as a result of drug-related offences. In a NSW study it showed the frequent amount of burglaries depended on the rate of spending money on drugs. Neil Comrie, Victorian Police estimates 70% of all criminal activity is drug related. Inadequate treatment services as well as treatment of drug addiction as a crime, rather than a health issue has criminalised a huge number of people.

Report Concludes Needle Exchange in Prisons Safe and Effective
DUBLIN --- A new report to be released tomorrow, entitled Prison Needle Exchange: Lessons from a Comprehensive Review of International Evidence and Experience, provides the clearest evidence yet that these programmes - now operating in over 50 prisons in 6 countries - are both safe and effective.

Drug law blamed for hep C epidemic
THE federal Government's conservative tough-on-drugs policies have triggered an explosion in hepatitis C infections, a secret health department report has found.

Sign, sign everywhere a sign
The Syringe Festival was first held in Darwin in August 2002. The event, organised by the Network Against Prohibition was held as a protest against the Territory's new "drug house" laws that came into effect on August 1 last year, as well as a celebration of drug culture.

The 'brook: Book launch 'QLD's Westbrook Reformatory'

Al Fletcher. Some called him 'The Crow'.

It is an amazing story of one man's experiences in the notorious Westbrook. But as Don Cameron, another of the inmates, said at the Brisbane launch, 'it is the story of every boy that was in there.'

'Don't play up, boy, or you'll be going to Westbrook!'

This was the threat made to naughty boys by unsuspecting adults. Nobody knew the true horror of the place. Nobody knew what they really did to boys in there - unless you were one of the unlucky ones who got sent there.

Westbrook Reformatory was every boys' nightmare, a place where thousands of children spent their formative years in fear and misery. A place where nobody guarded the guards. It was a place which changed people - they never were the same again...

"The 'brook" is a true story of one of those boys. Al Fletcher. Some called him 'The Crow'.

Crowie's story is one of shocking brutality and abuse that may upset you. But it is also a tale of incredible heroism in the face of a cruelly indifferent world. It is a story of victory over mindless violence.

It will make you laugh and cry and rage and cheer. It will make you proud to know Crow Fletcher.

"The'brook" is being launched at The NSW Writers' Centre, Rozelle, on Saturday, 20th November, at 4.00pm. It is an amazing story of one man's experiences in the notorious Westbrook. But as Don Cameron, another of the inmates
 said at the Brisbane launch, 'it is the story of every boy that was in there.'

The NSW Writers' Centre is located in the old Callan Park Hospital grounds. If you enter from Balmain Road opposite Cecily Street, you can follow the signs to the festivities. All are welcome to attend. RSVP: 
cheryljorgensen@optusnet.com.au

My 93 year old father-in-law says that Westbrook Boys Home was an orphanage before it eventually became a prison for youth. Westbrook is out on the Downs somewhere near Pittsworth.

My wife when she went to school in Toowoomba at St Saviour's School in the 1940's knew a girl whose father was the Superintendent of the Westbrook Orphanage. His name was "Golledge" as far as she can remember. 
We have no idea when it became part of the prison system.

The Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society may have more information. Des Skelly.

By Cheryl Orensen posted 16 November 04  

Related:

Indigenous Law Resources
Reconciliation and Social Justice Library
VINCENT ROY RYAN - 1.7 WESTBROOK FARM HOME FOR BOYS
The Westbrook Farm Home for Boys (Westbrook) was the popular name for the 'Westbrook Reformatory for Boys'. In Ryan's time its conduct was to some extent governed by regulations made under The State Children Act of 1911. These regulations give an impression that the primary intended purpose and nature of the institution was rehabilitative and reformative. However, Westbrook was also punitive in that it was a place where boys were detained for offences against society.


Indefinite detention means the government owns its citizens

A convicted rapist detained indefinitely in a north Queensland jail has lost a High Court appeal against his detention. Robert John Fardon was due for release more than a year ago but remains in custody under controversial Queensland legislation.

Fardon was first jailed for rape in 1980 and was released after serving eight years in prison.

What were his prior convictions? How many years was he in prison before 1980?

His term finished last year but the Queensland Attorney-General enacted new laws to keep him in prison 
indefinitely.

"arguing" "Fardon's refusal" to undergo rehabilitation to treat his sexual violence made him an unacceptable risk to the community.

So who argued that he did not agree with his treatment?
 What rehabilitation was he offered in 24 years in custody? Because the prison said he did not undergo rehabilitation is that good enough for the community?

What inquiry satisfied the authorities that he did not get brutalised in prison or was not offered proper treatment? Was he locked in his cellso much so that he could not be bothered trying to improve himself? You can't just leave it there because prisons are not normal regimes.

After no rehabilitation or proper programs in prison was he brutalised?

For him to be released after eight years and twenty days later commit another brutal rape and sentenced to 14-years jail he had to have had left jail desperate the first time before there was a second victim?

This means if the government pay "no attention" to prisoners' in "their care", after they have committed a crime, then at all material times the prison regime take 
no responsibility" for the next "victim?

Or the '
treatment the prisoners' are suppose to receive in prison? Or thecost of warehousing the prisoner indefinitely picked up by thetaxpayers.

The Department of Corrective Services inability to re-habilitate offenders is costing the community far too much and something more has to be done to ensure the community don't pay the price of the 
departments failures.

Neither does this outcome '
shine the light on prison authorities' - to further correct the way they are treating prisoners. The same as if you sent your car to the panel beaters and they bring it back to you written off! Would you pay?

Well in this case you will and now the precedent is set for you to pay for many others cases down the track of mistreatment of prisoners in custody as well, no doubt!

The taxpayers and the community pay the price as a result of the '
mistreatment of the prisoner' by Corrective Services who take no responsibility even though they have had this person in care for 24 years but still blame the prisoner?

Victim support groups have welcomed the High Court's decision; with victim's advocate Carmel Pierce saying the decision sets a precedent. "The bottom line with people is justice I think, and we haven't had that for a long time with sex offenders being released and then re-offending," she said.

Sure some people in the community who lack knowledge and understanding think they're getting a bargain because the "Sex Monster" is locked up forever at a cost of around $65-70,000 per annum after victimising the community at least "twice prior".

This is also about practical outcomes and controlling crime I hope. 
So we have no treatment in prison the first time after "one victim". Was he offered treatment the first time? Then a second "victim" and after no treatment we pay for indefinite detention for the rest of his natural life.

My question is! 
Who is going to be the next two victims of the next rapist that's mistreated? Those next two victims have to pay the price for a Corruptive Service that takes no responsibility and that's simply not good enough.

Today, in a six-one judgment the High Court found that if the Attorney-General can prove a prisoner is a serious danger to the community to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court it has the discretion to make a continuing detention order. Fardon has no further avenue of appeal.

By Pragmatism 1 October 04

Updated 2010:  

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


7.4 The question presently before the Committee is whether, in their application to the author, the provisions of the DPSOA under which the author continued to be detained at the conclusion of his 14-year term of imprisonment were arbitrary. The Committee has come to the conclusion that they were arbitrary and. consequently, in violation of Article 9 paragraph 1 of the Covenant, for a number of reasons, each of which would, by itself, constitute a violation. The most significant of these reasons are the following:


(1) The author had already served his 14 year term of imprisonment and yet he continued, in actual fact, to be subjected to imprisonment in pursuance of a law which characterises his continued incarceration under the same prison regime as detention. This purported detention amounted, in substance, to a fresh term of imprisonment which, unlike detention proper, is not permissible in the absence of a conviction for which imprisonment is a sentence prescribed by law.


(2) Imprisonment is penal in character. It can only be imposed on conviction for an offence in the same proceedings in which the offence is tried. The author’s further term of imprisonment was the result of Court orders made, some 14 years after his conviction and sentence, in respect of predicted future criminal conduct which had its basis in the very offence for which he had already served his sentence. This new sentence was the result of fresh proceedings, though nominally characterised as “civil proceedings”, and fall within the prohibition of Article 15 paragraph 1 of the Covenant. In this regard, the Committee further observes that, since the DPSOA was enacted in 2003 shortly before the expiry of the author’s sentence for an offence for which he had been convicted in 1989 and which became an essential element in the Court orders for his continued incarceration, the DPSOA was being retroactively applied to the author. This also falls within the prohibition of Article 15 paragraph 1 of the Covenant, in that he has been subjected to a heavier penalty “than was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed”. The Committee therefore considers that detention pursuant to proceedings incompatible with article 15 is necessarily arbitrary within the meaning of article 9, paragraph 1, of theCovenant.


(3) The DPSOA prescribed a particular procedure to obtain the relevant Court orders. This particular procedure, as the State Party conceded, was designed to be civil in character. It did not, therefore, meet the due process guarantees required under Article 14 of the Covenant for a fair trial in which a penal sentence is imposed.


(4) The “detention” of the author as a “prisoner” under the DPSOA was ordered because it was feared that he might be a danger to the community in the future and for purposes of his rehabilitation. The concept of feared or predicted dangerousness to the community applicable in the case of past offenders is inherently problematic. It is essentially based on opinion as distinct from factual evidence, even if that evidence consists in the opinion of psychiatric experts. But psychiatry is not an exact science. The DPSOA, on the one hand, requires the Court to have regard to the opinion of psychiatric experts on future dangerousness but, on the other hand, requires the Court to make a finding of fact of dangerousness. While Courts are free to accept or reject expert opinion and are required to consider all other available relevant evidence, the reality is that the Courts must make a finding of fact on the suspected future behaviour of a past offender which may or may not materialise. To avoid arbitrariness, in these circumstances, the State Party should have demonstrated that the author’s rehabilitation could not have been achieved by means less intrusive than continued imprisonment or even detention, particularly as the State Party had a continuing obligation under Article 10 paragraph 3 of the Covenant to adopt meaningful measures for the reformation, if indeed it was needed, of the author throughout the 14 years during which he was in prison.


7.5 In light of the preceding findings, the Committee does not consider it necessary to examine the matter separately under article 14, paragraph 7, of the Covenant.


8. The Human Rights Committee, acting under article 5, paragraph 4, of the Optional Protocol, is of the view that the facts before it disclose a violation of article 9, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.


9. In accordance with article 2, paragraph 3 (a), of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy, including termination of his detention under the DPSOA.


10. Bearing in mind that, by becoming a party to the Optional Protocol, the State party has recognised the competence of the Committee to determine whether there has been a violation of the Covenant or not, and that, pursuant to article 2 of the Covenant, the State party has undertaken to ensure to all individuals within its territory or subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognised in the Covenant and to provide an effective and enforceable remedy in case that a violation has been established, the Committee wishes to receive from the State party, within 180 days, information about the measures taken to give effect to the Committee's views.


[Adopted in English, French and Spanish, the English text being the original version. Subsequently to be issued also in Arabic, Chinese and Russian as part of the Committee'sannual report to the General Assembly.]


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Abuse within prisons makes prisoners more violent upon release
The Australian public was confronted with similar accusations during 1978 when the NSW Royal Commission into Prisons headed by Justice Nagle found that the NSW Department of Corrective Services and its Ministers of both political persuasions had unofficially sanctioned the systematic brutalisation of prisoners at Grafton Jail from 1943 to 1976. A former Grafton prison guard, John Pettit, testified to the extent of that brutalisation:

Rockspiders: Police, Teachers, Childcare Owners, and Uncle Pervy!
Police have indicated there will be hundreds more arrests as part of Australia's largest ever crackdown on child pornography even though it is some of the police themselves? Authorities have so far charged more than 190 people with a total of 2000 offences and seized more than two million pornographic images.

Police, teachers charged in child porn bust
One-hundred-and-fifty people, including police officers and teachers, have been arrested in what the Federal Police (AFP) describe as Australia's biggest Internet child pornography bust.

Child sex offenders to be monitored in NSW
New South Wales Police Minister John Watkins says convicted child sex offenders in south-western Sydney will be monitored during a six-month trial.

Restorative Justice Conferences
Two Restorative Justice-related conferences will be held days apart in February and March 2005, in Australia.

NSW: Rapists more criminally versatile than Paedophiles
Parents to be given paedophile details? But rapists are more criminally versatile than Paedophiles! So who let the dogs out? Police Minister John Watkins! That's who.

NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).

Vic database to track sex offenders' movements
The Sex Offenders Registration Bill is due to be tabled in Parliament later this week. Sex offenders will have to tell police if they change their names, address or work and will not be allowed to work with children.

Today Sex offenders TOMMORROW YOU!
To suggest there is a need to restrict their movement is rubbish! This is a grab for civil liberties in NSW and it offends everyone else who is free to associate because soon it could be you who is restricted or someone you know.

Gang-rape, police, disparity and the law..
The young woman and her friend have told police they met the players in Coffs Harbour on the evening after the Bulldogs played a trial match there and went back to the team's hotel with them.

Govt stands by child sex offender program
The Western Australian Government is standing by a taxpayer-funded agency that offers conditional confidentiality to child sex offenders.

Therapy key for teen sex offenders
US: One girl allegedly was raped in the boys' bathroom at Folsom High School on a warm midday in March. Another told officials the same boy, a freshman at the school, had tried to rape her days earlier in a girls' bathroom. Two other girls told investigators the boy had committed lesser sex crimes against them at school within the previous week. If true, such a pattern of escalation is worrisome, according to experts who study and treat sex offenders.

Abu Ghraib one day, Queensland the next


To know prison you have to experience the finality of a cell door slamming shut behind your back.

You have to realise the futility of hope and experience the humiliation of having to spread your buttocks for prison guards during a strip search.

Then you mentally switch off to the kicks and baton blows that rain upon you as you try to breathe through the blood that flows from your nose and mouth. If you have experienced these things you will understand the world of Abu Ghraib.

It is a world where elfin faced women like Lynndie England are photographed leading prisoners around on a dog leash or humiliating nude prisoners by pointing to their genitals with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.

A place where men like US Army Specialist Charles Graner, a former US prison guard in civilian life, was placed in charge of the military police in Abu Ghraib's Section 1A where the torture and abuse occurred and is photographed standing over a pile of naked prisoners.

Graner is also accused of using a baton to bash a prisoner who had been shot and was handcuffed to a bed. On other occasions he is accused of using attack dogs on prisoners and sexually abusing them.

The actions of Graner and England coincide with other photographs depicting similar abuses that brought international condemnation and resulted in the pair being court martialled along with five other MP's.

All seven applied the Eichmann defence - they were only following orders from their superiors to 'soften up' prisoners prior to interrogation. (Adolph Eichmann was the architect of the gas chambers that resulted in the Jewish holocaust during WW2. On 11 May 1960 he was kidnapped from Brazil by Israeli agents and made to stand trial for war crimes.

Eichmann maintained he was only a clerk following orders from his superiors. The Israeli court found him culpable for his actions and he was hanged at Ramie Prison on 31 May 1962).

Abu Ghraib is synonymous with the indiscriminate use of brutality, humiliation, sensoryd eprivation and psychological torture used as a control mechanism for those in charge. A place where the catalogue of abuse was allowed to continue unchecked until the media breached the shroud of secrecy that enveloped it and made the public aware of what really happens on the other side of the wall. These are truly rare glimpses of the incarceration process where the full horror of man's inhumanity to man are finally revealed but if the Australian public thinks that such a litany of abuse is confined to Abu Ghraib then they are sadly mistaken.

Occasionally the Australian public received rare glimpses of the brutality, humiliation, sensory deprivation and psychological torture that occurs inside their tax-payer funded prisons but unlike Abu Ghraib Australian prison authorities have managed to circumvent public scrutiny by shrouding the prisons in secrecy under the guise of maintaining security. 


In Queensland the prisons are protected from unwanted media attention by legislation that forbids media access to prisons under threat of legal sanction.


In 1996 former Courier Mail journalist, Ms Ella Riggert, was fined $1050 for conducting an interview with Tracey Wiggington, Queensland's alleged 'vampire killer', at Brisbane Womens Prison. Two other Queensland journalists, Ms Lou Robson and Channel Nine ACA reporter, Margueritte Rossi, also suffered the same fate when they conducted 'unauthorised' telephone interviews with prisoners from the Woodford and Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centres. Both journalists were fined $300 but no conviction was recorded.

Riggert, Robson and Rossi were constricted by law to accept the sanctions of Section 104 (10) of The Queensland Corrective Services Act 1988 No.89 which carried a maximum penalty of $3000 or two years imprisonment for anyone who; (f) without the authority of the Commission, interviews a prisoner (within the meaning of section 10) or obtains a written or recorded statement from such a prisoner, whether within or outside of a prison commits an offense against this Act. The Queensland Corrective Services Act 2000 reinforced the previous Draconian sanctions with harsher penalties for those who tried to penetrate the veil of secrecy that surrounds the Queensland prison system.

The legislative power routinely bestowed upon Queensland's Department of Corrective Services allows the prisoneaucracy to indiscriminately reinforce and perpetuate censorship policies that restrict media access to prisons and prisoners for their own self-serving interest. The threat of that legislative power is regularly employed by departmental lawyers to contain scandals that could be politically sensitive in the public arena. It also increases the difficulty for Queensland journalists to be impartial when reporting prison related incidents because independent corroboration or dispute of any facts from prisoner sources is not available under threat of punishment or arbitrary sanctions.

The current Queensland legislation also allows prison officials to be selective when responding to media requests for interviews with prisoners.

Queensland journalist Robert Reid requested an interview with lifer, Ernie Knibb, to confirm details he wrote in an article about Knibb's conviction that was subsequently published in Australian Penthouse during 1996 (pp34 -126). QDCS refused Reid's request because; 'Knibb was a very difficult inmate. One of 2999 out of 3000 inmates who claim they are innocent. The courts have told us he is guilty of a horrific crime and I support any move to keep him away from the media, any move whatsoever."

QDCS was not so reluctant to grant permission to another prisoner, former Queensland Police Commissioner, Terry Lewis, who was interviewed by Rod Henshaw on Channel Nine's A Current Affair program during 1997. Lewis claimed during the program that his imprisonment had resulted from a 'set up' and that he was innocent of all charges that had been leveled against him which had caused his subsequent 14-year term of imprisonment.

The ABC Catalyst program made a formal request in 2002 to interview another prisoner, Marc Andre Renton , after claims that he had been wrongfully imprisoned for bank robbery and that DNA evidence used to convict him was scientifically flawed. The request was refused on the basis that Renton was a dangerous prisoner - a convicted bank robber who had participated in a prison riot.

"Renton was convicted primarily on the DNA evidence," Catalyst researcher Robyn Smith recalled. "Renowned forensic scientist Professor Barry Boettcher later investigated that evidence and felt that the interpretation by the Queensland forensic scientist was flawed. And there was a good chance that Renton had been wrongfully convicted. We wanted to do an interview with him but we were denied access."

Undeterred by QDCS's refusal the Catalyst team went ahead with their investigation into Renton's conviction and uncovered further evidence that pointed towards his innocence. The program 'A Shadow of Doubt' went to air in June 2002 and subsequently won both national and international awards for investigative scientific journalism. Despite the media investigation and the evidence of Australia's foremost DNA expert Renton remains in prison.

The official double standards employed by QDCS highlights their attempt to contain or filter all information flowing from the State prisons. Places where men like Brenden James Abbott (The Postcard Bandit) has remained a political prisoner in solitary confinement and sensory deprived since 1998 because he embarrassed Queensland politicians by escaping from the supposedly escape-proof B Block inside the Sir David Longland Correctional Centre at Wacol. Places like the $120 million Wolston Correctional Centre built especially by the Queensland government to house male prisoners convicted of child sex offences and male prisoner/criminal informers before they are fast-tracked through the system.

But, more importantly, it is places like the killing fields of the Sir David Longland Correctional Centre where over thirty men have died unnatural deaths during the last decade that draws a chilling parallel to Abu Ghraib. (An unnatural death is suicide, drug overdose or murder. They are termed unnatural deaths inside prison because prison murders can also be staged to look like suicide or drug overdoses). They are deaths that have been swept under the carpet of Queensland's prisoneaucracy because the media are refused access and have to rely on the information drip-feed supplied QDCS Media Liaison. Until the information tourniquet is removed from the Queensland prison system incidents like those that occurred inside Abu Ghraib will continue to occur inside Queensland prisons.

By Bernie Matthews posted 25 June 04

Bernie Matthews is a convicted bank robber and prison escapee who has served time for armed robbery and prison escapes in NSW (1969-1980) and Queensland (1996-2000). During the periods of incarceration he studied journalism and received scholarships to study as an external student at the University of Southern Queensland. His insider's account of Brenden Abbott's escape from Sir David Longlands Correctional Centre, "The Day Cassidy won the Cup" is published in Justice in the Deep North: A Historical Perspective of Crime and Punishment in Queensland.

Rumsfeld had approved abuse

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorised hoods, the stripping of prisoners and the use of dogs to terrify inmates at Guantanamo Bay almost two years ago, documents released yesterday revealed.


The journalist who's facing gaol for talking to a prisoner



BRISBANE: Journalist and documentary-maker Anne Delaney would probably rather be working on her latest project than sitting in the Inala magistrate's court, facing a possible two year stretch in a Queensland gaol.

But next week the film-maker will defend herself against a charge of illegally 'interviewing' a prisoner in the Wacol women's prison.

Delaney has been charged under Section 100 of the Queensland Corrective Services Act, which makes it an offence to "interview" a prisoner either inside or outside a Queensland gaol.

Ms Delaney spoke to prisoner Louise McPhee, but did not record the interview or even take any notes of the conversation. McPhee is in prison for the manslaughter of her child but 
Delaney thinks there may have been a miscarriage of justice in the case.

After spending a short time with the prisoner, Delaney was confronted by two police officers and arrested inside the Wacol facility.

The journalists' union, the MEAA, has called on the Queensland DPP and the Director-General of the prison system to drop the charges. Federal Secretary of the MEAA, Chris Warren, describes the actions of the Queensland Corrective Services department as a "death sentence" for democracy if journalists can't investigate or reveal information that is clearly in the public interest.

"Queensland's recent history highlights that responsible journalism is a vital weapon against corruption. The Fitzgerald Inquiry proved that," said Warren.

So far the Queensland media seems to be ignoring this story, but the global clearing house for press freedom, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, has put the case on its alert list.

A fundraiser in Sydney last weekend raised over $5000 towards Delaney's court costs. 
SMH journalist David Marr spoke at the gathering, and he told Crikey that the Corrective Services media policy is designed to censor and control media access to prisoners. "The policy allows access only if it does not embarrass the Queensland Government."

Anne's case is listed in the Inala magistrate's court for hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. The MEAA is concerned that Section 100 of the Queensland Corrective Services legislation may be unconstitutional, given several high-profile cases which ruled there is an implied right of comment on political matters in the Australian Constitution.

Anne Delaney has worked for the ABC and SBS and has produced and directed several films. Now her lawyers have taken the unusual step of notifying all the state and territory Attorneys General that a possible constitutional issue it to be raised in the Inala local court, which is more used to hearing cases of drunk and disorderly.

By Martin Hirst posted 17 November 05
Related:
Detention centre media ban criticised
The Howard Government has been criticised in a report by media freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders for stopping journalists covering the conditions in refugee detention centres.
 

USA Prisons: Free-speech lockdown
With the heavy hand of corrections firmly around our collective throats, ending the media prohibition is the only way to change society's misguided perception about prisons and prisoners.


Corrected or Corrupted


         Wacol prison in the morning mist 

A psychiatrist from the prison Mental Health Team attached to Queensland Health made the comment that 25 per cent of inmates suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.

The General Manager of a prison on the outskirts of Brisbane raised this figure to 30 per cent.

Another professional described the Remand and Reception Centre at Wacol as the biggest mental health institution in the southern hemisphere.

First Impression 

I often wondered what happened to that particular inmate. I remember him then as an old gentleman who kept himself to himself but who would smile at me whenever I chanced to pass him. Sometimes he would have a cat with him an he would gently scold it as it bounded playfully around his weeding fork.

Then just recently I heard where he was from another inmate. Now in his eighties and in a wheelchair after suffering several strokes, he was granted parole some months ago. "He is waiting to go to a nursing home but they've lost the paperwork, again!" I think I would have preferred to remember him tending the garden with his cat.

As the number of invitations to present programs increased so did our knowledge of the correctional system. I had to learn the jail jargon an soon I was able to converse about the 'screws', the 'dogs', 'having a shot', being on the nod' and 'fits' and 'gear'.

I learned the street names for most drugs and a basic understanding of the legal system. Sometimes I would ask what something meant and be told, "You don't need to know that", a comment I'd accept with good grace. But, more importantly, I leaned that to be trusted, I had to be trustworthy. I found in myself a compassion I didn't know I had and that made me feel good.

I began to ask questions of myself and of those in authority about efficacy of the rehabilitation offered and the nature of the follow-up to programs that were available.

I became concerned about the lack of support for inmates on release and observed the loss of basic skills and the anger that the correctional system engendered. As I began to understand the system more fully, I developed a sense of frustration when my questions and concerns remained unanswered.

Even now, I don't think I'm very popular with the hierarchy, One of my colleagues commented with amusement, after we had attended a meeting with the upper echelon of corrective services, that the lips of a certain management figure always got thin whenever I asked a question. I think I asked on that occasion, whether the programs which are so important to the parole boards, have ever been evaluated. Her answer was less than convincing. Nonetheless, thinking back, I believe that my involvement with the correctional system has been an experience that I classify as life changing and one which I value greatly.

The duty of care

The more times I visited prisons the more my frustration grew. Not being someone who waves banners and demonstrates in the streets. I have always tried to do things via the proper channels.

I have written numerous letters to people in authority, had interviews with members of parliament and taken every opportunity to talk to community groups. So far nothing much has changed but I'm not giving up. I remember one meeting with my local member, now not in office, where we could not agree about the basic concept of why people are sent to jail. I said it was ' as punishment' but he said it was 'for punishment'. Our interview did not last for long.

My understanding is that being deprived of liberty is the punishment and with incarceration goes the belief that there is a duty of care to maintain prisoner's well being.

Many times I have had to bite my tongue when I have listened to mothers telling me how relieved they are that their sons are finally in jail ' where they will be safe'. If inmates entertain this mistaken belief, it soon gets knocked out of them, probably on day one when another crim takes a fancy to their runners.

Inmates tell me, when I have asked them what advice I should give young offenders who are inevitably going to be intimidated for their personal belongings, that they should refuse to hand them over and fight back knowing that they will be hurt. Otherwise they will be seen as a soft touch for their entire sentence.

I believe that violence is never a way to solve problems but have been forced to pass on this information to first timers who know they are likely to end up inside. I am reminded of Len's description of his first time in jail and his chance meeting with someone he knew.

"As soon as we arrived in Pentridge, we were ordered out of the van and taken into another area where we were stripped, searched, showered. If you were sentenced you had to get your hair cut. We were also asked if we wanted Protection. Some fool did and got knocked straight out by one of the crims and what a good thing that turned out to be.

That drama meant no haircuts that day. After that we were then mustered into the holding yard and fed. That's when I ran into a friend from the outside and what a relief it was to see a familiar and friendly face! At last! There wasn't much time for conversation.

"Hey, Dave, I didn't know you were here." "Len, they're going to put you in F Dorm. Not a good go. They're sixty out in there and you won't get any sleep, every prick snoring and farting all night. Smash someone straight up, any one. You'll spend a night in 'one' cell but tomorrow you'll end up in D Division which are all single cells." "So without too much thought, I punched the person closest to me and just as Dave said, I was dragged out and spent the night in D Division.

This was the first piece of advice given to me in jail and it ended up being a good thing." That night, after being locked up at 3.30pm, I was alone still not knowing what was going to happen. The screaming and yelling all night was a bit much and I have to say I started to feel a little scared again, of the unknown I don't doubt.

The next day I was let out into the boy's yard of D Division and you reckon I wasn't happy about that. It was like an old school reunion. There were heaps of blokes I knew and I also saw other friends who were older in the other yards. When they saw me, they were quick to give me things I'd need like coffee and tobacco as well as advice. I was slipped some pot and that made things much better. My perception of jail changed dramatically. I have to say though, if it hadn't been so easy, I might have done it tough and never wanted to end up in jail again. Instead, it became an occupational hazard."

So Len's first experience of violence in prison was a positive one and it seems nothing much has changed. However I still like to think that, legally, the Department of Corrective Services has a 'duty of care', a responsibility to maintain the well-being of each inmate. Sometimes this means protection from other inmates or officers or making allowances for people with handicaps or special needs.

It also means medical care, hopefully of the same standard as that for people outside. Inmates who are sex offenders, child molesters or 'dogs' the tellers, automatically go on protection but there are others who are victims and just can't cope and ask to be segregated from mainstream. When I fist began to visit jails, the inmates used to joke about the possibility of their being more protection prisoners than mainstream. Now it's happened.

May 1999, saw the opening of Wolston Correctional Centre, a facility entirely for protection prisoners. Mainstream inmates fight against going on protection but some are not offered an option and are forced into it, for their own safety, mostly from other inmates but sometimes from the officers. Then it's a conflict for mainstream inmates when old friends end up on protection. The jail culture being what it is, they can't talk to them any more.

I have a client on the outside who refused to see me again when he found I was visiting the protection jail. When I explained that I am available for anyone who wants help, he was not convinced. He conceded that I was ' a nice lady' but gave me the impression that I was somehow contaminated by association with ' the bone-yard'.

Ironically, it was only his need for assistance when he went back inside that later made him contact me again. He's okay with me now so long as we never mention protection prisoners.

Correction centres have two main functions. custodial and correctional. The former they do very well as kilometres of razor wire and expensive perimeter vehicles testify. The later function is performed abysmally if the recidivism rate of more than 60 per cent is any indication.

As a personal observation, prisoners are released from detention more damaged than they enter and I'm only talking about those without special needs. Such inmates seem to me to get a raw deal. They include indigenous inmates, those with physical handicaps, with medical conditions or those exhibiting mental problems.

Recently I attended an interstate conference which was focusing on dual diagnosis in correction institutions, that is, situations where drug addiction and mental illness occur together. An eminent psychiatrist stated in his paper that anyone who allows his/her substance misuse to develop to an addiction stage must therefore have a mental instability.

This must cover almost the entire prison population and so jails must have become the biggest mental institutions in the country if that psychiatrist's views are to be believed, The incidence of mental problems associated with drug addiction appears to be increasing in prisons amongst my clients on the outside and is definitely rampant among the homeless.

It is difficult to manage this 'dual diagnosis' because it is not easy to discern whether psychotic behaviour is due to an existing mental illness or is drug induced.

It's difficult to get accurate statistics about the incidence of mental illness in the correctional system but what I have found appals me. A psychiatrist from the prison Mental Health Team attached to Queensland Health made the comment that 25 per cent of inmates suffer from a diagnosed mental illness. The General Manager of a prison on the outskirts of Brisbane raised this figure to 30 per cent.

Another professional described the Remand and Reception Centre at Wacol as the biggest mental health institution in the southern hemisphere.

I began to wonder what actually happens to prisoners with some kind of mental instability. I asked one of the drug and alcohol counsellors with whom I am on good terms how inmates who are exhibiting a dual diagnosis are treated. Knowing that prisons are not equipped to manage such inmates.

I was still appalled at the answer. They are, I was told, 'medicated to compliance' and presumably remain drugged on Largactil until their sentence is served.

Those prisoners who have experienced Largactil say that it kept them in a zombie-like state and scrambled their heads, no doubt making them more manageable, But, it seemed to me, not particularly helpful and just delaying the treatment for someone else to deal with.

People with dual diagnosis, in or out of prison, are the pariahs of society. My own experience has shown me, when trying to gain admission for some of my dual diagnosis clients, that mental health facilities take a dim view of addiction apparently believing that drug use is illegal and therefore the correct place for such a person is prison.

On the other hand some rehabilitation centres will not take people who are on anti-psychotics medications because they can be difficult to handle. A dilemma! The result is no treatment and living on the street. And then there are the inmates who hide their problems fearing that being a 'dipper' will not be helpful if appearing on their files when parole time comes around.

Indigenous prisoners are among those who might be called a ' special needs' group and they are grossly over represented in the system. The exercise yards in all the prisons are really like large covered cages with bare cement floors. When I see inmates walking up and down, up and down in these cages, I am always reminded of the lions I have seen doing the same thing in the older zoos. In my earlier years when I worked in a mental institution, I also observed the same behaviour in patients there.

I questioned then the therapeutic value of locking people up in cages, treating them like animals and then releasing them and expecting them not to bite their keepers. It must be much worse for aboriginals and islanders who are nomadic and do not function well in isolation! I suppose things have improved somewhat for them, now that there are Murri programs and Murri counsellors in some jails and Murri family days. And while I applaud this concession to indigenous culture, the downside is the resentment in the other inmateswho get no special programs and privileges.

At the same time, management doesn't handle with any expertise the racial problems that do arise. At one stage a while back, there was some trouble between the whites and blacks in one block in maximum security and the General Manager, in his wisdom, decided segregation was the solution. So all the indigenous inmates went to one unit and had their own visits, programs and oval times.

They were kept entirely separate from the other inmates who labelled it apartheid. The effect for both sides was to yell abuse at each other whenever the opportunity arose. Probably not the best way to encourage racial harmony!

While this disturbance was going on, I was presenting a Living Skills Program in the young offenders' unit which was opposite the unit where all the indigenous inmates were housed. Only about a third of the seventeen year olds were white and, as my assistant and I approached the unit, we were regularly treated to comments about 'white bitches'.

The older Murris' purpose appeared to be to get the younger inmates to do something stupid. The boys white or black, were all a volatile lot but fortunately nothing happened. The segregation stopped with a new General Manager but things could easily have got out of hand. As it is, there always seems to be a simmering racial problem in many of the jails.

Personally I have found there are some open-minded Murris and some very bigoted whites.

My frustration reached new heights when I had a deaf and dumb inmate participating in a Substance Abuse Program. I think his name was Neville. I was told he had a drug problem and that someone had said he should complete a drug program. At the start, one of the other inmates was able to do sign language for him and at least let him know what I was saying.

There was no opportunity for him to give feedback or for me to know whether he understood what I was trying to communicate. We muddled on for a while until the other inmate was transferred. Then Neville tried to manage by lip reading but he wasn't good at it.

The problem for me was that I had to keep looking at him which was hard because I try to make eye contact with as many of the group as possible while I am teaching. The whole thing became a farce because I would forget to look at him and turn my head away and the group would then chat in unison, "You're not looking at him, Miss."

They seemed to find this vastly amusing. I would get frustrated and Neville somehow contrived to look embarrassed. Finally, he just stopped coming and no doubt the parole board gave him a black mark for leaving the program.

Inmates with other physical handicaps suffer too, although the newer jails have wheelchair access. It's not easy, either, for those prisoners who don't speak English and unless someone looks after them they have no idea what's going on. The problem I'm told by other agencies is greater in the Women's Prison where non-English speaking women are being denied their rights.

Following the new Corrective Services Act, 2000, it is increasingly difficult to exit detention. The prison population is therefore ageing and with age comes more medical problems. It seems to me that this is one of the unanticipated side effects, and one which will further tax the existing but inadequate health care available.

When any one asks about the quality of health care available in correctional centres one is usually told that it is of the same standard as available in the community.

But I have heard enough stories and seen enough evidence to disagree. I can appreciate that nursing staff must be wary when inmates, most of whom have drug problems, ask for medication.

However, it seems that Panadol is the universal panacea for all illnesses, from headaches to broken limbs. I have seen for myself inmates in incredible pain from impacted wisdom teeth and heard them told that there is a two to three month waiting list for the dentist.

There are only certain days when an inmate can be ill and most of the doctors on call won't come out at night. Inmates have told me that if someone is showing signs of a heart attack, it's best t say it's an overdose because that gets help quicker. Death from natural causes doesn't usually make the newspaper. Good doctors who take time to listen or who are interested in proper treatment of drug addiction are few and far between and when they do come on the scene don't last, probably because the conditions are so bad.

This information comes from a doctor friend who does voluntary work in the system but iswell reinforced by the inmates.

A couple of years ago, Des got in a fight and had his arm broken. I was never told what caused the fight but Des did tell me sheepishly, "I think I must be getting rehabilitated because I didn't fight back much." He had several visits to hospital and after plaster on his arm for five weeks; an X-ray revealed that the bone wasn't healing.

The attending doctor suggested a plate would be needed and this would mean hospitalisation. Strangely, the prison wasn't so keen and it was decided that a further plaster might do the trick and the arm would probably heal in time anyway. Des, even to this day, remains unwilling to have anything to do with hospitals, agreed to wait. Significantly, Des was asked to sign a document agreeing never to sue Corrective Services.

In my view, somebody at the time must have doubted that treatment was inadequate. And indeed it was not. After Des was released he found a labouring job at the fruit and vegetable markets and after lugging bags of potatoes and pumpkins for hours at a time, he told me he suffered excruciating pain.

Eventually he was persuaded into seeing a doctor and I saw the X-rays myself. The break was still evident with the bones in his forearm not even touching each other. The cure, apparently, is to have his arm re-broken but that would mean hospital and Des will have none of that. In any case he fears he might lose his job and he needs that to survive.

-Rowena Solomon has qualifications in psychology and teaching. The early part of her professional life was spent as a tertiary lecturer in Human Development and in this context she co-authored a guide for parents about child-rearing in the early years.

While later working in a drug and alcohol agency, Rowena was responsible for welfare initiatives including counselling and the production of resources and education material for the Queensland Corrective Services Commission. It was in this role that she developed her interest in the correctional system; particularly in the care of prisoners post release
.

By Rowena Solomon posted 4 May 2005

Related:

ICOPA XI International Conference on Penal Abolition
We are excited to announce that ICOPA X1, the eleventh International Conference on Penal Abolition will happen in Tasmania, Australia from February 9 - 11,2006. Please pass this onto all networks.

QLD INDEFINITE DETENTION 'IN A NUTSHELL'
The introduction of new legislative policy to keep prisoners indefinitely can mean we are never to be released. These changes will have an effect on my sentence and I can now expect to die behind bars.

Prison boom will prove a social bust
Hardened criminals are not filling NSW's prisons - the mentally ill and socially disadvantaged are, writes Eileen Baldry.

Winning goals: Rethinking Crime and Punishment
Extracts in this feature are adapted from I Would Rethink Crime and Punishment published today by the thinktank Rethinking Crime and Punishment.




    QLD's Borrallon Prison

To Justice Action,


Well firstly thank you for sending the latest copy of Framed Magazine to me. I was very surprised, as I had no idea that I was still on your books. If you like I can send some more drawings for possible submission in the future.

It was inspiring yet frustrating to read the first article about our "right" to air complaints as firstly citizens and more appropriately "prisoners".

The system as we know it does nothing to compensate those who have been wronged and also is a system that contradicts itself in every possible way.

I believe I myself have been wronged by this system.

I did my crime of armed robbery and received a 5 and half year sentence with the possibility of parole after 2 years.

I have no problem with that and was granted parole after 2 and a half years. In that time I accrued no breaches and completed six months works release and four months home detention without error. I have no problem with that stage of my sentence.

The error that has been done to me occurred after I was released to parole.

I immediately lost my only sponsor on parole and was pretty much doing it by myself. I was on parole for 12 months before I was returned to custody for missing parole visits, failing to provide urine test and failure to advise of change of address.

These breaches were explained to me in my parole officer's office? I failed on parole as I felt I was having a mental breakdown. I suffer agoraphobia, social phobia, anxiety attacks and have also been diagnosed with possible P.T.S.D. all these have been verified by a number of outside and inside psychologists.

I told my parole officer 6 months prior to my breach of parole that I was suffering mental stress and wasn't coping with life. She explained that she wasn't there to "help" me. 

Also during the 12 months I was on parole I met a lady and she became pregnant with my child. This also added to the stress in my life as 
I couldn't find accommodation for her and she and I spent her pregnancy in a shed we rented next to a house. 

I always told my parole officer where I was and always told her of my firm conviction to not re-offend no matter how bad I was feeling.

So, after all this and the birth of my son Adam 2 months prior to my breach my parole officer decided the best thing for me and my new family who relies solely on my support would be to put me in jail.

Since I have come in I have begged the parole board to consider that I hadn't re-offended and the fact that I feared for my new family.

I spent 6 months doing counselling to address why I was having mental problems and why I was lapse on my parole orders.

I have now been back for nearly 2 years???

My son is in foster care and my lady has become so distressed over losing her partner and support that I don't even hear from her any more.

I have 3 months to full time and have NO chance at beginning where I left off. I will be given my freedom again but at the cost of my family.

What a joke!!! What kind of system ruins a new family and incarcerates the father of a child until there is all but no hope of a future for them?

I believe that I have a right to be compensated for my loss and for the stress and heartbreak it has caused myself, my lady and directly our baby boy.

Remember I did not re-offend and have acknowledgment of my breakdown by several doctors, and psychologists.

Anyway, just another example of the system at work. Hope you can see the sheer stupidity that has been applied by the "representatives" of the community's faith and wishes.

Well thanks for listening; I will send a drawing for you with this letter and all my best to everyone there at JA and thanks again for the newsletter.

Stay strong In your debt,Anonymous
Borrallon C.C. Ipswich QLD


Tough Love

Hard rules hard times
Hard heads hard rhymes
Hard life and the hard yards
Guess it's tough love baby...

Broken homes broken bones
Broken teeth broken nose
Broken hearts and broken phones
Tough Love Baby

Never been one to have it easy
Never had the chance to baby
Never seen the light on the golden highway
Guess it's just...

Tough love woman
Yeah It's just tough out there,
Tough love honey,
Just tough love...

Shattered dreams and broken heart

Tough love woman
Guess it's just that kind of thing
Tough love honey
With a tough touch
Just tough love...

Shattered dreams broken bones...


Posted by Justice Action 3 June 04


Queensland's anti-discrimination commissioner has been asked to investigate claims of human rights abuses in the state's women's prisons.

Prisoner support group 
Sisters Inside has compared the Queensland claims to the abuse alleged to have occurred inside Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

The group says many female inmates who are victims of sexual abuse are further abused when subjected to humiliating strip searches.

The organisation also alleges prisoners with a mental illness or disability are often placed in isolation without proper care, or are forcefully restrained.

Sisters Inside director Debbie Kilroy says the organisation has asked anti-discrimination commissioner Susan Booth to investigate.

"When you look at the photographs that are coming out of Abu Ghraib and the stories, they're the same stories we hear on a daily basis in our prisons," she said.

"I'm hoping that she will have an inquiry and then go and speak to the Government and get changes."

On December 10th 2003, International Human Rights Day, Sisters Inside wrote to the Director General of the Department of Corrective Services (DCS) in Queensland to urge him to conduct a broad-based review and issue a special report regarding the treatment of women prisoners in Queensland.

This complaint was made on the grounds that the manner in which women prisoners are treated is discriminatory. It contravenes several of the prohibited grounds articulated in the Anti Discrimination Act 1991 and in Federal anti-discrimination legislation and Human Rights Conventions. Sisters Inside received a response from the department stating that there was no discrimination within one month of sending the letter. Sisters Inside does not accept this response and believes it to be based on a false premise.

Sisters Inside is concerned about systemic discrimination on the basis of sex that is faced by woman throughout the criminal justice systems. We are concerned about discrimination on the basis of race faced by Aboriginal women and other woman marginalised by race. In addition we are concerned about discrimination on the basis of impairment that is experienced by women prisoners with cognitive, mental and physical disabilities.

In addition to the material supplied to the Department of Corrective Services on 10th December 2003, we referred the Department of Corrective Services to a number of additional government documents. These documents chronicle the nature and extent of the discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and disability. Furthermore, strip searching and the use of crisis support unit are experienced in a discriminatory manner by woman prisoners in Queensland.

The purpose of this submission is to request the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to conduct an investigation under s.155(2)(b) of the Anti-Discrimination Act (ADA).

Sisters Inside contends that there is systemic discrimination in the administration of women's prisons. Women prisoners experienced direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, religion and impairment.

By Sisters Inside 9 June 04
Related:
The old jail, overcrowded and dilapidated, had been simmering with barely contained tension for some time. Many of the 106 women were locked together; two to a cell, in the "bottom" section of the jail behind a gate that prison officers chose to keep shut, restricting the already minimal movement of prisoners and ensuring a tinderbox environment of festering pressures.
Sisters Inside is a community organisation that works with women in prison, pre and post release. We challenge the injustices that impact on women in prison, their children and families.
Sisters Inside Inc
Sisters Inside Inc. is an independent community organisation, which exists to advocate for the human rights of women in the criminal justice system, and to address gaps in the services available to them. We work alongside women in prison in determining the best way to fulfil these roles.



'Palen Creek Centre' QLD prisoner speaks out:

My name is Steve and I'm at Palen Creek Prison Farm near Rathdowney in Queensland. I was the subject on an "Intelligence Report" written by a QLD prison officer in 1996. 

System Psychologists and Psychiatrists in QLD have used this fellow's report to create very negative views of me. The QLD parole boards and prison system have then used all of it to deny me release from prison since that time.

They have taken my remissions on sentence and stopped my graduated release on parole. The QLD system won't clean up their act, because this is how they operate and to do so would mean telling the truth.

I was serving out a sentence at Moreton Correctional Centre, Wacol, Queensland in 1996. My de-facto and her two children had been visiting me since I came to prison and as usual our visits were warm and friendly.

Following a family visit. I was called to a meeting with Moreton Centre management. Present was a psychologist, programs manager and the general manager. I was read an "Intelligence Report" created by prison officer Rickie Darke. He had made very serious allegations against me. The date of his report was 11th June 1996.

He said I'd acted inappropriately with my de-facto's daughter. The girl concerned was 15 years of age then. Her mother was in her early 40s and her brother was 13 years old. He claimed he'd been watching us closely for quite some time and was aware of our situation.

His report stated" I would motion for her (15 year old) to sit on an offered leg". He claimed "Upon taking up that position I would place a hand on her shoulder and at intervals caress her back". Note the word "caress".

He further states: "In the event that she moved, I would firmly press my hand down upon her shoulder". He said "it was not unusual for her to be seated like this for the entire visit".

He claimed in his report that he was suspicious and concerned at this display of affection because of her age. He said she could not be considered a small child.

He went on: "At times she displayed, through facial expressions and body language that she was not comfortable with this intimacy".

He declared: "It was purely a display of dominance by myself over her and that I only singled her out and not her brother for this particular intimacy of mine". Further into the report he states that he saw me, my de-facto and her two children aged 13 and 15 years having another two-hour visit.

He writes: "After twenty minutes of being seated I motioned for the 15 year old girl to relocate her chair between myself and my de-facto. Then the girl and I began to hold hands for approximately 30 minutes". After that she moved back to her side of the table and I then held hands with my de-facto.

He notes that: I didn't show physical affection toward the 13-year-old boy and that "It appeared I was ignoring him". In his own words, he says, "It was interesting to observe". 
By that reasoning if I showed affection I was abusing them, if I did not, I was ignoring them.

I was judged by those public servants and found guilty. I asked for legal representation and was told it "was an in house matter" meaning that I didn't qualify for legal help.

My contact visits were stopped and that meant no family visits. I was told if I wanted a visit I could have it from an isolation booth, basically through a perspex box.

Letters supplied by that family were sent to the General Manager. They protested Darke's allegations and all state that what Dark said in his report was false. Does anyone else wonder how this can be allowed to stand when even the alleged victim claims it's untrue?

At the time and probably still, Rickie Darke is a qualified JP and Prison Officer. I don't know how that's possible with all the complaints I've sent in, but they don't act on the truth up here.

The QLD System has tried to move away from these impossible and foul allegations in recent times, but they remain on my prison file. My parole applications have been knocked back because they use that information and because I oppose their ways and lies.

I've been told to shut up about it. I've been threatened over it and I remain in prison because of it! When I first started complaining widely about it the powers up here started breaching me for nonsense and lies. That's how it is. I've sent my complaints everywhere and a lot of people have viewed the sworn oath statements. None seem able to help because "that's the way it is up here". I know of other men in QLD System who have been set-up in similar fashion. I hope this prompts them to come forward too.

NOTE:

There is an interesting case being considered before the High Court now between QLD and a prisoner Robert Fardon. Fardon has finished a sentence of about 14 years and the powers up here want him detained indefinitely because of what he might do. 
Fardon endured a shocking time in prison. The Prisoners Legal Service and another up here are contesting it for Fardon.

Several other inmates, [prisoners], are now at the end of their terms and have been psych assessed for this indefinite idea. Up here, they shore up assessments and other reports with years of false information, incorrect information and just plain nonsense. After several psych reports are done using that information your history is basically rewritten and then they try and detain you forever using that!

By SP 7 April 04

EX PRISONER: Whilst people are in prison details are gathered about them by those authorities 24/7. Negative reports reinforce the issue that prisoners cannot and will not be able to be rehabilitated (no matter what condition caused the negative reaction that formed the report) and that prisoners are a serious threat to the community.

Usually no positive reports are used or offered! Positive reports could be offered, but that's up to the 'discretion' of the minister of prisons or governor.

In line with the 'good order and security of a prison policy' a governor of a prison does not have to prove to any authority why he has decided to take some action against a prisoner, like banning their visitors or having and officer make a report.

What if the authorities decide to profile and use them? Or the governor doesn't like their head? Or has another reason not to like prisoners and makes a decision about them through no fault of their own? Perhaps banning their visits or like the above case alleging that they're molesting their visitors?

The idea of indefinite detention means that there is no need for 'rehabilitation' of a convicted offender and no need to 'dish out social justice' or 'be seen to have to dish out social justice, for offender's who are deemed ' more likely than not to commit a serious crime'.

The authorities state that prisoners should remain in prison indefinitely for the 'safety of the community'.

But indefinite detention means that the authorities don't need to fear failure either. Whether they have tried to rehabilitate a prisoner or not. Whether they got paid to rehabilitate a prisoner or not.

If they fail to rehabilitate there is 'no duty of care by authorities' no 'education' or 'programs' that need to be implemented, and it won't cause any further problem for them down the track.

Why? Because the prisoner will not be let out of jail in any case.

Indefinite detention also prevents the prisoner from suing the authorities for damages, if those authorities have failed their duty of care. And since the prisoner is not getting out of jail, then they can exploit the prisoner every day and offer no constructive lifestyle, that would include education and programs.

The government's only obligation to the prisoner and the community then is to label, package, drip feed and store the body on a shelf.

Politicians also get to claim that they need the money to house the most dangerous and violent prisoners in the State, the politics of fear.

Prisoners can just be left in a cell 24/7 while prison guards twiddle their thumbs and do crosswords. They will let them out of their cell but only when it suits them and not because prisoners have a constructive lifestyle.

So by saving money and not having to provide a constructive lifestyle to prisoners means issues like 'overcrowding' and 'duty of care' are not an issue for the authorities. The authorities don't have to rehabilitate and are still able to politicise the 'law and order' auction at election time.


Now we enter a new prison regime that of 'Warehousing Prisoners'.

Prison Officer: Where do we put this prisoner governor?

Governor: Mark the file 'Indefinite Detention' isle 666 row 13.

Little or no expense required and minimum rations.

Next

Updated 2010:  

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


7.4 The question presently before the Committee is whether, in their application to the author, the provisions of the CSSOA under which the author continued to be detained at the conclusion of his 10-year term of imprisonment were arbitrary. The Committee has come to the conclusion that they were arbitrary and. consequently, in violation of Article 9,paragraph 1, of the Covenant, for a number of reasons, each of which would, by itself, constitute a violation. The most significant of these reasons are the following:

(1) The author had already served his 10 year term of imprisonment and yet he
continued, in actual fact, to be subjected to imprisonment in pursuance of a law which
characterises his continued incarceration under the same prison regime as detention. This purported detention amounted, in substance, to a fresh term of imprisonment which, unlike detention proper, is not permissible in the absence of a conviction for which imprisonment is a sentence prescribed by law.

(2) Imprisonment is penal in character. It can only be imposed on conviction for
an offence in the same proceedings in which the offence is tried. The author’s further term of imprisonment was the result of Court orders made, some 10 years after his conviction and sentence, in respect of predicted future criminal conduct which had its basis in the very offence for which he had already served his sentence. This new sentence was the result of fresh proceedings, though nominally characterised as “civil proceedings”, and fall within the prohibition of Article 15, paragraph 1, of the Covenant. In this regard, the Committee further observes that, since the CSSOA was enacted in 2006 shortly before the expiry of the author’s sentence for an offence for which he had been convicted in 1998 and which became an essential element in the Court orders for his continued incarceration, the CSSOA was being 
retroactively applied to the author. This also falls within the prohibition of article

15, paragraph 1, of the Covenant, in that he has been
 subjected to a heavier penalty “than was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed”. The Committee therefore considers that detention pursuant to proceedings incompatible with article 15 is necessarily arbitrary within the meaning of article 9, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.

(3) The CSSOA prescribed a particular procedure to obtain the relevant Court
character. It did not, therefore, meet the due process guarantees required under article 14 of orders. This particular procedure, as the State party conceded, was designed to be civil in the Covenant for a fair trial in which a penal sentence is imposed.

(4) The “detention” of the author as a “prisoner” under the CSSOA was ordered
because it was feared that he might be a danger to the community in the future and for purposes of his rehabilitation. The concept of feared or predicted dangerousness to the community applicable in the case of past offenders is inherently problematic. It is essentially based on opinion as distinct from factual evidence, even if that evidence consists in the 
opinion of psychiatric experts. But psychiatry is not an exact science. The CSSOA, on the one hand, requires the Court to have regard to the opinion of psychiatric experts on future dangerousness but, on the other hand, requires the Court to make a finding of fact of dangerousness. While Courts are free to accept or reject expert opinion and are required to consider all other available relevant evidence, the reality is that the Courts must make a finding of fact on the suspected future behaviour of a past offender which may or may not materialise. To avoid arbitrariness, in these circumstances, the State party should have demonstrated that the author’s rehabilitation could not have been achieved by means less intrusive than continued imprisonment or even detention, particularly as the State party had a continuing obligation under article 10, paragraph 3, of the Covenant to adopt meaningful measures for the reformation, if indeed it was needed, of the author throughout the 10 years during which he was in prison.

7.5 In light of the preceding findings, the Committee does not consider it necessary to
examine the matter separately under article 14, paragraph 7, of the Covenant.

8. The Human Rights Committee, acting under article 5, paragraph 4, of the Optional
Protocol, is of the view that the facts before it disclose a violation of article 9,paragraph 1,of the Covenant.

9. In accordance with article 2, paragraph 3 (a), of the Covenant, the State party is
under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy, including termination of his detention under the CSSOA

10. Bearing in mind that, by becoming a party to the Optional Protocol, the State party has recognised the competence of the Committee to determine whether there has been a violation of the Covenant or not, and that, pursuant to article 2 of the Covenant, the State party has undertaken to ensure to all individuals within its territory or subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognised in the Covenant and to provide an effective and enforceable remedy in case that a violation has been established, the Committee wishes to receive from the State party, within 180 days, information about the measures taken to giveeffect to the Committee's views.

[Adopted in English, French and Spanish, the English text being the original version.
Subsequently to be issued also in Arabic, Chinese and Russian as part of the Committee's annual report to the General Assembly.]




"Following Pauline Hanson?s imprisonment, I was asked on more than a few occasions whether I thought she should have been gaoled.... 

My answer was generic rather than specific to her case - that I could not see the benefit of jailing people for non-violent crimes; that in such cases we would all be better served if the focus was on reparation rather than retribution, rehabilitation rather than revenge." 

New ALP president Carmen Lawrence: No one disputes that people who commit crimes of cruelty and violence should go to prison, but I cannot see the wisdom of locking people up for non-violent crimes when they could remain in the community with their families making good any damage they have done to society and working off their debts.

There are many in the community, if talk back radio is any indication, who buy the line that we are in the midst of a crime wave and that we need more and more severe prison sentences to deter would be offenders.

Emotionally charged media reporting of the most high profile and distressing incidents fuel this perception. Pauline Hanson certainly seemed to hold this view prior to her own imprisonment which produced a welcome, if painfully generated, change of heart.

The view that goal will reduce crime rates is embedded in the 3tougher 2government response to crime which has seen the prison population grow 102% between 1982 and 1998 and, the rate per 100,000 of those old enough to be imprisoned, by 55%, with Queensland recording the highest rate in the country at that time. (1)

These rate increases have been sustained in recent years. Pointedly, the authors of the Australian Institute of Criminology report argued that 
3there is no evidence that greater imprisonment acts as a major deterrent to potential criminals2.

Crime victim surveys, which wash out any variations over time in policing and reporting practices, 
show that most serious offences and violence in particular, have increased little in the last 20 years.

Most Australians probably wouldn’t believe you if you told them that there has been no significant increase in the homicide rate for over 100 years, although it is true.(2)

Where there have been increases, particularly in property crime, they appear to be largely due to increasing substance abuse, a problem for which prison is a spectacularly useless solution.

And, in any case, international comparisons reveal that there is no systematic relationship between imprisonment rates and crime rates. Within Australia, different rates of imprisonment between the States appear not to correlate with differences in crime rates.

Nor is the increase in crime itself responsible for the increasing number of people in prison. 

Careful research by Blumstein and Beck (3) in the U.S. concluded that the near tripling of their prison population between 1980 and 1996 was due only in very small measure (12%) to increasing crime rates and mostly (88%) to changes in sentencing policy.

Similarly, analysis by Australian researchers Young and Brown of the factors contributing to different rates of imprisonment in a number of developed countries showed that only a small part of the difference in prison populations was related to crime rates.

As a result of nearly two decades of unrelenting 3law and order2 campaigns, we are far too ready to gaol people rather than seeking other forms of sentencing.

Too many politicians - me included during my time as Western Australian Premier - have been seduced into implementing costly and ineffective policies; they have embraced penal populism, enacting policies which are based primarily on their anticipated popularity rather than their effectiveness.

We are, as a result, in the grip of a 3penal arms race2, with each party offering tougher and tougher measures. No one seems publicly willing to suggest other approaches, lest they be labelled 3soft on crime2. And most politicians, for much the same reason, are unwilling to accuse others of exaggeration, even when untested and extreme claims are made.

There has been very little serious public debate about the consequences, costs and benefits of imprisonment as opposed to community based alternatives to imprisonment. 
Most ofthe rhetoric has been about punishment and retribution and very little about crime prevention and the reduction of reoffending.

What we really need is a cool, clinical assessment about what measures are likely to improve community safety rather than impotently banging on about the threats to our safety, claiming to be tough on crime while ignoring the damaging consequences of these policies both for the prisoners and their families and the community at large.

More and more people are being sent to prison and for longer periods of time. In many indigenous communities, the rate of imprisonment is so high that is has become 3normal2, a perverse 3rite of passage.2 Such overuse of prison may reduce its stigma in some communities and further undermine respect for the law.

The cost to the community of the escalating prison population is enormous.

For example, the 
cost of running the NSW prison system is over $530 million each year and rising. In addition, the government spends around $90 million per year on building and maintaining prisons.

Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows that it costs on average $160 per day for each offender, whereas community service orders cost around $3.50 per day and parole around $5.00.

While these community based programs are poorly resourced and need to be improved, it is easy to see that reducing imprisonment rates in favour of non-custodial alternatives would save a poultice Australia wide 
since, the aggregate national running costs for gaols reached $1.5 billion in 2001-2.

The huge increases in expenditure on prisons alone - let alone the rest of the law and order package - 
have leached funds from other vital areas of community service.

Tony Vinson's work showed that while the rate of imprisonment in NSW rose by 64% in the last 20 years (with the consequent budget increases), expenditure on public education fell from 28% to 22% of all government spending.

Perhaps 
more money on education would mean less money would be needed for prisons; we could try to reverse the trend toward growing inequality which is known to be associated with rising crime.

In addition to the direct costs of imprisonment, there are other costly consequences for the community. 
People who are gaoled often lose their families and their homes and, when discharged, may remain homeless for long periods.

Family dislocation has obvious social and emotional costs, especially for the children who lose a parent and often a source of income.

Ex-prisoners are likely to be stigmatised and have greater difficulty finding work. They also have poorer health than those who stay out of prison.

Alcohol and drug abuse, which may have contributed to their offending in the first place, are rarely treated in jail and there are many inmates for whom drug abuse actually worsens because of the easy availability of drugs and the destructive environment. Most of these costs ultimately fall on the rest of us.

Prisons are notoriously harsh and damaging environments, especially when they are overcrowded - as they often are - and especially for young men. Rape, violence, self-harm and suicide are common.

Humiliation is routine. Pauline Hanson reported that she declined physical contact with her close family because otherwise she would have beensubjected to a mandatory strip search, something which caused her great distress. Imagine how the other women prisoners felt, the 80% the Queensland Government’s own research shows have been sexually abused. Strip searching could only add to their trauma.

Most prisoners are poorly educated with a history of unemployment and alcohol and drug abuse. An increasing proportion is seriously mentally ill and intellectually disabled. A hugely disproportionate number are Indigenous Australians.

Various reports have confirmed that mental health problems 
are 3-4 times greater among inmates, [prisoners], than in the general population.

The 2002 Queensland study of women prisoner’s health found that 57% of women reported having been diagnosed with a mental illness, mainly depression, and had consumed alcohol at hazardous or harmful levels prior to incarceration. Over half reported a history of injecting drug use and 45% tested antibody positive for hepatitis C.

A moment’s reflection should lead us to ask why the disadvantaged and powerless - particularly indigenous people - are so over represented in our prison system and why that trend is worsening?

From the viewpoint of community safety, one of the explicit objectives of 3law and order2 policy, there is substantial evidence, here and elsewhere, that prison, rather than reducing the chance of re-offending, actually makes it morelikely.

Conversely, community based sentences result in lower re-conviction rates. A review by the Canadian Solicitor General’s office of 111 studies which looked at the relationship between various punishments and repeat offending concluded that 3harsher criminal justice sanctions had no deterrent effects on recidivism2 and that 3compared to community sanctions, imprisonment was associated with an increase in recidivism.1

Furthermore, the longer the sentence, the more likely was the prisoner to re-offend. He concluded that 3criminal justice policies that are based on the belief that 3getting tough2 on crime will reduce recidivism are without empirical support.2 What makes our obsession with prison sentences even more worrying is that we cannot be sure that those convicted are really guilty as charged.

The system can get it wrong and, even though Hanson and Ettridge were acquitted, they were forced to spend large sums to obtain what legal representation they had. As in every other case where defendants are found not guilty, they will not be reimbursed. For many, the law can be financially ruinous, for others it means they will be unrepresented or unable to afford representation which is commensurate with that mounted by the Crown.

In the media blitz surrounding the release of Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge, one of the less remarked upon pieces of information was that
David Ettridge was unable to afford a lawyer at trial.

I think most Australians would be shocked to learn just how often people face prosecution and conviction without any competent legal representation. 
Yet this is an increasingly common feature of our justice system and it is clear that reductions in legal aid are a major cause of the increase.

There is mounting evidence that 
more people are being forced to represent themselves in criminal cases, particularly in the Magistrates Courts. Research shows that it is almost impossible to obtain legal aid for summary trials and that there is no incentive for (legal) practitioners to take on such cases pro bono (without charge).

In criminal trials people have no choice but to appear and those who are forced to represent themselves are at a great disadvantage, not least because they are unfamiliar with important aspects of the criminal justice system and may underestimate the consequences of failing to comply with directives from the court.

Unrepresented defendants are unlikely to have an adequate understanding of the law in relation to their case and may not be able to judge what evidence they should put before the court.

Furthermore, they may include irrelevant material in their submissions and may lack the necessary objectivity to frame a proper defence.

It is almost inevitable that they will lack the requisite skill to ask the right questions and avoid those which are potentially damaging to their case.

All of these shortcomings may irritate the court and will almost certainly lengthen and increase the cost of proceedings. Such defendants almost certainly lack familiarity with the sentencing options available, with consequent disadvantage. 
A person without legal council also runs the risk of a prejudicial response from a jury - it looks like you can’t find a lawyer who believes you.

Legal aid was supposed to prevent such injustices. As a result of successive funding cuts and changes to eligibility criteria, there are now growing concerns that only the well-off or those in a position to liquidate all of their assets can afford justice.

The Senate has tracked changes to legal aid and the consequences of these changes over several years and has charged the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee with the task of examining the current state of legal aid and access to justice.

When the deadline for submissions to their inquiry expired last month, 96 written submissions had been received, most expressing serious alarm at the deterioration in citizens’ access to justice.

In its submission, the Law Council of Australia expressed the view that 3access and equality before the law is critical to the effective operation of the rule of law and the stability of Australian society2 and that 3there is insufficient funding available to meet community needs2.

As the President of the Law Council, Mr Gotterson, said after the acquittal and release of Hanson and Ettridge, A direct cause of this problem is the failure of State and Commonwealth governments to adequately fund the justice system, particularly in the area of legal aid.2Hanson appears to have had a change of heart about the fairness of our criminal justice system, the horrors of prison life and the real costs of incarcerating people for non-violent crimes. 

We all need to revisit these questions and urge our legislators to adopt policies which are based on evidence about what works and will really make us safer.


By Carmen Lawrence posted 17 November 03

FOOTNOTES
1. Carcach, C and Grant, A. (1999) Imprisonment in
Australia: Trends in Prison populations and Imprisonment
Rates, 1982-1998. Australian Institute of Criminology,
Trends and Issues, No 130.
2. ABS, 4510.0 Recorded Crime, Australia, May 002.
3. Blumstein, A. & Beck, A.J. Population growth in U.S.
prisons, 1980-1996.2 In Tonry, M. & Petersilia,J. (Eds)
Prisons: Crime and Justice- A Review of
Research, Volume 26, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
(pp 17-61)


Related:

WHEN THE PUNISHMENT IS THE CRIME AND PLANTING THE SEED
The brutality and savagery at Grafton jail that went on for 34 years with people getting their legs and arms broken running the gauntlet through a line of prison guards with batons. Some of those prisoners who were sent to jail for non-violence and punished went on to commit some of the most heinous crimes of the century.

WHY WE SHOULD OPPOSE HOME DETENTION
The ACT Government has drafted a new Bill to implement Home Detention This very discriminatory type of sentence also punishes the family. It is questionable that it has been successful anywhere it has been tried.

Justice Kirby concerned at self-representation
High Court judge Michael Kirby says Australia's justice system is weakened by the increasing number of people representing themselves in court. Justice Kirby says he agrees with One Nation founder Pauline Hanson's concerns about the high cost of legal advice.

A veil of secrecy makes justice in jail a different kind from court justice
Although Queensland courts mete out justice, that justice ends at the gates of the Queensland prisons system where a bureaucratic and politically expedient doctrine of "out of sight - out of mind" takes control.

Hanson: I no longer support mandatory sentencing
One Nation Party founder Pauline Hanson has revealed she contemplated suicide while serving an 11-week jail term in Brisbane. Miss Hanson told about her time in jail and her future plans.

A Question of Innocence
Minister Chris Ellison: Yes we’re watching the progress of this project in NSW with great interest. This has been raised at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General and a working group is looking at this very question. I think we have to have a considered response to this proposal and on a national basis, we would need to have the cooperation of the states and territories.

Children of Prisoners' Support Group
Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.

REMAND PRISONER BAIL REFUSED, THEN SHOT AND KILLED IN CUSTODY A Melbourne court has been told a prisoner was shot dead as he tried to escape from a hospital. The Melbourne Magistrates Court has been told remand prisoner Garry Whyte was receiving treatment at St Vincent's hospital in May last year, when he tried to escape.

NSW Corrections Health Service: Response
Prisoner: MRRC Long Bay: Corrective Health Services [Prison Health Service] in NSW fares only slightly better than CHS in the US. Force often takes the place of real medical care and custodial staff [guards] in fact must approve all CHS medical decisions.

DEBUS SENTENCE OUTCRY BREACHES SEPARTION OF POWERS
A 19 year old and Kadr Diab 21 convicted of the killing of a young footballer Jai Jago were today sentenced to nine years and 13-year jail terms in the NSW Supreme Court, a decision that had been made by a Judge and a Jury.

Solitary Confinement: Our very own Alcatraz
Solitary confinement only makes prisoners more violent and inhumane, writes convicted armed robber Bernie Matthews. They were countless. Grafton floggings were routine and didn't require a reason. Everything at Grafton was routine a mindless, never-ending routine of isolation and solitary confinement that was punctuated by a screw's baton, boot or fist. The prison system called it rehabilitation.

Postcard Bandit' no postcard bandit: ABC TV
The ABC's Australian Story broke the news last night that political prisoner Brendan Abbott sent no postcards. None!

The Sentencing (crime of murder) and parole reform act 2003
We wish for each and every prisoner to be brought in front of a Judge to have closure on their sentences, a fixed non-parole period on an individual basis, to give these people a chance to be able to rehabilitate and to stop them being used as Political Prisoners.

Prisoners as citizens and duty of care
For a long time now most learned people have been aware of the book Prisoners as Citizens. The Victorian Opposition is outraged at a confidential payout won by a prisoner injured while playing table tennis at the Melbourne Remand Centre because they can't afford the book?

Supporters doubt PM's efforts to release Habib, Hicks
The supporters of two Australian detainees [prisoners] being held [tortured] by the United States at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba say they draw no comfort from [war criminal], Prime Minister John Howard raising the men's plight with [war criminal], US President George W Bush.

Long Bay: Corrections Health Services in NSW prisons
Firstly, to call the Prison Health Service a Corrections Health Services is the first identified mistake. Nice names don't take the place of the type of service, they only attempt to cover up for a bad service, when the service is out the door....

MULTICULTURAL SISTERS INSIDE
Sisters Inside is a community organisation that works with women in prison, pre and post release. We challenge the injustices that impact on women in prison, their children and families.

NSW Terrorist Minister leads the way
New South Wales is hosting a two-day conference of state and territory prisons ministers on how to detain terrorists [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East.]

MENTAL ILLNESS AMONG NEW SOUTH WALES PRISONERS
Anecdotal evidence from staff working in the New South Wales correctional system [prison system] has always suggested a high prevalence of mental illness among the prisoner population.






Although Queensland courts mete out justice, that justice ends at the gates of the Queensland prisons system where a bureaucratic and politically expedient doctrine of "out of sight - out of mind" takes control.

Scott Lawrence Topping, 22, was serving time for $1200 worth of unpaid traffic fines when he was raped and murdered inside Woodford Correctional Centre, Queensland, on 12 September 1997. Topping had three weeks left to serve before his release.

Another fine defaulter, Linda Jane Baker, 28, was found hanged in her cell at Townsville Jail on September 9, 1999. She had been serving 11 days for failing to pay an unlicensed driving fine.

Circumstances surrounding the unnatural deaths of Topping and Baker are symptomatic of the secrecy that envelops the Queensland prison system. 
A self-serving secrecy the Queensland Department of Corrective Services has persistently fostered by applying censorship tourniquets that prevent politically sensitive information ever reaching the media.

The Queensland Corrective Services Act 2000 (pdf, 805 Kb)has been specifically designed to reinforce that process by restricting the media's access to Queensland prisoners. It is those restrictive practices that have allowed the killing fields of Queensland to flourish under different governments of both political persuasions.

Lee Picton, 26, had served ten months of a 4-year sentence when he was transferred into B Block at the Sir David Longland Correctional Centre during 1999. He was released from SDL CC in a body-bag.

14 June 1999 and the stretcher went up the Spine of B Block again. The smell of death accompanies it. Word filtered down and by Lock-Up we all knew Lee Picton was dead. 
They found him laying on the floor of a shithouse in B6.

There is an air of expectancy. An urgency. This place is like a morgue. Everyone wants to get away from it. Back to the solitude and safety of their own cells. Then they came in and locked us away. At 2.45am the noise of the screws unlocking and slamming the grates outside the cells in B6 woke me from a deep sleep.

The screws were searching for weapons or evidence. So much for the crime scene protocol. They rumbled around like a herd of elephants playing Sherlock Holmes. And then 
the collective punishments began. All prisoners in B6 were placed on Section 39. One set of clothes. Only bare essentials. The Squad came in decked out in their Ninja Turtle suitsexpecting trouble as they began strip-searches and cell ramps. The result of another unnatural death in B Block. (Extract from personal diary notes smuggled out of the Queensland prison system).

SDL CC has the highest prisoner-mortality rate for unnatural deaths of any Australian maximum-security prison. It is the new-age gladiator's school of survival where more than 28 prisoners have died unnatural deaths during the past decade.

It is a place where young prisoners have learned that murder and heroin addiction are accepted norms of prison life 
because the people who run the system have become immune from outside scrutiny.

SDL CC is the place where David Smith, 21, begged prison guards to place him in protective custody on 28 September 1994 because he feared for his life. Prison guards refused Smith's request and then revealed his intentions to other prisoners. Smith's body was found a short time later in his B5 cell with multiple stab wounds. His murder remains unsolved.

Another prisoner, Wayne David Woods, 28, was already on strict Protection inside 5KA at SDL CC when he was found dead. Woods had expressed fears for his life on 23 October 1997 and was locked away in his cell during the afternoon.

The incident was recorded in the Minutes of an SDL CC Management meeting and a memo was circulated to all SDL CC staff working in the Protection Blocks: "Anyone loitering around fishbowl (the cell-block observation points) may need a counsellor i.e. fears for safety." Three days later Woods was found dead. His death was recorded as suspected suicide.

Michael James "Micky" Adams, 23, was found hanging in his B7 cell on 12 September 1997 shortly after he had received a visit from his family, which claimed he had been in good spirits. There was no indication Adams had been contemplating suicide. His death remains questionable because of the methods employed to commit murder on the inside.

Prison deaths fall into two categories - natural and unnatural death. An unnatural death can be defined as murder, suicide or drug overdose. 
All deaths by drug overdose and suicide by hanging remain questionable because prison murders can be staged to look like suicides or drug overdoses. The term "unnatural death" is more appropriate than the official version of suicide or drug overdose.

The "sleeper hold", which cuts off blood to the brain by exerting pressure on the carotid artery, is a legacy that resulted from practices employed by guards to control unruly children in Queensland juvenile institutions.

The products of state-run juvenile institutions carried the practice into the adult prison system where it is now used as a weapon for murder - a technique employed to render victims helpless before they are strung up to give the appearance of suicide by hanging.

In the pursuit of election issues, Queensland politicians have consistently embraced law-and-order policies but the end result of those policies, the juvenile and adult incarceration process,
 has been generally ignored because prisoners don't vote.

Legislative power that has been routinely bestowed upon the QDCS 
has allowed that bureaucracy to reinforce and perpetuate censorship policies that restrict media access to prisoners for its own self-serving interest and shroud the entire prison system with a veil of secrecy. The threat of that legislative power is regularly employed by departmental lawyers.

In 1996 former Courier Mail journalist Ella Riggert was fined $1050 for conducting an interview with Tracey Wiggington, the alleged 'vampire killer', at Brisbane Womens Prison.

Two other Queensland journalists, Lou Robson and Channel Nine reporter Margueritte Rossi suffered the same fate when they conducted unauthorised telephone interviews with prisoners from the Woodford and Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centres. Both journalists were fined $300 but no conviction was recorded.

If the Queensland government remains steadfast in its determination to support QDCS policies that restrict media access to prisoners then the time has arrived for a Royal Commission to make those tax-payer funded institutions transparent.

The unnatural deaths of Scott Topping, Linda Baker, Lee Picton, David Smith, Wayne Woods and Mickey Adams combine with a growing list of unsolved murders inside the Queensland correctional centres that reinforces the proposition. The families of the victims from the correctional centres of Queensland are owed no less.


By Bernie Matthews posted 10 November 2003

 
Sir David Longland prison QLD B Block exercise yard

QUEENSLAND INDETERMINATE SENTENCE PRISONERS ASSOCIATION. THE B BLOCK ATTITUDE...

"You are a product of your environment, whatever environment that may be." Dr. Tony Vincent. 

If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".

Inmates living in B Block are too often 
labeled with having a B Block attitude, the authorities categorize inmates and this, is then used and viewed in a negative light. This labeling may very well, and has retarded the classification process of some inmates. Or the day to day treatment of inmates by some correctional staff, sanctioned by management.

Environment:

The Sir David Longland Correctional Centre has three Blocks, K Block which is for protection inmates. It is often talked about by staff and sociologist, the enormous difference in conditions and atmosphere between K Block and B Block. "It's like going into a different world".

The inmates in K Block are allowed to move around within the Block, they have a large well stocked library, activities centre for pottery, etc, more work opportunities, their cells are open all day, better classification prospects, sun can shine into their yards, they can look out their cell windows and feel any fresh breeze, they grow vegetables and have much better living conditions.

C Block is for main stream inmates; they too have better conditions than inmates in B Block. They can go to their cell whenever they feel the need; they have the cell doors open all day. They have a large industrial laundry which employ up to 40 inmates, they can look out their cell windows, sun shines into the unit, cells and yard. Most C Block inmates have better prospects during the classification process.

B Block inmates have a B Block attitude, which is a direct reaction to their environment. Inmates being placed in B Block are not classified forB Block, inmates are not placed in B Block to be punished for any given reason. Over the year's, it has been the case that unit 6 B has been used for what is viewed as troublesome inmates, it is now used as areception unit.

In B Block, sunlight can never shine into the exercise yards or cell windows because they have all been covered in, after the Abbott escape. A limited number of inmates can work in industry, the Block normally holds 84 but only about 15 can work in the Bakery. B Block is the most poverty stricken Block in any Queensland prison, by prison standards.

The number of inmates attending the oval sessions are down to a trickle, there is only so much any number of inmates can do on an oval. After a few years the oval sessions become less attractive for activities and some inmates only go for a walk in the sun for that hour. 
Some staff members seem more content when all inmates are confined to their units, less to do.

Prisoners are
 treated differently in B Block for no apparent reason, no breach of rule. They are simply housed there and some are lost in the system, some inmates are there for many years, placed in the too hard basket, some inmates have been in B Block for seven or eight years.

After a few years you learn to adapt, adjust and you withdraw into the abyss of confinement. The mental state of inmates take on a learn helplessness and embrace the dark side of confinement, prisoners are so confined they learn to rely on it.

They become institutionalized in a very short time to B Block and prison. A B Block inmate will go before the sentence management committee for his 6 monthly review, only to tell them "I want to say here".

It seems easier to leave inmates in B Block because three or four years ago they were in some trouble while in some other prison or maybe only suspected of being in trouble. 
Some inmates are simply just unlucky enough to end up there. After spending many years in the prison system, a surprising number of inmates end up in B Block for their final years, only to be released into society from B Block as very angry young men.[Indeed!]

[Question is: does big brother want them released to recidivism? A bit of noble cause corruption keeps the victim industry alive? The problem with that scenario is who is going to become the next victim? I mean considering these prisoners were made to feel angry with retribution at taxpayers expense at around 60,000 dollars per year!]

From the moment an inmate gets out of bed, he is reminded where he is by the sealed windows, no natural air and extra steel security mesh blocking out most natural light. Inmates in B Block never experience sunlight or a fresh breeze coming into their cell, the windows in the cells in B Block serve no useful purpose to what windows were designed for, they could brick them in and it wouldn't make any difference.

AIR CONDITIONING IN UNITS AND CELLS:

With the introduction of air conditioning with-in all cells and units in B Block, inmates are now exposed to air conditioning for 24 hours a day (not the exercise yard) and in some cases for years.

A number of inmates have been in this block for up to 8 years and some rarely leave their cell. It has been the case that the air conditioning has broken down, in a few cases for 5 days at a time. Once the air conditioning fails, the only air you'll get is from under the door leading to the hallway. Some inmates have had anxiety attacks because of the confinement and lack of fresh air.

EXERCISE YARDS:

The exercise yards in all units in B Block are now closed in with extra cladding to all external surfaces. No direct sunlight ever comes into the exercise yards at any time of the day. Block walling surround more than three-quarters of the yard. A portion of one wall is covered in with compressed steel mesh with small holes, plus another mesh fence being the original fence. No fresh air comes into these yards because of the mesh and the fact that there is no cross ventilation for air to pass through the yard. The roofing of all unit exercise yards in B Block have been covered in stopping any sunlight. In the summer months, heat generated from the tin roofing over the exercise yards makes the yard so hot, normal use is avoided.

A fire broke out in unit 4-B; the yard filled up with smoke not unlike any other room would indoors. The smoke had no-where to go, there was no wind to blow into the yard, no cross ventilation to take the smoke out of the yard.

The exercise yards were once considered a safe refuge in case of a fire in any unit, this is no longer the case in B block. Should a fire break out in the area where the unit security doors are, stopping officers from entering the unit, inmates in the exercise yard would certainly perish. No instructions have ever been issued to inmates regarding fire procedures.

Some sealed windows in the common area of the unit became too hot to touch, if these windows had of broke, due to the heat of the fire, it is believed the yard would have filled with smoke long before the officer made it into the unit.

Inmates in the yard had placed articles against the yard door (to keep the door closed) to minimize smoke coming into the yard, still the yard filled with thick black smoke. The top half of the yard had black smoke, which was building and making its way down. Inmates were all in one corner of the yard laying on the ground being the only place left with breathable air, they could no longer see inside the unit due to black smoke.

A walk in the exercise yard serves to remind inmates they are in B Block. They learn to live with the added restrictions but resentment runs deep, inmates feel they are being punished for no wrongdoing. Hostility becomes common place, inmates are frustrated watching other inmates dip out over trivial matters because the stress factor becomes too much.

The fact that anger is not a spontaneous emotion and requires a stimulus, this stimulus is most frequently provided by the senseless provocation so prevalent in the B Block environment and is neither recognised and/or acknowledged. Prisoners are depersonalised and dehumanised; yet expected to remain "normal" in a very unnatural environment. Any demonstration of anger or frustration is punished. The option of removing or minimizing the stimulus is largely ignored.

Management should not be so quick to blame the inmates of B Block for having what is termed a B Block attitude. You could remove every inmate in B Block and fill B Block with new inmates, management would still experience the exact attitude as they are today. Inmates who move on to normal prison conditions, don't take the B Block attitude with them, only the memories.

We are the product of our own environment:

By Ronnie Thomas posted 24 March 03

[Yes and from the outside looking in they're the product of NOBLE CAUSE CORRUPTION!]



SA: Mice, Lice and Ice, crisis in women's prison



South Australia's only women's prison at Northfield is overcrowded, out of date, and plagued by racial and drug problems. Prison staff are often assaulted and that cockroach, mice and lice infestations have been reported.

What no maggots? I'm not eating there! I'd rather be in detention at Baxter for no crime?

It is understood that on some shifts, there are only four officers rostered to guard prisoners. About one-third of the prisoners are Aboriginal and some prisoners have complained to staff that they get preferential treatment.

Prisoners have complained about the lack of rehabilitation, including exercise programs, which resulted in a recent protest to the prison management by inmates, [prisoners], who said they were "getting too fat". The prison has been described by staff, Parole Board chairwoman Frances Nelson, QC, and Opposition parliamentary secretary for prisons Angus Redford as
 "third world".

Ms Nelson said the prison was "a disgrace" and "a blot on a civilised society". Building a new prison to replace Northfield? Has been deferred indefinitely, after plans to build a "new jail" nearby raised a storm of protest from residents in the suburbs of Oakden and Northgate. Because it wasn't a University?

Complaints about the Northfield Prison include:

DIFFICULTY in monitoring prisoners. 

ASSAULTS on prison officers and medical staff. 

FAILURE to remove "hanging points" identified as posing a suicide risk by a coronial inquest. 


[How else can they deal with overcrowding?] 

A HIGH rate (about one-third) of prisoners on methadone drug programs. And THE highest rate of convicted murderers [or 'frame up's'] per head of prisoner population of any of the state's jails.

You wouldn't read about it if they were framed! I mean some of them! What about a few? Perhaps a couple? Would you believe one of them was Framed? Don't worry there's no way to check. 

[Not like in NSW with the 
Innocence Panel being suspended on its first case. 

You see there is at least a likelihood that NSW will get an Innocence Panel but like all things it depends on the second case I suppose? Anyway back to SA].

Public Service Association chief industrial officer Peter Christopher said yesterday there was minimal closed circuit television surveillance in the prison's four wings. "Foot patrols are necessary to monitor prisoner behaviour and staff have been told there is a lack of funding to install further security cameras."

Correctional Services Minister Terry Roberts said the Government had set aside $700,000 to examine future prison needs in SA.

[$700,000 to examine it? Is that all?]

"We had a cold start because of the previous government's inaction in providing correctional services infrastructure," he said. "Change doesn't happen overnight."

[If you spent $700,000 examining the process no wonder you got off to a "cold start". Sound like jobs for the boys if you ask us! You're not interested in preventing crime you're looking for fodder for the victim industry!]

Mr Roberts said the Government was aware of the need to take a close look at prison infrastructure. A Government spokeswoman said correctional services spending had been boosted by more than $15 million "over the next four years," with $1.5 million allocated for prison rehabilitation programs.


[Until the next election!]

In a report to Parliament, Redford said the jail compared badly to Taiwan's new Taoyuan Women's Prison, which he had visited. He said prisoners in the Taiwan jail studied if they are not working.

"It has 1000 inmates, [? prisoners], occupying 3.7ha. It has an extensive library, cultural activities and occupational training." 

Redford said there were extensive physical activity programs in the Taiwanese prison. He said that no such programs existed at Northfield and that was why he had described it as being "third world" in comparison.

By GREG KELTON and just Us posted 26 August 04

GOVERNOR JINKS: "I hate meices to pieces!!!"


I'm a prisoner in south Australia (Adelaide), Yatala Labour Prison, I'm 39 years old with only two and a half years spent in the community since the age of 13. I came into the adult prison system in 1985; I was released in 1998 only to re-offend. I'm now doing 30 years with a 16-year non-parole period, as it's truth in sentencing in our state and there is no remission. My release date is 2016.

I am writing to you due to having no assistance in our state concerning prisons and civil rights groups, our states prison system is so far out of control and prisoners here are being treated the worst I've ever seen in all my years of imprisonment. I will just run off a few things to give you an idea of what I mean. Prisoners cannot have their own computers they were taken off us in 1999 after one prisoner misused his.

Prisoners cannot use the computers in the education centre for any personal letters or any legal work. The prison gives us a typewriter to share between 70 prisoners and only can get to use it for a few days in a row. There is no legal books or access to law on disk; the education has Internet however no prisoners can get to use it. Only the staff uses it and will only look something up if you're doing a correspondence course, (which only a small privilege few can do).

For example I started my HSC three and a half years ago and I still have not finished it. This is due to the amount of time I can get access to a PC. In B division in Yatalar prison we get three days a week, on those days we get one to one and a half-hours in the education centre. This equals 3-4 hours a week, however now they have made rules that unless you're enrolled into a course you can't go.

I have chronic pain disability that dose not allow me to write with a pen, and over the years I have become illiterate, unless I have a spell checker so it is difficult to communicate with others.

The prison will not allow prisoners to buy vitamins or health products.

The prison system uses collective punishment to take away hobbies and art materials.

They have now started to take punching bags out of the system.

Prisoners cannot buy food in tins or glass, as well as any food out of what they sell from the canteen which, is confectionary products usually lollies.

Prisoners cannot have a tape recorder, only a Walkman, only a tape or CD not both. Prisoners earn $12 a week and most pay court levies reducing that amount to $9 a week so we cannot afford to buy toiletries let alone CD's or smokes.

The prison is in breach of the prisons act not giving sentenced prisoners employment and education. They give it to remand prisoners. In this division which I've spent four years so far there is 140 prisoners with 15 jobs that remand prisoners seem to get.

There are no consistent rules and prisoners who enter the prison have to wait up to two months before they get a television sent in. The property store loses and break just about everyone's stuff and the prison won't take responsibility. To receive any property can take weeks and the manager will not improve this area.

The State Government have just gone tough on law and order also have made new changes to the parole board, making it harder for prisoners to be released, having to prove they are rehabilitated but they have taken all the core programs out of the system.

Prisoners in this state get 12 months at the end of their sentence to get prepared for release. This discriminates as someone who has 2-3 years gets that compared to someone who has served 5 years and over. I served 13 years last sentence and they gave me 3 months pre release.

The system seems to set things beyond prisoner's reach. I know I might sound like I'm everywhere but I hope you can get the picture. Our prison system has 90% illiterate rate and now has the highest rate of imprisonment out of all the states of Australia.

With the system having no roads for prisoners to keep themselves in touch with the basics of the community and keeping up with technology there is no real chance of surviving after release. Making it impossible for prisoners to defend themselves from the system within the prison system ensuring prisoners cannot prepare any legal defence.

I was writing a daily diary of events for my civil court case. In the last four years the prison management have stolen it. I have my mail go missing and when some people write to me the letters are returned to sender.

I wrote to a prisoner in Victoria to get a precedent court case on computers the prison sent it back 3 times to him stating restricted material prisoner not allowed. I wrote to the Ombudsman and the letters never got there. The prison officers who take mail from prisoners don't record the mail. It gets recorded once it gets to the front gate.

The prison cuts all the stamps off prisoner's mail and throws the stamps in the bin. A court order has ruled they cannot do that as they are worth 2 cents or more and are the property of the prisoner.

There is no prison television or radio for prisoners who have nothing. Most prisoners have noone in the community to help them with no employment or education and it is causing more harm to prisoners. Prisoners are locked down from 4PM to 8.30AM then from 11AM-1.00PM and with no foodstuff except 2-minute noodles. Prisoners can have a play station but cannot have computers. The reason given to us is that you can access the Internet and play DVD's.

I'm hoping you can assist me with some help to start an inquiry into prison reform. Every other state has had one. I have spoken to at leased 7 lawyers who will only do anything if I pay them. Legal advice won't assist. There is noone in the system that has the knowledge to do anything. I've tried and not being allowed to have a computer to keep records and have stuff sent in limits my ability to help. I had a computer from 1990 to 1997.

I was out 12 weeks and now not allowed to have it back as I said any work I do have on paper goes missing on cell searches. I don't know the names of inquiries of the other states to get reference or formats of cases to help with court action. I wrote to the courts to get the correct format to start and they sent me out the Internet address with all the information I would need and the prison won't let me view the net to obtain the correct format.

Can you please help? Or do you know anyone in this state who would assist in changing our system to be in-line with other states more so the community. Our system is causing mental anguish, depression and turning prisoners into haters. In 1987 there was a court ruling on collective punishment in favour for the prisoners. The management and department are breaching the orders made and the prison is taking everything they can saying it is weapons safety.

I hope to hear from you soon, thanks for your time.

Respectfully
B McFarlane
1 Peter Brown Drive
Northfield SA 5085 


By B McFarlane 18 July 03






                             Yatala Labour Prison
Thank you and your team for your support. I have been trying to write you back. However the person has now stopped me from using the computers and education centre and the typewriter has been broken.

The person is not going to fix it. I have now no way of communicating beyond my handwriting. Due to my hand writing ability and lack of education I am limited.

Since my article was published on the Internet nothing has changed but only become worse. I will contact you again when I can have access to a word processor.

Thanks Heaps eh'

Respectfully
B Mc Farlane
Yatala Labour Prison



Crisis Brewing in State Jails


WA: Figures released today reveal one of the states worst kept secrets 'the prisons are filling fast and will soon be overflowing. The ABS figures released today showed that Western Australia's imprisonment rate continued to outstrip every other state in Australia.


Western Australia recorded the highest increase of any state in the country with a massive 7% increase over the past 12 months compared to the moderate growth rate of 3% for the nation as a whole.

Questions must be raised about the ability of the government to manage the imprisonment rate as well as the adequacy of the justice department to cope with overcrowded prisons.

The Department of Justice has yet again been found unprepared for a massive increase in the state's prison population. The lessons of history are being ignored as prisons start creaking at the seams to cope with an influx of prisoners.

The riot at Casuarina prison on Christmas day six years ago was largely attributed to an overcrowded prison system and a department that could not cope with a rapid influx of prisoners in the latter part of the year.

We need to ask what happened to the much-heralded plans of the Attorney General to significantly reduce the rate of imprisonment in Western Australia. That initiative, announced with much enthusiasm by a new government just two years ago, seems to count for nothing now as Western Australia has resumed its title as the state with the highest rate of imprisonment in the country.

In fact the increase in the states prison population has occurred despite a number of legislative reforms designed to decrease the rate of imprisonment such as eliminating sentences of six months or less.

The Attorney General claimed in the Legislative Assembly on May 22nd 2003 only 18 months ago that people should not be sent to jail for minor offences because they were exposed in prison to the worst elements of the community and invariably came out worse for the experience.

There is no indication that anyone comes out of prison better for the experience. He went on to claim, "When the Labor party came to government at the beginning of 2001 there were almost 3,200 people in prison in Western Australia. As a result of the deliberate strategies that have been employed, we have been successful in reducing by almost 400 the number of people in prison."

"To be able to reduce the number of Aboriginal people going to prison from the chronically high rates that were an international scandal has given me great pleasure."

"Reducing the number of women in prison also serves a very good social purpose. All the strategies are coming together and I am hopeful that there will be a further reduction."

But these plans have not worked. Our prison population today is at its highest ever and the growth in the rate of women being locked away is much greater in Western Australia than in any other state. 

The female imprisonment rate in Western Australia increased 16% over the past 12 months compared to a 5% increase in the national average.

That means that the increase in female imprisonment is three times greater in Western Australia than the nation as a whole.

Aboriginal people still fill our jails disproportionately. Many of these are for minor offences or because people can't pay fines.

The report released today shows that the rate of those sentenced for being in default of a fine only was six times higher in Western Australia than the nation as a whole.

The Attorney General needs to come clean about what has gone wrong and what has to be done to fix this.


Dot Goulding
Prison Reform Group WA
Phone: 08 94978061

By PRGWA posted 2 December 04


Related:

More jails will create more crime says expert
NZ: Once a world leader in restorative justice, New Zealand is regressing by locking more people up for longer, visiting expert Sir Charles Pollard says.



WA: Boronia Prison for women



WA: (Staff newspaper of Community and Juvenile Justice and Prisons) has an article on page 5 relating to 'Discreet security'. It states that;


'
Boronia's security includes an electronic perimeter control system with lights and cameras, a monitoring room, access controls on units and movement controls in key areas, and is unusual in a minimum security prison.'

How about that? They have more security than a minimum-security place such as Karnet, Wooraloo and most likely several other prisons... And yet this is supposed to be a pre-release centre?

It is either operating very much as a minimum-security prison or it isn't. It needs to be named as what it is... A PRISON.

To call it a pre release centre makes a few egos sparkle, but at the end of the day we need to examine it for what it does.

Holds women in a secure (and hopefully, safe environment,) under prison rules and regulations that can see any women back in Bandyup as quick as a flash.

Section 94 offers some great advantages to prisoners preparing for release, but can be operated in a community residential setting such as a wellness house or women's refuge.

It may look good and sound good, but is it going to be effective at assisting women to identify the areas in their lives that need to be resolved?

Is it going to put families first in a family environment? Is it able to do anything better than a genuine halfway house at less cost?

Boronia needs to work - for the sake of the women living there, and I thought that one difference would be the way in which it trusted the women not to do the wrong thing. 
Did they really deserve that level of security at the end of their sentence? Are they that dangerous?

In response and not in justification - I think the majority of the surveillance mechanisms are in place mainly because of the location - deep in the metro area and surrounded by (often fearful) senior citizen's - homes/institutions - unlike wooroloo and karnet which are isolated.

Observer: Certainly the heavy surveillance is not immediately apparent in the prison - except for the central monitoring room.

That said - I agree that this is indeed a prison by any other name and share the view that 12 secure houses scattered appropriately throughout the metro area would have been the more positive way forward for women.

My main worry is that this 'low security' prison, modelled on the Canadian women's prison, will end up just like its Canadian prototype which due to cost restraints now houses maximum security women and is surrounded by razorwire and all the other maximum security procedures, having now lost its original ethos.

Already cost restraints at Boronia have seen reductions in the original service provision mandate - the more things change the more they stay the same. We need to keep a very close eye on this.

The InsideOUT Magazine of May 2004

Posted Just Us posted 8 July 04

Related:

Justice Action: NSW Corrective Services undermine prisoner contact For nearly 20 years, Justice Action has been corresponding regularly with individual prisoners without seeking approval from the Commissioner of Corrective Services for each individual letter sent to them.

Abuse within prisons makes prisoners more violent upon release
The Australian public was confronted with similar accusations during 1978 when the NSW Royal Commission into Prisons headed by Justice Nagle found that the NSW Department of Corrective Services and its Ministers of both political persuasions had unofficially sanctioned the systematic brutalisation of prisoners at Grafton Jail from 1943 to 1976. A former Grafton prison guard, John Pettit, testified to the extent of that brutalisation:

Abu Ghraib one day, Queensland the next
To know prison you have to experience the finality of a cell door slamming shut behind your back.

Prison abuse outrage hypocritical: Burnside
A prominent human rights lawyer has accused the Howard Government of hypocrisy in expressing outrage over the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.




            Risdon Prison Near Hobart

Prison Action & Reform (Tasmania)

PRISON ACTION AND REFORM REPRESENTATIVES, ALONG WITH LAWYER AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR GREG BARNS, WILL BE COMMENTING ON THE DECISION BY JUDY JACKSON TO BAN PAR FROM RISDON PRISON AT 3PM TODAY OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT HOUSE.

Vickie Douglas founded Prison Action and Reform after the gross failures of the system took the life of her young son after he was raped.

Since then, she and other PAR volunteers, have brought to the public's attention scandalous and inhumane events that have occurred in the prison - which Judy Jackson would have otherwise covered up.

Prison Action and Reform advocates on the behalf of prison officers and prisoners in the interests of a just justice system.

Today they have been banned from the jail.

This decision will have a devastating impact.

PAR and Greg Barns will be commenting on this decision at 3pm today outside Parliament House.

By Prisoners Action and Reform posted 18 May 05
We believe that the people of Tasmania - both victims of crime and the general public - have the right to know that the Tasmania Prison Service is delivering a humane and just system of containment that is conducive to the reintegration of inmates back into Tasmanian society.

Risdon prisoners' seize prison to protest mistreatment
Apparently one prisoner had been mistreated and held in isolation in an SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) [Solitary Confinement] because, he'd had and altercation with a screw. SHUs cause severe mental harm - regarded as torture - and are a cruel, inhumane and degrading way to keep prisoners.

No Safe Place
In a brief four month span from August 1999, five men died in Tasmania's Risdon prison. Their deaths have put the state's corrections system in the dock and led to the planned demolition of a jail which even the State's Attorney-General now calls an "appalling facility".

Association for the Prevention of Torture
The Optional Protocol requires 20 ratifications to enter into force. All States Parties to the UN Convention against Torture should seriously consider ratifying the OPCAT as soon as possible. National Institutions and others promoting the human rights of people deprived of their liberty need to be informed of their potential role as national preventive mechanisms under the OPCAT.

Prison: A hard sell for more compassion


 Val Lehmann, Jane Clifton and Colette Mann 

One of the best things about the now cult Australian soap Prisoner was the dialogue between the women locked up in Wentworth Detention Centre as they scrapped and gnawed at each other, fags hanging out of their mouths:
 "You'll get yours, you fat dyke bitch!" Or as Bobbie said about the superbly sinister guard The Freak - one of the best characters ever produced in Australian drama - "She's like a cheap pair of knickers - she'll drop on you when you least expect it."

Prisoner, one of Australia's most successful soaps, was first aired in 1979, and it ran until 1987 - although many of us grew addicted to the late-night repeats played for years afterwards.

Apart from the fact that the characters were almost all white, mostly middle-aged and managed to have an improbable number of sexual liaisons with guards, doctors and cooks, the show did reflect some truths about the prison system. 
Particularly the violence. And the fact that many characters left, only to struggle on the outside and return.

The women's prison Mulawa is the most violent prison in NSW. Recent figures showed the rate of assault on prison officers there, at 18 per 100 inmates, [prisoners], is three times higher than at Goulburn jail, where, [some of], our most dangerous criminals are locked up. Each year, 50 per cent of inmates, [prisoners], are assaulted.

I was there on Thursday night, for a closing ceremony of a program called Kairos (meaning "God's special time" in Greek), which I have written about before. Kairos is a program run for prisoners in several countries by an interdenominational Christian group whose members spend four days in the prison with a group of about 20 inmates, 
[prisoners], cook for them, give them talks on subjects like learning to forgive, and accepting other people, and just show them love.

I have been to three closings now, and am always struck by the looks on the women's faces, the way they say that it was the best week of their lives,
the first time anyone had cared for them and how determined they are to change.

Those of the prison personnel who don't think the whole thing is slightly loopy are often effusive about the effects of it on the inmates, 
[prisoners], in reducing violence and recidivism. They have seen repeat offenders do Kairos and never come back.

This week was different. Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell was there, 
[religious bondage.] (The former Anglican archbishop was there too, [religious bondage], the gentle Harry Goodhew, but he has been before.) I sat a few rows behind him and watched as women likely to be murderers, thieves and drug-dealers danced around him and sang, "Surely the presence of God is in this place". His black-robed figure was still, upright as they jumped up and down with some kind of uninhibited joy, thrusting tattooed arms into the air, in heaving green and maroon tracksuits.

Afterwards he said he saw something shining in their faces. [?]

Oh, it may be Pollyanna to say so, but 
sometimes miracles can happen.[?]

This week, for example, the Government decided asylum seekers on temporary protection visas would be allowed to apply for permanent residency. The Herald poster cried 
"Compassion back in fashion!" (Intolerance is so yesterday.)

Some people involved with serious offenders say prisoners need three things to become active citizens again: a spiritual experience when in jail (which gives them the courage to change and hope for their future), the support of their families, and having skills to get a job on the outside. With half the women in prison in NSW having been there before, making sure people survive in the outside world is critical.

The average daily population of prisoners in full-time custody in NSW rose from 6342 in 1997 to 8000 in 2002. This is predicted to rise to 9000 next year.

To cope with the booming prison population, 
the Government has been building new prisons, at enormous cost, to the dismay of activists who believe the money should be put into alternatives for custody. New prisons opened in Sydney's west on Wednesday (Dillwynia) and at Windsor on Friday, and another will be opened in Kempsey on Monday.

But according to the NSW Council of Social Service, NSW Bureau of Crimes Statistics and Research data shows 
most categories of crime are declining or have stabilised.

If compassion really was back in fashion, you'd think we could start seriously debating the wisdom in this approach.

Few people noticed that another small victory for compassion - or common sense - came just under three weeks ago, probably because it was hardly reported. 
At the end of last month, a bill put forward by the Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz, aimed at stopping prisoners from voting (as well as young people who have not enrolled yet), failed to make it through the Parliament. Currently all prisoners serving a sentence less than five years are able to vote in federal elections.

Abetz said, "If you're not fit to walk the streets as deemed by the judicial system in this country, then chances are you're not a fit and proper person to cast a vote." Labor and the Democrats refused to support it.

[If you're not fit to be elected then you're not fit take away anyone's vote, stupid.]

There has been a long-running tension between people intent on further cutting off those "not fit to walk the streets" from mainstream society, and others intent on making them fit to walk the streets again. The extraordinary sight in the visiting room at Mulawa this week was a stark reminder that people can change.

Exercising humanity in the "Face of Evil"

Transforming the Correctional Culture, by Vicki Sanderford-O'Connor*. The author is an experienced correctional officer who worked for 16 years for the California Department of Corrections, the third largest prison system in the world. The first extract was printed in Corruption Prevention News Number 10.

Free-speech lockdown

As state prisoners, we have long been portrayed by advocates of the tough-on-crime movement as a faceless and heartless amalgam deserving extreme punishment and permanent incapacitation.

By Julia Baird July 17 04

Related:

JUSTICE ACTION: TOUCH
What: An event for the campaign for community access to prisons Why: Because secrecy breeds abuse. On Bastille Day 1984, Breakout was officially launched with a start-up grant of $108,000. Breakout began business as an employment project for ex-prisoners. Twenty years later, Breakout Design + Print is still employing ex-prisoners. Through our political arm, Justice Action, we are still campaigning for the human rights of prisoners,ex-prisoners, and communities effected by crime and the criminal justice system.

Community: Daily Telegraph, you're out of "touch"
The Daily Telegraph is out of "touch" with Judges, Magistrates and the Community on every type of crime and penalties should be lessoned, an exclusive law and order survey for GKCNN has found.




A prisoner's sister's letter, from her brother: Following our phone conversation some weeks ago I would like to set out a few points on the treatment of prisoners in the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn (Super Max) (Guantanamo Bay).

Brother: When you first arrive at Goulburn Super Max Jail you are taken to wing 7. That is after you are stripped searched and given new cloths, underwear and shoes, which don't fit properly.

Next you are taken to wing 7, you are given new sheets and blankets and nothing else. After spending your first night in segregation (wing 7) the Deputy Governor comes to see you and asks you why you are in Jail.

When you try and explain the reason for you to be there he doesn't listen, he just says he will see you again next week.

The following week he again comes to see me and I asked him why I have been transferred to Super Max. He gives me the Act 27, which basically is an excuse for them to have anyone that they want in Super Max without an excuse.

Sister: (We still don't have a reason why he was moved, but I believe it was because of complaints made about the Intel Officer of Lithgow to the Commissioner Mr Ron Woodham. 

The Intel Officer took a dislike to my brother and he made it very difficult for him. My brother's room was raided frequently and was moved from pod to pod and 
often put in dangerous situations.

Brother: After spending a couple of months in segregation [solitary confinement ?] you are given a classification which starts at 0 then the next step is 1:1. This gets you into one of the wings either wing 8 or wing 9 that entitles you to a radio and a jug of hot water, also you have access to a small bar fridge which is kept in the day room in front of your cell.

You are suppose to be reclassified every 4 to 6 weeks but this doesn't happen very often. The classification consists of you seeing welfare 2 or 3 times and answering a lot of personal questions. 

Then you have to see a psychologist and fill in a couple of questions, which are also very personal. If you don't answer these questions you do not move up the classification ladder, therefore you don't get your radio, jug, TV etc.

0-Nothing but 2 phone calls a week and $20.00 buy up.

1:1- 2 personal phone calls, $25 buy up, jug, radio, access to library sometimes and access to a fridge.

1:2- 2 personal phone calls, $30 buy up, jug, radio, access to the library and computer room, fridge and microwave access. You can put down for association! That means you can be in the library or the sports yard with someone that they have approved you to be with. Never more than 2, that is you and someone else.

1:3 All the above except the buy up goes up by $5.00 ever time also you get a TV this could take up to 6 months. After 1:3 things start to slow down and they don't care too much about moving you up the ladder as I have explained. It starts at 0 and goes up to 3:3, if you do reach 3:31 I don't know what happens because no one has reached that stage.

Visits: You get one visit a week for one hour. The visitor has to complete a very strict security check, which can take up to 2 months for approval.Some prisoners have waited 6 months for approval to be granted.

Cells: The cells are 6ft by 14ft with one concrete bed and one concrete bench and one concrete TV bench for a (future TV). There is a shower, stainless steel sink and toilet with no lid on it. Ventilation comes from some sort of air conditioning system. One vent pushes air in and the other vent sucks it out. Occasionally the power goes off and the only ventilation you get is from gaps under the back door, which leads to the yard. It is not too bad for a while but if it stays off for too long the air starts to get a little stale, especially if you are a smoker you can imagine how it is.

Lock In: Lock inn's are at least 3 times a week (24 hour) this is since I've been here. It has been confirmed by other prisoners this is normal. The only day you can be sure that you will get out is Saturday and Sunday.During lock in you can't make any legal phone calls.

In fact you can't get anything done. This means your laundry days are say Monday and Friday and you're locked in. You can't get your laundry done until you are let out on one of those days. Sometimes it can take up to three weeks before you get your laundry done and we are not given enough cloths and run out of things that are clean to wear. 2 track pants, 2 jumpers, 4 t-shirts and 2 towels.

Food: The food is standard as any other correctional facility.

Breakfast; 3 x coffee, 7 x sweetener, 1 x 40gms of cereal and I jam spread with 300ml milk.

Lunch; 2 sandwiches, 1 piece of fruit and seven slices of bread.

Dinner; 1 frozen meal reheated and served. In the last two months I have been here my dinner has never been hot just a little warm. Dinner is served at 2:30 PM every day. Lock in is usually at 2:45 or 3:00pm. If you don't have access to a microwave then you have to eat it as you get it. You can't buy your own food. So you are forced to eat their food. This food does not take into consideration all the different nationalities. The only way to communicate with other prisoners are calling to each other from our cells as no contact with other prisoners are allowed.

Sister: Finally after talking to prisoners who I know from before from other prisons. These people have become very paranoid and irrational. They were never like that before and I believe that this place has done this to them.

Furthermore, During my visit with my brother I questioned him about other prisoner's appearance and 
was told because of not being able to purchase proper razor blades the prisoners don't shave.

In one of my brother's previous letters, he went to write that no matter how much he tried to work hard in rehabilitation it just does not help. It takes one officer to take a dislike of you and you are gone. Sent to Super Max as punishment for the way you look and to break your spirit. If you are not strong enough to survive your term you will come out worse than when you went in.

By Just Us 16 September 03 

Related:

Review of Justice Ministers claims about conditions at HRMU
Minister for Justice John Hatzistergos stated on 15 July 2003 concerning the prisoners at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulbourn.[Prisoners held in solitary confinement and tortured endlessly in a Supermax Prison at Goulburn.]

Lithgow Prison: This is no Irish joke!
Allow me to introduce myself to you my name is John Smith I am writing to you for your help in regards to Corrective Services Jail at Lithgow, I am a prisoner at this centre and I am serving a long sentence. I originally came from Ireland a number of years ago.




The Australian Institute of Criminology's Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia - 1996 just don't cover the Goulburn HRMU according to Mr Ron Woodham Commissioner of Corrective Services. The High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) is the centrepiece of a major $22M redevelopment of Goulburn Correctional Centre.

You can't see a doctor for six months is one of the complaints.

A prisoner writes, " I was unsuccessful in my letters to Dr Matthews CEO of the Corrections Health Service on my problem regarding air - claustrophobic effect the cells have on me. Just recently the management decided my injuries are not seriously affecting me so no further discussions are necessary.

They are fairly confident in their own assessment as they know every attempt I had previously made to Matthews and other relevant authorities about the matter were dismissed and that is that. In the meantime I still quite often have great moments of anxiety and feel no air and choke-up and get quite bewildered in my attempts to overcome the problem.

This place is purposely built as a basic box in a box. Once our back door is closed there is no natural ventilation and no natural light. The guidelines I read of are not included in 'Carr's Castle' design, and in reality this place is poorly designed and difficult for everyone, prisoners and management.

Management bought it up themselves as each new rule generally cuts across an old rule. I am not concerned about the purpose of the place, but I am about the panic attacks I get in here because it is a straight out box. As I have other issues going on as well I feel some people will confuse those issues and my actions. The lack of air in cells or claustrophobia are both related to it's a box and once I feel the walls closing in and I realise there is no air, no openings- yet I can see air and know its out-side the door and that is what causes me to panic as I know I can't get to it."

"In other units the ASU or MPU I could always get to the grille and breathe in fresh air and after a few minutes I would feel better, in here one cannot do this."

The wife of a prisoner who is now on a hunger strike writes to Justice Action, "I would like to state that I believe that the degree of punishment "D" has received is very severe. Whilst being housed in the H.M.R.U. "D" has been threatened bashed and told by an officer "how would you like to be found hanging in your cell." "D" has made a statements regarding these incidents but has never been informed of any action taken regarding these events."

"I myself have tried five times to speak to the governor at Goulburn in relation to these events and have been unable to speak to him and I am still waiting for him to return my calls. "D" went into custody as a young offender and whilst in the departments custody has never been treated in such a manner despite the sentencing judges recommendations for the department to do so. I fear for "D" health and safety whilst housed at H.M.R.U. as "D" has expressed his concerns to me."

THE PRISONER: Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australian were. That is, before 'Carr's Castle' (were) as follows:

SECTION 1 - Guiding Principles
1.2 Correctional programs are by the deprivation of liberty to varying degrees, a punishment in themselves. Therefore correctional programs must not, except as incidental to the maintenance of discipline or justifiable segregation, aggravate the suffering inherent in such a situation.

Inspection and Community Involvement
3.1 Each Administering Department must establish a set of clear guidelines for the operation of prisons and community corrections centres, and the management of prisoners and offenders. An inspectorial or review system must be established by each Administering Department to ensure these guidelines are administered in each prison and community correction centre.

Requests and Complaints
3.21 Every offender and prisoner must have the opportunity of making requests or complaints to the designated authorities, including Official Visitors and members of any Aboriginal Visitors Scheme or similar body.
3.22 Every offender and prisoner must have the right to make complaints under confidential cover to persons authorised either under legislation or by the Administering Department.
3.23 All officers must promptly reply to and deal with every request or complaint addressed or referred to them.

Use of Force
5.40 A prison officer may, where necessary, use reasonable force to compel a prisoner to obey a lawful order given by the prison officer. Where such force is used the prison officer must report the fact to the Manager of the prison.

Health Services
5.66 For every prison, the services of at least one qualified medical officer must be available twenty-four hours a day. This service may be on an on-call or standby basis. Medical services should be organised in close relationship with the general health administration in the community and must include access to a psychiatric service for the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorder.

Accommodation
5.23 In new prisons, accommodation should generally be provided in single cells or rooms. Provision may be made however, for multiple cell accommodation for the management of particular prisoners.
5.24 Existing dormitories should only be occupied by prisoners who are suited to them.
5.25 All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners should meet all requirements of health. Due regard must be paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.
5.26 In all places where prisoners are required to live or work:
* the windows should be large enough to enable the prisoners to read or work by natural light, and should be constructed in such a way that they allow entrance of fresh air except where there is artificial ventilation;
* artificial light should be provided to enable prisoners to read or work without injury to eyesight.
5.27 Toilet and sanitary facilities must be provided for prisoners to use as required, and these must be kept in a clean condition.
5.28 Adequate bathing and shower installations must be provided to enable every prisoner to maintain general hygiene by bathing or showering at a temperature suitable for the climate.
5.29 All parts of a prison should be properly maintained and kept clean at all times.

By Guantanamo Bay 1 May 03



On February 28, 2003, Staff at the Jail returned to sender prisoners personal mail during a JA letter out sent to the prisoners. JA sent letters to the prisoners because of a breach of a federal law that allows prisoners to receive information. Because of the banning of Framed Magazine by the prisons Commissioner Mr Ron Woodham federal prisoners as well as state prisoners were and have been denied information relevant to their situation as prisoners.

Numerous Complaints about ACM have been made by Justice Action to the Ombudsman and the Government in relation to Junee Correctional Centre in 2003.

On February 28, 2003, Staff at the Jail returned to sender prisoners personal mail during a JA letter out sent to the prisoners. JA sent letters to the prisoners because of a breach of a federal law that allows prisoners to receive information. Because of the banning of Framed Magazine by the prisons Commissioner Mr Ron Woodham federal prisoners as well as state prisoners were and have been denied information relevant to their situation as prisoners.

Subsequently the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is making an inquiry about the ban. When Justice Action's staff contacted Junee prison on 26 February 03 at 10:25 AM to find out where the prisoners were being housed, they were at the Jail. So why was the prisoners personal mail sent back to JA?

I asked the person for identification to verify the call I had made and she told me she doesn't have to give me her name or her number.

I quickly informed her she was a public servant and had to give me some form of ID and she told me,

"I am not a public servant. I work for a private corporation."

I asked then to talk to her superior and she hung up the phone.

I contacted (Liz)? From the Ombudsman's office and she stated, "I am not sure if the person who answered the phone at Junee Jail has to identify herself?"

Medical complaints have also been received at Justice Action on12 March 03, medication had been withheld from a prisoner. The prisoner suffered from epilepsy and he needed to know what reason the doctor had for not giving him his medication.

The prisoner concerns were that he was waking up on the floor and banging his head and it had taken six prison guards to hold him down while he was having a fit.

On the Four Corners program, former staff from the now-closed Woomera Detention Centre claim Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) cut staff and fudged the figures reported to the government, to pocket the money paid for extra staff.

ACM is also accused of destroying written evidence of medical malpractice and the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old Iranian boy by other detainees at Woomera.

The Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, says he is taking the allegations seriously.

"I've asked already my department tonight to undertake a full review of the transcript of the program to see whether it contains any evidence that is new to us in relation to possible breaches of contract," he said.

ACM is accused of dangerously low staffing levels at Woomera the company that ran the now-closed Woomera Detention Centre has been accused of deliberate under staffing and fudging staff numbers in reports to the Federal Government, to increase its earnings.

A former operations manager at Woomera has told the ABC's Four Corners that Australian Correctional Management (ACM) was paid according to the number of detainees at the centre.

Allan Clifton also says he had advance warning of the mass breakout in June 2000 but ACM management ignored the warning and when the breakout happened, staff levels were too low to deal with the situation.

"In the times I was there we hardly ever had the required number of staff, that I might add ACM were getting paid for by DIMA [Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs]," he said.

"They would send in reports saying we had the required number of staff when in fact we didn't have the required number of staff.

"And quite often we were told at a local level to fudge the figures."

In a written response late today, Australian Correctional Management refused to comment on the allegation, claiming it cannot talk about staffing levels for security reasons.

By Gregory Kable 20 May 03

Justice Action


Two public servants may be sacked over a bungle affecting an Aboriginal inmate who died in custody in a New South Wales jail.

In January this year, a 23-year-old Aboriginal prisoner was found hanging in his cell in a Sydney jail 18 days after he was due to be released.

The State Government ordered an investigation into how the parole board had miscalculated the inmate's release date.

A report tabled in Parliament blames the error on an inexperienced officer whose work should have been checked.

It describes the parole board as complacent and says its error rates are unacceptable. Justice Minister John Hatzistergos concedes the report is damning and has pledged a major shake-up.

"It's frankly unacceptable. To be frankly blunt about it, I regard it as a disgrace," he said.

A separate report will recommend whether two staff who have been stood aside over the incident, should be sacked. 

By Death In Custody 7 May 03

THE PRISONERS: Prison over-crowding due to the Carr Governments policies have caused the Department of Corrective Services to cut corners in all areas. Watchdogs have been silenced and custodial staff told what to say and not what to say and that's why answers are not forthcoming from DCS about complaints forwarded to them from prisoners who are suffering.

The independence of welfare has diminished and that means the messenger is too late in order to save any life that nears death. There is mounting trauma and frustration of today's prisoners who are trying to survive in barbaric conditions.

Resources and facilities including health, programs, education and even exercise for prisoners out of their cells has been limited and spread so wide that conditions in the jail are causing neglect, self-harm and death.





Dear Mr Kable,

I am writing to give you permission to make any inquiries on my behalf as I am invalid pensioner who doesn't drive and been only well enough to travel by train once in 15 months to see my son Scott Simpson. I have enclosed a copy of Scott's letter and also a copy of gaol papers form I have to fill out and wait to see if I'm allowed in to see him. He doesn't get any visits. He is in the Supermax and deprived of any privileges not even legal Aid will fund a solicitor to see him in Goulburn.

I have written to the governor and minister of Corrective Services over 4 weeks and no reply to date. I was informed my son might be there indefinitely as the 
order was signed by the minister.

He has been in segregation for the past 15 months he has been in gaol. Scott is a full 'remand prisoner' and shouldn't be in the Super Max section.

They said it was to give him a break from 'segregation' 
[solitary confinement] but he has no contact and doesn't see anyone. 

No medical services are made available to him because he refuses to talk to the prison psychiatrist on instructions from his previous solicitor at the time.


They say he cant associate because he is not stable enough but he had to be stable enough to do his own committal and they gave him a typed list of questions he was only allowed to ask the witnesses. That in my opinion is a miscarriage of justice in my book. 
He has numerous complaints and I am giving you permission to investigate his allegations.

I am most appreciated what you are doing for Scott and my prayers are with you for being in his corner. I am looking forward to any correspondence from you that can send me to allay my fears for his safety.

Letter from prisoner Scott Simpson to his mother.

Dear mum,

I hop this letter finds you healthy and well. As you know I am at the H.R.MU. Supermax. High Risk Management Unit. I am a full remand prisoner and people who are doing life sentences have more privileges than me. I can't get a solicitor to do my case, as Legal Aid will not fund my solicitor to do my case as Legal Aid will not fund my solicitor to drive to Goulburn.

They won't put me in Silverwater M.R.R.C. so I can have contact with solicitors. They put me in here for no reason at all. I was in segregation doing okay no bad reports or nothing. As soon as I buy my TV, radio, rice-cooker etc-they bring me down here.

I have nothing, talk about miscarriage of justice, they are black mailing me. They say if I talk to the psych here then I can get a TV in 3 months.

I told them I cannot talk to anyone as I've been instructed through legal advice not to talk to jail psyche's only out-side psyche's. 
So basically there saying I have something wrong with me and if that's the case well this is how they treat someone who they say is sick and full remand prisoner.

Take all this property and give him nothing not even fresh air as it's only pumped into our cells. Dry cell with camera and everything. Only difference I have a shower in my cell, which only comes on 4 times a day. 
It's not helping my head at all mum. 'I feel sick all the time headaches as no fresh air'. I feel like I'm in a prison truck with a bed. One phone call a week. I'm 'starving, freezing', don't see me any more so they can help me with my case just full on 'torture' never stops.

Well enough about this for now. 
God I wish you would do something mum at least ring people about the treatment I'm getting and being full remand prisoner.

Their slowly torturing me to death, It's the most painful, evil thing that could happen to anyone. Anyway I'm going to go mum as I am not feeling to good and you know why. I can't think properly and it's hurting writing this letter. By for now love always from your son.

Ps Can you ring this bloke Greg Kable "Justice Action" group pH 9660 9111 tell him my situation put in Supermax no nothing. Full remand prisoner and no adverse reports to put me in here. No legal council. Legal Aid won't fund my solicitor to drive to see me and they won't put me in a Sydney jail. Facing murder charge had to do committal my self and tortured 24 hours a day. Ring Green Peace MP he knows what's happening. Tell him what is going on. Also the Ombudsman sent 4 letters no reply. Inspector general local MP you know who to ring mum please mum do something. "TORTURED"

Posted by Gregory Kable 8 May 03

ED: After reading these letters I must say that the Department of Corrective Services is giving this lad the Gulag Treatment in the hope that he will see a corrupt Psychiatrist to cover up the mismanagement of the Department's duty of care. Happy Mothers Day Mrs Simpson.

History:

Scott Simpson had an altercation with another person who alleged that Scott hit his car with a baseball bat and damaged the frame of the car's window just missing the person sitting in the car. That person then went to the police unharmed and had Scott charged and subsequently Scott was sent to Silverwater remand prison where he was alleged to have murdered his cell mate during the night. And now he resides at the HRMU Goulburn Correctional Centre or Super-max otherwise known as Carr's Castle.

REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIVE SERVICES PSYCHIATRIST

Mr Simpson is charged with intimidate a police officer in execution of duty, contrary to Section 60(1); use intimidation/violence to unlawfully influence person contrary to Section 545b(1)(1); breach of undertaking, and assault contrary to Section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900. I am also aware that Mr Simpson has another more serious charge but at the time of writing this report, the writer has no further details about this offence.

Edited Conclusion:

Mr. Simpson is suffering from a mental illness as defined in the New South Wales Mental Health Act and requires treatment in a psychiatric hospital. He suffers from a psychotic disorder, which involves systematised paranoid delusions. He also has auditory hallucinations. Although he is receiving anti-psychotic medication, he remained psychotic at the time of the interview. He was clearly distressed and paranoid in his interactions with others. He has been in custody for almost four months.

Scott. Maintains that he was forced into a cell with a (paedophile, sex offender) Mr L who was placed in strict security away from the main prison at Junee. The Sex offender's brother Mr L. also a sex offender at Junee wrote to me expressing his concern that he was next and feared being sent into that scene for any sort of rehabilitation.

Please note it appears that the Department of Corrective Services failed to identify that Scott [?] had a mental illness and Scott was then 'forced' into a situation that he may have felt threatened in. In any event Mr L died and Mr Simpson most likely, according to the report, suffered from a mental illness. Questions about duty of care by DCS arise from this situation that need your urgent attention.





* Ombudsman's main power comes from publicity it generates and possibility of reporting to Parliament.

* According to author, they "exert considerable influence over administrative officials and may often persuade [one] to revoke or vary a decision". (p182).

* OM are not like other agencies for administrative justice in that they lack the power to quash or remake decisions. Sort of a "bridge between legal and moral notions of justice". P184).

* Courts can be reluctant to examine decisions made by prison officials during emergencies, even if they cause great hardship to prisoners (p186). So this is an area in which other agencies are needed.

* Om's jurisdiction is limited to 'matters of administration', which has been interpreted by courts to mean anything which is NOT a matter of policy.

* "...a single allegation by a prisoner that he or she was assaulted would not normally constitute a 'matter of administration'" (p187). This distinction poses a problem. [the Inspector General of Prisons jurisdiction was more precisely defined]

* Various reports by OM have definitely resulted in changes, sometimes hours after their release (see p 192)-ie it is apparently an effective remedy. [an investigation must be held before a report is written though, and not many cases are formally investigatedÉ]

* Alternative remedies prisoners can sometimes get include apologies, reconsideration of decisions or ex gratia payments in compensation. [Conciliation can be quite effective apparently, but just how effective is unknown due to the difficulty in finding documentation on informal measures].

* Prisoners have an unfettered right to correspond with OM in all states except Tasmania. (p195) and OM can visit prisoners (p196).

* "The only clear requirement to which all OM are subject is that investigations be conducted in private." (p196) [Presumably this is to avoid defamation etc]

* OM usually ask public body for an explanation of the decision or action in question upon receipt of a complaint. (p196).

* Conciliation helped a prisoner in SA who wasn't being allowed to see her partner (pp197-8)

* Govt depts "rarely welcome external review of any form" (p199).

* "Procedures adopted by OM have enabled them to establish and maintain a considerable amount of influence over admin, agencies." (p199).

* "Own Motion" investigations (ie ones not instigated by any particular complaint) should be used more often according to one Queensland review. Said the OM should be 'less reactive and less oriented to individual complaints, and become more proactive, systematic and preventative' (p201) [this would move the OM even further form the previous role of the Inspector General of prisons].

* If they had determinative powers they would be like "quasi small claims courts" (p201).

* Kerr Report said that "ordinary citizens [let alone prisoners] were placed at such a disadvantage when dealing with admin, officials and govt depts that an office with far more powers than are possessed by OM should be established." (p203).

* OM are able to establish dialogue between prisoners and prison officials according to the author (p204)

* "The informal and non-adversarial procedures used by OM are an important element of their apparent success." [one of the main arguments use against the Inspector General of Prisons was that it was too adversarial, got the dept's back up and so wasn't going to achieve change-perhaps it has some merit, but suggests to me that dept is simply rotten and unwilling to accept criticism].

A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management

By Mathew Groves posted 1 June 04



The world was shocked by the images of Abu Ghraib prisoner torture. But around the world the prisoner community knows that worse happens every day.
The US presidential election will happen in November. George Bush is floundering in the wake of his government's exposed moral bankruptcy in Iraq. His terrorism against citizens has been exposed. Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been caught with equal responsibility. They are on the defence.
This is a proposal from the Australian Prisoners Union that there be a call for a strike by prisoners in Australia and their supporters. We would call for parallel actions around the world. It is time to assert ourselves as human beings with a common issue. We know the comradeship of the prison experience.

The aim is to get recognition that we are a fundamental stakeholder in the direction of human civilisation and that we can and will play our part. We should say that we will not tolerate behaviour like that in 
Abu Ghraib any more. We and our communities suffer the most from this abuse of authority, which is inherent in imprisonment itself.

The prisoner community should see the campaign as one to which it commits itself in the longer term. It should escalate the pressure for the exposure of prisons to the outside community for being the crime against humanity that they are, and similar to slavery discarded not so long ago. The humanity of those inside should be seen.

DEMANDS

That our communities have the right of free access to us. There is no legitimate excuse for that to be blocked. Free communication must be maintained as recognition that secrecy permits crimes against humanity. No third parties can be trusted or offer the care. Prison managers do agree that supported prisoners lighten their jobs and survive better later. Community visitors must get official appreciation and support.

That the international covenants be observed and the UN be funded to monitor prisons around the world. The book by the International Centre for Prison Studies 
A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management lays out the obligations.

That the forms of restorative justice and mentoring that are so successful in reducing social unrest be adopted immediately, running parallel to imprisonment until the public feels safe without prisons.

STRATEGIES

The strike should include a launch on Bastille Day Wednesday, July 14. The forms of the strike should show commitment to the principles of non-violence, determination, loyalty, good communication, fun and humour. We should look for commitment from the outside community in parallel action. Funds raised should be controlled by prisoners in their local areas.

Communication between prisoners and their communities happens efficiently through the media and the grapevine. Media releases and strategies can be adopted, adjusted, translated and reissued. Websites can hold contacts and take messages of support.

High profile exprisoners such as Nelson Mandela can be approached for statements of support. Prisoners of war have had the same experience, as do those in mental institutions and refugee camps. They and their organisations need to be asked. Our community is enormous.

On the first day we should ask for a gesture of goodwill and discipline from all those who abhor the behaviour exposed at Abu Ghraib. Those involved in the law could refuse to imprison, offer free legal assistance, or give money to the campaign.

A 24-hour hunger strike, with the right of conscientious objection, should be proposed for prisoners and supporters outside. Money saved donated to the campaign. Other forms of strike should be non-confrontational in order to keep the initiative and the control. Negotiations should be continuous. The form is the message.

An offering to the public would be a safer life. To deal with us means a fundamental move away from aggression and intolerance. Prisoners and their communities could decide on a crime strike, and tell the public what would make that possible. To make a conscious decision to not break the law for a day. The police could be asked to show goodwill and tolerance at the same time. If we can show that we can make a difference that would lead to greater possibilities in the future. Worldwide the effect would be enormous..

A suggested logo is the purple circle. The circle represents the cycle of continuity. What you give is what you get. Purple balloons rising over the jails would be seen from inside. Possibly at 11am before lockup.

Prisons from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay, from Pelican Bay to Lithgow, from Mount Eden to Gulag, from the Bangkok Hilton to San Quentin, from Long Kesh to Chowchilla, should talk about the issues and use their organizational forms to send out messages. Prison guards should be encouraged to be part of the debate. By showing our humanity we prevent inhuman things happening to us. We should offer an opportunity for forgiveness and mentoring support to Lynndie England and Charles Graner rather than imprisonment.

Local politicians could raise the use of imprisonment in their areas asking for free access to prisons and involve prisoners in the debate by entering the prisons and talking with them.

LONG TERM

We should demand our place as specific interest stakeholders in the direction of the human race. And fight to the death. Our lives are already being taken. Now we have an opportunity to take a position. To do nothing is to accept what we are given.

Please urgently feedback your responses. We want as wide a consultation as possible before acting.

Solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters!

A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management

By Justice Action posted 7 June 04

Brett Collins
Australian Prisoners Union (a spokesperson)
65 Bellevue St, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia
P.O. Box 386, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
apu@justiceaction.org.au
voice: 612-9660 9111 fax: 612-9660 9100

Please log into the 
Justice Action Web site, designed and sponsored by Breakout Design & Print, exercising good corporate citizenship:

Proposal 3/6/04

Related:
Hatzsistergos defends speedy draconian laws
The New South Wales Government has been accused of "ramming" through a bill designed to make it much tougher for people to get bail if they are accused of terrorism-related offences, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East.]

Vic database to track sex offenders' movements
Liberty Victoria vice president Jamie Gardiner has described the new database as flawed and dangerous. Mr Gardiner says the database punishes people for what they might do rather than what they have done.

Ngo loses High Court appeal bid
Phuong Ngo has lost a High Court special leave application to appeal his 2001 conviction for the murder of Cabramatta MP John Newman.

No Legal Aid? Milat loses conviction appeal!
Ivan Milat today, without any legal representation, which includes Legal Aid, lost an application in the High Court to appeal against his 1996 convictions.

ACTION BREAK THEATRE
Our theatre workshops for Script Development and Acting aim to enable Female ex-prisoners, Women at-risk of being caught up in the justice system, Survivors of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence, to dramatically craft their real-life stories for the stage, radio and video.

Govt moves to strip prisoners' voting rights
The Australian Council for Civil Liberties has condemned a Federal Government move to stop prisoners voting. Under current laws, prisoners serving less than five years can vote.

Hep C rife in Victorian jails
The study released by the Department of Justice, [? Department of Law, because there is no justice in prisons], revealed 57 per cent of prisoners had evidence of the hepatitis C infection, compared with one per cent of the general population.

AUSTRALIA: RIOT ACT READ AGAINST INSPECTION TEAM
The secrecy of the unit holding several people charged with terrorist offences, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], here in Australia was confirmed during an attempted community inspection by a delegation from Justice Action. The delegation comprised four women and two men.

Sisters Inside: The power of standing on your own two feet
The old jail, overcrowded and dilapidated, had been simmering with barely contained tension for some time. Many of the 106 women were locked together; two to a cell, in the "bottom" section of the jail behind a gate that prison officers chose to keep shut, restricting the already minimal movement of prisoners and ensuring a tinderbox environment of festering pressures.

Govt stands by child sex offender program
SafeCare offers certain child sex offenders conditional confidentiality if they admit their crime, move out of the home and attend a two-year rehabilitation program run by the agency.

Australian Prisons Message of Solidarity: Greens
The Australian corrections system is appalling and rife with abuse of prisoner's rights. The spiralling numbers of those locked up, now over 23,000, is an indictment on a society which purports to be fair and democratic.

Rally for Inspection of Terror Unit, the HRMU
On Saturday, 15 May 2004 at 1p.m concerned citizens including families and friends will rally at the High Risk Management Unit, Goulburn Jail to demand entry and inspection of the unit where several people charged with terrorist offences, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], are imprisoned.

Australia: Prisoner Abuse Not Just in Iraq
The shocking revelations of abuse of prisoners by US prison guards in Iraq have been denounced by politicians around the world, including our own Prime Minister. But before he feels confident in criticising prison practices elsewhere, Howard needs to know a few things about prison administration in his own country. Justice Action has exposed similar acts here in Australia, but have had no response from authorities.


Ron Woodham NSW Commissioner of Corrective Services banned Framed a quarterly magazine by Justice Action to Correctional Centres. 

On 2 May 2002, Justice Action received a faxed letter from Manager of DCS Operations Support Branch saying that, in his view, articles in Framed edition #42 'lack balance and integrity' and he is therefore 'not prepared to recommend this issue of Framed for placement in to correctional centre libraries.' Prisoners and those concerned about prisoner issues have very few sources of information.

Framed is one of the most important for inmates of Australian Correctional Centres it is the only magazine giving prisoners a voice.

Framed reports on what's really happening and lets prisoners know that Justice Action is fighting for them. The Magazine goes to the centres in all states except the Northern Territory and they're working on that. Letter from John Klok Senior Assistant Commissioner DCC said" It has come to my attention that Justice Action has been forwarding copies of their recent issue of Framed to individual inmates" Please be advised that the Department has not given its approval to the recent issue of Framed as it contains many misleading, inaccurate and provocative articles."

A spokesperson for Justice Action said "What about the other 41 issues that were sent in to the jail? And what was printed was the truth about Rotten Ron's history of employment. These matters had been dealt with by the authorities like the Royal Commission into prisons etc.

Misleading no! Inaccurate no! Provocative? What article isn't? Therefore the fact that there was an inquiry about Ron Woodham at the time then that would be more likely to be the reason why they (DCS) rejected the issue and not the stated reasons."

Justice Action

By Or Wellian 27 November 2002

ED: What have you got to do to get into a NSW prison? Get a job with the Department? What if you don't agree?

Related:

Civil libertarians condemn planned changes to prisoners' privacy rights Civil libertarians and the New South Wales Privacy Commissioner have condemned a Government plan to prevent convicted criminals from claiming compensation if their private details are made public.

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20?
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Mr. & Mrs. Mandatory Sentencing
Well congratulations to the bride and groom. Could you please be upstanding and raise your glasses for Mr. And Mrs. Mandatory.

Just wipe your arse on Ivan again Minister?
Mr Amery Minister for Corrective services has a problem with finding a toilet roll to wipe his bottom. Justice Action is appalled at the attacks by Amery and others in parliament on Ivan Milat's right to privacy and their attacks on the Privacy Commissioner and his office.

NSW prisons - primary industry bailed up!
In many quiet regional centres around NSW there is a new primary industry shaping up. It has something to do with Bail but not with bales. The minister for Agriculture Richard Amery who also has the prisons portfolio is now committed to farming prisoners.

NSW Parliament Bitter Pills To Swallow?
One delusion pill: So people who investigate their own mistakes make sure there was no mistake or someone else made the mistake. Perhaps you're not biased and you will be honest about it.

The Government is likely to abolish the Inspector General of Corrective Services position The Mulawa inspection report recommendations below strictly illustrate how important he is.

Black Nexus
The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.


Chronology - A History of Australian Prisons
[Allegedly:] The events that have shaped NSW prisons - from convict days through royal commissions, to the Supermax of today. [I say allegedly because no one should trust Four Corners [Walls], why? Because they spill out the propaganda of the day for the Government, whether it be wrong or right. A government that lies and has no remorse about it.]

Parramatta Prison in 1983-84 'horrifying'


Events of what happened to me in Parramatta Men's Prison 1983-84 were horrifying. I was 22 years of age when six other girls and I were taken from Silverwater (Mullawa) training and detention Centre in Sydney NSW.

It happened when we were all woken up between 10pm and 3am and we were hand-cuffed and put into paddy wagons and moved to Parramatta Men's Prison.

We were all told nothing about the move. We weren't told why we were put into a men's prison. While we were there for seven months, we were all sexually abused by male prison officers (screws) continuously.

They would consistently come into our cells late at night and rape the women. At the same time they kept us in our cell and on drugs such as Valium, 15MC, Seripax, Lithium, just to name a few.

I'm Aboriginal. They did not touch me so they drugged me instead. It didn't work.

When meal times came, they were brought in hot. But when it was time they decided to feed us the meals were stone cold.

There is a river running down past the prison, and when it rose it burst the banks and sewerage would burst through the walls and we were made to sleep on the floor with one thin blanket or nothing.

In the mornings when the day shift came on, they would turn on the lights at 5am and wake us up twenty or so later.

There were sounds of boots as well as keys and then a loud banging of our doors. The sound of male voices saying to us "alright you sluts time to get out of bed" then a few seconds or so past and then they would open one of the cell doors not far from where I was. All I could hear was the loud murmur of "No Please". Then a few minutes past and then I could hear the slight movement of bedsprings and I knew.

What I did as they were drugging me and my meals was to get to know who was raping the women the night before by their footsteps as no one walks the same way and I coaxed them into my cell. Once close enough I'd grab them by the testicles. Be warned we are not here for you male prison officers pleasure. So if you do it again and I hear you, mark my words you "pricks" I'll get you. I have nothing to lose and you have everything to lose. So make up your mind you rapist. I'll do everything to see you never rape another female again.

There is never a day gone by when I don't think of what they did to us females while we were at Parramatta Men's Prison. And all I wanted then and still do to this day is to see justice served. As we were abused sexually, physically and mentally. We couldn't have a shower on our own without the male prison officers coming in masturbating, watching us taking our shower. Our dignity, humanity and our safety were all pushed out the window.

And it wasn't right even though it has been twenty one years since those days have passed. It is still freshly imbedded in my mind. And I regularly have flashbacks of the horror we went through.

Judge Barber in Sydney Supreme Court sentenced me to four and a half years prison for assault.

On Friday 20/7/1984, I was told to go to the reception desk. For what reason, I wasn't told and in there if you're told to do something you do it with no backchat. So I did what I was told and that was to strip off and get into the shower. When I came out, I had waiting for me a set of underclothing and a spotted black and white see through dress, no shoes.

This is I hope very helpful to you and all. What I would like to do now is see justice done.

Signed on Wednesday 5th day of March 2003 ant 4.10 pm. Debra Lee Craft.

By Debra Lee Craft posted 24 August 04

HREOC Seminar - Oppression in the US and abroad

Dr Dent will be speaking on social justice, women and prison. The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Pru Goward and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner Mr Tom Calma will be chairing the seminar.

Related:

Magistrate's prison rape comments 'inappropriate'
Social Justice advocacy group Justice Action has condemned a magistrate's comments to a drug supplier from Hay, in New South Wales. Magistrate Alan Moore told the man that he would be raped in jail. He also told the man he would be given "hot injections of heroin" if he re-offended and was sent to prison.

Prisoner's right to vote attacked again!
Prisoner's right to vote attacked again! Tell Labor not to support the bill! On the eve of the election the, [war criminal], John Howard government has rushed a new law into the Parliament which will further remove the rights of prisoners to vote.

No Legal Aid to appeal worst case?
South Australian serial killers John Bunting and Robert Wagner have lost their bid to appeal against their multiple murder convictions over the infamous 'bodies-in-the-barrels' murders because as serious as this case is they were denied a proper defence to appeal because they were not granted Legal Aid.

NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet
The New South Wales Government has introduced several initiatives to allegedly stop contraband getting into prisons they said last Friday. But under the guise of "stricter rules" the department had also introduced banning all visitors including children from using the toilet unless they terminate their visit at any NSW prison after using the toilet.

NSW Legislative Council's Inquiry on Home Detention
Submissions closed last Friday 30 July for the Legislative Council's Inquiry into Back-end Home Detention. Justice Action's submissions Justice Action opposes the use of home detention, whether front-end or back-end, as a sentencing option in our criminal justice system, [criminal law system.]

Writing to a prisoner
Writing to prisoners should be encouraged because communication is a two way street, and this gives people 'outside prison' important 'access' into prison life, often the only chance of expression for prisoners.

Toe-by-Toe: Award winning literacy program
I came across an Award winning literacy program in the UK on a recent trip, where literate prisoners teach illiterate prisoners how to read.

Bronson Blessington: PETITION
To Her Excellency the Honourable Marie Bashir, AC, Governor of New South Wales. WHEREAS, under the Royal prerogative of mercy Your Excellency has discretion to grant a pardon to a convicted offender.


Aspartame, medication and prison mental health



Justice Health and Corrective Services under 'Duty of Care' provide a lethal cocktail to its prisoners' by way of a so-called sweetener! This on its own is considered a lethal cocktail!
Now under the Mental Health Act -Tribunal prisoners injest even more of this deadly cocktail in their medication, unproven in any laboratory, and if we refuse, the Squad are called in to force their concoction into you. 

The fact 5,000 food products now to be sold via the Monsanto Company with this insidious chemical named Aspartamine and even governments, public servants!!! - allow the FDA (and Monsanto) to literally inflict these diseases on those who vote them in, to look after them? And the millions world wide literally crippled in various ways! 'Who pays both ways' Pills and sweetlow?

All Monsanto products should be labelled like 'cigarette' packets are for the sake of our children. Also all Monsanto imported grain GM Foods which government institution farms feeds livestock this cocktail and it is fed to prisoners without our knowledge and consent!!!

DR Blatlocks Book Excitotoxins: the taste that kills Healthy Press 1-800-2665.

By Anonymous Prisoner at Long Bay Hospital 3 Sept 04

Related:

Prison guards test positive for drugs
FIVE New South Wales prison guards have tested positive for drug use, including ecstasy and cannabis, in the past three weeks. NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham has also unveiled tougher screening for prison guards to clean up the service and stop corrupt guards selling drugs and phones to prisoners.



New South Wales Police Minister John Watkins says convicted child sex offenders in south-western Sydney will be monitored during a six-month trial.

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties says it is concerned that the monitoring could become a system of harassment.

The vice president of the council, David Burnie, says there is a danger that intensive monitoring could hinder attempts by offenders to reform their behaviour.

"That is the real danger, that the system just becomes a system of harassment," he said.

"That'd be our concern that after a period of time it may just degenerate into a period of harassment rather than actually a system of assessment."

Watkins says a Child Protection Watch Team will track convicted sexual predators living in the community.

He says police, corrective services officers, health professionals, and housing department workers will be on the team. He has told State Parliament that the group will review offenders' criminal histories and behaviour and make risk-assessments. Watkins says the team will take steps to protect children who are perceived to be at risk.

"They will provide an early warning system for inappropriate actions or associations or living arrangements and they will take proactive measures to prevent these criminals from re-offending," he said. "They'll ensure police are ready to pounce if the danger does increase."

In Other Developments:

Crime facts INFO: Australian Institute of Criminology 13 April 2004

A report titled Recidivism of sexual assault offenders rates, risk factors and treatment efficacy provides an overview of Australian and international research on sexual, violence and general recidivism among sex offenders.

Despite the assumption that sexual offenders are particularly prone to reoffend, reconviction rates for sex crimes are relatively low. 

Sexual offenders are similar to the general offender population in terms of their criminal histories and their sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics the report says.

"They are versatile offenders, with a large proportion having convictions for violent and 'other' offences, such as drugs or property crimes.

At the same time, they may specialise in particular types of sexual offences within their general criminal careers.

The risk of recidivism varies for different types of sex offenders, with rapists tending to be more criminally versatile than child molesters.

A retrospective study of 629 persons aged 16 years and over, who were apprehended by Victoria police on suspicion of sexual assault of adults pointed to a considerable degree of recidivistic activity between 1993 and 2001. A substantial number had been previously apprehended for violent (n=222) -and other-offences (n=348)."

" The number of sexual offences per individual was lower than for the other crime categories."

By Monitor 23 September 04

ED: Most child molesters come from families by focusing on people outside the families the children affected are less likely to believed when they say it was for instance 'my uncle Bill'.

WHY WE SHOULD OPPOSE HOME DETENTION
Surveillance is done with an electronic bracelet, which is attached to you for the length of your sentence and tracked through your phone back to central control. If you go outside the house without permission, it registers an escape. You must stay at home 24 hours a day unless you get permission to eg. work, do community hours, education. You receive phone calls at home throughout the day and night to monitor you.  
  

Related Sex Offender Links:

NSW: Rapists more criminally versatile than Paedophiles
Parents to be given paedophile details? But rapists are more criminally versatile than Paedophiles! So who let the dogs out? Police Minister John Watkins! That's who.

NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).

Vic database to track sex offenders' movements
The Sex Offenders Registration Bill is due to be tabled in Parliament later this week. Sex offenders will have to tell police if they change their names, address or work and will not be allowed to work with children.

Today Sex offenders TOMMORROW YOU!
To suggest there is a need to restrict their movement is rubbish! This is a grab for civil liberties in NSW and it offends everyone else who is free to associate because soon it could be you who is restricted or someone you know.

Gang-rape, police, disparity and the law..
The young woman and her friend have told police they met the players in Coffs Harbour on the evening after the Bulldogs played a trial match there and went back to the team's hotel with them.

Govt stands by child sex offender program
The Western Australian Government is standing by a taxpayer-funded agency that offers conditional confidentiality to child sex offenders.

Therapy key for teen sex offenders
US: One girl allegedly was raped in the boys' bathroom at Folsom High School on a warm midday in March. Another told officials the same boy, a freshman at the school, had tried to rape her days earlier in a girls' bathroom. Two other girls told investigators the boy had committed lesser sex crimes against them at school within the previous week. If true, such a pattern of escalation is worrisome, according to experts who study and treat sex offenders.

Sexual Abuse: Testimony
I'm Debbie Ingraham, and I'm an activist for Restorative Justice. I'm also a former litigant who filed an unsuccessful civil suit against a family member for incest, and a former victim advocate. I bring a 30 year personal perspective of "real life" experiences that come from living with the effects of sexual abuse.

Related Surveillance Links

Xerox workers to strike over satellite tracking plan
Over 250 Xerox workers will go on strike this morning over plans to use global positioning system technology (GPS) to track them throughout their day. Australian Services Union president Sally McManus says the proposal affects workers who repair Xerox photocopiers and other equipment in offices around Melbourne and Sydney.

Police want you to pay for their wire taps......
Ottawa — Canada's police chiefs propose a surcharge of about 25 cents on monthly telephone and Internet bills to cover the cost of tapping into the communications of terrorists, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], and other criminals, [but not war criminals?]

Blunkett to extend long arm of the law
UK: Sweeping changes to police powers were proposed by the government yesterday, with officers in England and Wales to be permitted to arrest suspects for any offence, rather than only those which attract prison sentences.

Welcome to the MatrixB
US - In what civil liberties advocates call the most massive database surveillance program in US history, the Multistate Anti-Terrorism, [scapegoat and patsy], Information Exchange, or Matrix, continues to compile billions of records on law-abiding citizens and receive federal funding, despite public outcry and suspicion.

Govt tests airport security eye scanner
Technology that identifies people by scanning their eyes could be introduced into Australian airports as early as next year.

law and order days over, says Blair
Their 3D-iD system is ideal for both stationary assets, such as large physical inventories or for mobile assets like people and portable equipment.

Fingerprints now required for US visas
United States consulates in Australia have begun taking fingerprints from Australians applying for visas.

I won't be a criminal for you!
The only looming rules are for fools giving up personal details to the Devil in the first place when visiting the US.

Putting Your Finger on the Line: Biometric Identification Technology The NSW Department of Corrective Services has progressively been implementing biometric identification technology (BIT) for use on all entrants into maximum security prisons since August 1996. It currently operates in seven prisons in NSW and is scheduled for introduction at Parklea prison later this year. BIT has raised the ire of many community agencies, the legal fraternity and government authorities. Framed examines what the controversy is all about and what the implications of this technology are.

Mossad agents Killing Oz Tourists Steal their Identity to use in terror opps
The fugitive Israeli Mossad intelligence agent Zev Barkan has been dealing with Asian criminal gangs to obtain Australian and other passports stolen from Australians Killed in Asia, a New Zealand security official has said.

The U.S. system of 'justice' is a tragic joke
US: Police abuse, and sometimes kill, innocent persons at will. Cops plant evidence, they lie, they coerce confessions and they commit perjury. Many are, simply, criminals. 




NSW Prisoners' linked to Osama Bin Laden: Ten News

NSW prisoners held in a "box within a box" with "no fresh air or sunlight" at the countries terrorist jail (HRMU) or High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre, (a super-max prison in NSW), are said to have followed Osama Bin Laden from their isolated cells.

Sources say Bin Laden issued a fatwa on an Islamic website directed at Premier Bob Carr, Justice Minister John Hatzistergos, the Un-Australian Newspaper and "seriously" Channel Ten  television. Allegedly Osama Bin Laden issued a "Fatwa" that was posted on an Islamic Website this morning. Osama Bin Laden's demands included visiting NSW prisoners' at the HRMU for Xmas!  
After a broadcast yesterday by Ten's Eyewitness News suggesting that " The prisoners were now devout Moslems who followed Osama Bin Laden".
Osama was overjoyed and could not believe that he has followers from Australia who look up to him from their hole in the ground and pray for mercy to have some form of constructive lifestyle. Some like Faheem Khalid Lodhi, and Zeky Mallah, who have not committed any crime and who have not been found guilty of committing any crime, yet remand, or a remand prison, is simply out of the question for these alleged terrorists. [? Scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East.]

Other prisoners even though they have been accused of internal disciplinary charges "not proven" because there is no charter for evidence to be relied upon to secure the allegations, by any " visiting justice or magistrate", are stuck in a tomb without any constructive lifestyle for 23 hours a day and have been treated like terrorist by the Justice Minister because, this language suits the neo-cons conspiracy theory.

This means because the "terrorist", 
[scapegoats], being the most unpopular prisoners can be given "no support "in relation to the truth being told. Have no programs or any type of constructive lifestyle, no communication or dialogue. The Department of Corrective Services only have to warehouse them for lest cost and can use these people as propaganda to suit their rhetoric in the politics of fear for the HoWARd government.

However sources say Bin Laden is coming to their rescue! Allegedly Bin Laden posted on an Islamic website this morning a fatwa.

"Fatwa, fatwa, fatwa to, Premier Bob Carr, Justice Minister John Hatzistergos, the Un-Australian Newspaper and 'seriously' channel Ten", the statement said,

"And to all those infidels in Parliament house Macquarie Street Sydney, and Parliament House Canberra for their lies and propaganda".

So these sinister prisoner/terrorist/
scapegoats, locked up in chains could be up to something? For instance they might incite other terrorists,[scapegoats], to blow up the Long Bay twin towers?

But the truth is for a long time now suspected terrorists, 
[scapegoats], and unpopular people are all treated more harshly in the NSW High Risk Management Super-max prison for terrorists, [scapegoats], mass murderers, child killers, pack rapists and unpopular people, ever since the HRMU was opened.

But now a few more keywords have been added to the "security classification" like AA will sit atop the existing classification system, which runs A1, A2, E1, B, E2, C1, C2, C3, with A levels representing maximum security, B medium, C minimum, and the E levels added for prisoners with escape histories.

"AA" = "terrorist" = "label" = "demon" = "no constructive lifestyle or programs for prisoners" and no responsibility for the Department to rehabilitate offenders while they're in jail.

Hatzistergos will introduce this classification to other state jails. That means overcrowded jails warehousing prisoners instead of rehabilitating prisoners will become the norm. 
In short "no care taken and no responsibility taken by the government who is supposed to be rehabilitating prisoners". Prisoners claimed to be a terrorist or and alleged terrorist or a suspected terrorist, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], with, [alleged], links, links and more links to an alleged terrorist, [scapegoat], can be warehoused.

Then they can become the most unpopular person by being suspected of "terror". So instead of actually being a "mass murderer, child killer or pack rapist" they can be all those monsters bundled into one, just because they're suspected of being a terrorist, 
[framed and profiled by the authorities by using draconian laws], without even committing a crime. Make sense? Makes sense to me and that also does away with the, [usual criminal court rules of evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt and the rest], cutting the cost of "annihilating your opponents" in the politics of fear mongering for warmongers like, [war criminal], Prime Minister John Howard, [and ensuring a guilty verdict, to do nothing at no place at no time, alleged thought crimes.]

The "A1" rating now reserved for those prisoners considered, 
[by war criminals], the greatest threat to community safety is to be topped by an "AA" classification imposed solely on inmates, [prisoners], with terrorist,[scapegoat], links? Terrorist links, links, links and terrorist cells, cells, cells. And they can bet it'll be all because "sources say," say, say and keep on saying it was them.

Any prisoner graded AA would be subject to even tighter security than the 113 "special high risk" inmates, 
[prisoners], classified A1?

Perhaps now prisoners will get tortured with bags over their heads and have their cloths removed? What about electric shock treatment? That will get them talking? And if that doesn't work why not use "disco sleep depravation" that is "just in case they decide to hold out on us form their box within a box with no fresh air or sunlight"?

The NSW Minister for Justice, John Hatzistergos, said prisoners who posed a special risk to national security and the good order and security of the state's prisons would be classified AA "terrorist inmates". 
[Scapegoats.]

That could be anyone of you, smiling faces out there in the community, but you won't be smiling for long after you're "chilled out at the Harm-U, all because you're suspected". As such, you would be housed only in the highest security facilities, would not have contact visits unless it was "deemed safe", and all mail not to or from a "defined exempt body" would be screened.

But this has been the case at the HRMU since its conception. All prisoner mail is interfered with and withheld, 
we have proof. All prisoners housed there are denied visits, we have proof. Even mail from exempt bodies has been grossly examined by the Corrective Services, we have proof and support groups like Justice Action's mail has been blanket banned what about that!

AA inmates, 
[prisoner/scapegoats], would have no recourse to the "official visitor" provisions available to other NSW prisoners and instead could take complaints to the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman who incidentally has no power of veto over the Corrective Services Commissioners discretionary powers for the "Good Order and Security of the prison".  

The Commissioner needs to show no proof regardless of the guilt or innocence of any prisoner whether they should be isolated for an alleged crime or for how long they should remain in isolation. All prisoners housed at the super-max prison have no recourse whatsoever!

The cabinet committee on counter-terrorism, 
[fear mongering propaganda authorities], had approved the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Amendment (Category AA Inmates) Regulation 2004 bill, which would be introduced to Parliament. [?]

But one of their reasons for doing this is because the Justice Minister and Cabinet now want to isolate and mistreat the states prisoners and make their current treatment legitimate as if they have done no wrong to date.

There is no visiting justice going into the prison and the Commissioner of Corrective Services has discretionary powers, which, the Ombudsman cannot veto. No proof about the reason why a prisoner should remain "isolated indefinitely" can be called for by the Ombudsman even though the Geneva Convention maintains isolation should be no longer than 32 hours and the fact that these prisoners are not at war with Australia?

As well as the AA level for male inmates, 
[prisoners], a new Category 5 would be introduced for female prisoners, [scapegoats], whose highest security classification has been Category 4.

"We must prepare for the future and the contingency of holding convicted terrorists in our prisons," Mr Hatzistergos said. "This new high-security regime is tougher than the conditions imposed on the state's most violent and dangerous non-terrorist inmates - for instance criminals such as 
Ivan Milat."

[Just mention the most unpopular person to get the rest of the public to agree with draconian legislation for scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing, typical of the behaviour of a government stooge.] 

But this preparation comes too late because for the prisoners who have not died in the HRMU from their treatment but have self harmed or become brain dead through mental illness have already been critically damaged by their experience. 
Hatzistergos just wants to make it legal now? But it's a bit too late to cover his tracks because we have recorded the complaints long before the legislation was even thought about!

Ten reported, "Mr Hatzistergos did not say so, but AA inmates would probably be housed at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn, known as Super Max, where A1 inmates, including 
Milat, are held?

[Typical of the media propaganda as well, to use the most unpopular person in their article to argue for the Ministers draconian laws or in this case Regulations.] 

But Hatzistergos knows so! And has even done so! For a long time prior this supposed alleged legislation/Regulation, 
so cut the crap!

According to the draft 
regulation, the Commissioner for Corrective Services, Ron Woodham, would impose an AA classification on inmates,[prisoners], "who, in the opinion of the commissioner" "with his discretionary powers" "represent a special risk to national security".

[Scapegoats or Patsies for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East, whereby the Coalition had pre war plans, committed illegal and degrading pre-emptive attacks on foreign nation states, occupations, genocide, maiming and torture of Afghanistan and Iraq. So who are the terrorists? Who represents the greatest risk to any nations National Security? War criminals like George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard!]

This is an indictment on society and the community is being told lies, half-truths and propaganda to say the very least, 
we have proof.

Hatzistergos: "For example, because of a perceived risk that they may engage in, or incite other persons to engage in, terrorist activities." 
[?]

Terrorist prisoners held in a "box within a box" with no "fresh air or sunlight" at Goulburn HRMU may incite alleged terrorists in Long Bay to blow up Long Bay's Twin Towers?

Proposed AA inmates,
 [prisoners], "should at all times be confined in special facilities within a secure physical barrier that includes towers or electronic surveillance equipment".

A segregation yard!

Mr Hatzistergos said the Department of Corrective Services had been working with "other states" to develop national guidelines for managing terrorists and suspected terrorists in custody.

"Officers from my department have closely examined the security strategies used by 
Israeli and French prison authorities," he said. "This regime represents world's best practice for dealing with terrorists in custody."

There are two inmates, 
[prisoners], in NSW charged with terrorism offences - Faheem Khalid Lodhi, accused of plotting an attack on Australia's energy supply infrastructure, and Zeky Mallah, accused of planning a suicide bombing.

By Propaganda Monster 1 November 04

Related:

ASIO, AFP, NSW POLICE, HRMU: THREAT!
COMMUNITY URGED TO RAISE THEIR THREAT LEVELS TO HIGH ALERT! ASIO, AFP, NSW POLICE, HRMU: TERROR CELLS LINKED! LET YOU BE THE JUDGE!

Justice Denied In NSW Prisons
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

BREAK AND ENTER: NSW POLICE
Police will be able to break into your home without your knowledge and no less than a common criminal not tell their victims that they are doing it.

AFP: The unlikely CRIMINAL
It was born of a bombing and it made its name after a far more devastating act of terrorism. But for most of the 25 years in between, little was known about the Australian Federal Police force or the work it did.

He was an undercover agent for the blues
He was my journalist, he was working undercover. The fellow knew all of the moves.... He really had me romping, bare footing stomping. He just kept igniting my fuse....


Prison Mind Games-Do they exist?


Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.


A prisoner from Goulburn Jail writes to Justice Action on 13/3/02.

If you open a website with the words Prison Mind Games do they exist then; your monitor will melt down.

To stop the sadistic mind eroding games which cost many lives and bashings and the screws make millions in compo and jail scams.

The Prisoner says, "They have been at me for five years. These people preach reform and in big bold print say Corrective Services and also say Rehabilitation as their main concern along with Duty of Care."

"This is a crock of shit and everyone knows it. In third world countries in Nepal, their prisoners go home so do the Irish on special occasions and special prisoner days led by Amnesty International, Human Rights and the United Nations. Even in Mexico their wives can stay for the weekend, yet we have a service of crime.

In here the fear is that you will be set up by a screw, their squads or their employed dogs (informers)."

"I challenge you to try and come and visit me and bring the media with you" says, the prisoner.

He doesn't appear to think anyone could make it.

Prisoners are hanging themselves because screws are coercing others to intimidate. Three cases I know personally, Thomas Cambell Parsons 23, in Care Unit, 1997. Jason O'Donell 29, Min# 220781, 2000. Andrew Collis Min# 303371. All hung themselves as well as other witnesses to their comments. I know one investigation was 100 percent full of lies from the screws to the cops to cover it up.

We now recognise noise as an abuse, or even torture like barking dogs, slamming doors etc. These sadistic games are killing prisoners and frustrating them to rage to hit a screw so that person can receive a large sum of money in victim's compensation.

Black Nexus

The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.

By Gregory Kable 16 April 2002


Jailed unionist thanks protesters for support

Jailed Victorian trade unionist Craig Johnston has sent a message of thanks to protesters who have called for his release.


Thousands of unionists marched through Melbourne today demanding the state Government grant clemency to the former state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

Johnston has been jailed for a minimum nine months, over his part in two resistance protests on Melbourne businesses three years ago.

Michelle O'Neill, from the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, read Johnston's message to the crowd.

"From my prison cell in Lodden, I thank you all for attending this rally," she read from the statement.

"I hope this rally is a start of the campaign to fight the Federal Government, which has decided to criminalise all your unions and union activity.

"Our challenge must be to say 'no more unionists are to go to jail'."

The Defend Craig Johnston Committee says he is a political prisoner.


By Just Us 25 November 04

Related: 

HoWARd 'determined' to make the disabled woRK?
The Federal Government is considering a system of "coercion" and incentive to force the disabled to work. But what happened to 6 billion-budget surpluses? Why do they need to force disabled people to work? Do they need more money and less disabled people? Or would they rather spend the money on WAR?

ACTU critical of proposed new workplace laws
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) believes new laws to be introduced into Federal Parliament today will incite bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Strike action threat over uni plans
Unions are threatening national strike action if the Federal Government pushes ahead with new workplace relations requirements for Australia's universities.

How Howard Won
Dr Jim Cairns the Deputy PM said in 1975 "I think it's now not possible for a government to be elected, or to remain in office, if opposed by the media complex". We have a situation in Australia where the media and the government are ideologically as one.

Building Industry Bill condemned by the community
The Community has joined the building workers in support of their condemnation of the (Capitalists) Building Industry Bill. Mr United from Justice Action a social justice group told GKCNN, "This is a blatant attack on social justice by greedy capitalists who wish to dictate and lie to workers and the community." They want to put you in jail if you don't work with crummy conditions and wages". He said.


Corrections Victoria and criminal acts: SCS-4\320 UPDATE

Mr Kelvin Anderson Commissioner
Re: Barwon Prison
Fax: (03) 96276611
Phone (03) 96276600

Re: Mr SCS-4\320

Dear Mr Anderson,


Thank you for your letter dated 5 Feb 03.

In reference to our letter to you dated 22 January 03 requesting information regarding Mr SCS-4\320.

You have stated 
"Section 30 of the Corrections Act 1986 and theInformation Privacy Act 2000restricts the release of confidential information regarding prisoners, I therefore am unable to provide any information regarding this matter."

[I therefore describe your action as above stated as a contempt to a prisoners plight and using the said legislation to cover up for your criminal acts. The legislation you have referred to was not meant to protect Corrective Services Victoria from the commission of a crime, it was meant to protect the prisoner from being exploited by Corrections Victoria.]

SCS-4\320 main health risk was that he was on a 
hunger strike since 8 January 03. We noted other concerns in our letter to you dated 22 Jan 03, including general questions like "Why is there no Welfare Officer at Barwon Prison?" I fail to see what privacy restrictions are placed on general questions about the way prisoners are treated."

Privacy for prisoner's benefit has been waived by SCS-4\320 request. The Department of Justice seems to use 
privacy as an excuse to conceal a possible crisis situation and prevent examination and public concern.

Please respond urgently with information about SCS-4\320 after you contact him if necessary.

Thanks
Gregory Kable
10 February 2003


Black Nexus

The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.

Prison Mind Games-Do they exist?

Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.


By Every Bodyknows Now 10 Feb 03


Death camps looming in Victoria


A letter was received on 15 January 03 from SCS-4\320 a remand prisoner in Victoria's Barwon Prison I later found out that the prisoner was in the Acacia High Security Unit. 


SCS-4\320 wrote thus "I have not eaten since 8 January 03 at 8:30 PM".

I am always concerned about receiving mail like this because it brings back memories for me about the last straw in custody.

I too had to resolve issues in jail, a place where it seemed that there was no dialog and little if any mercy to be found. The result for me is that 
two symbols now dominate the root of my empathy for others and they are the Heart and the StarThe stars are my brothers and sisters and the heart is mercy for them all.

The prisoner writes, "I've been held in 
virtual solitary confinement with a minimum of 23 hours in a cell. I'm only allowed 1 box visit for an hour per week. When I inquire as to why I'm being treated in this matter. I'm responded with it's a directive from Corrections Commissioner Mr. Roach.

I have since been held in prison and as I have not breached any prison regulations. I am presently on a 
Hunger Strike in protest of my treatment. As remand prisoners are not deemed to be held for punishment, merely in a means to present them to courts. I have not eaten since 8 January 03 at 8:30pm because of my treatment.

I was
 set up by police on 10 August 2000 by way of planting drugs at my premises. I proclaimed my innocents to legal representatives, Ethical Standards Department and Ombudsman. All to no-avail. "

As a caseworker at Justice Action I have a responsibility to follow these matters up. When I received the letter from the prisoner on 22 January 03, I contacted Mr Bernie Clements Governor at Barwon Prison. He stated, "The prisoner was at court today and that he did not look like he was on a hunger strike."

I was told to contact Mr Stephen Bachelor his wing officer tomorrow to confirm that the prisoner was still in prison. I ask why the prisoner was in
solitary confinement? Mr Clements, "He is in Segregation not solitary confinement."

[Which is the same but only the name has changed.]

I was told to contact Mr Kelvin Anderson Commissioner and ask him why the prisoner is being segregated 
[solitary confinement] on remand? And why the only staff I was offered, who could give me an answer about the prisoner's treatment was custodial or programs staff, because there was no Welfare Staff in the Jail.

Why is there no welfare staff? Clearly program staff and custodial staff can be influenced by "Directives". In this situation one requires independent analysis.

Alarm bells rang. Kelvin Anderson's office did not answer the fax although they rang 
Justice Action to confirm that they had in fact received the fax. I spoke to Andria.

This new idea by government departments not answering reasonable requests are offensive and dangerous. Our request for answers fell on deaf ears.

Public Servants are there to serve and Commissioner Anderson has not offered any accountability or taken any responsibility in relation to his lack of transparency.

Shortly thereafter I was informed that 
men's prisons in Victoria don't have an independent Welfare Officer. Perhaps that goes hand in hand with no responsible answers from Kelvin Anderson.

I would have preferred at the very least a written letter from the prisoner telling me that he has resolved his problem and is no longer on a hunger strike. When people lack information and understanding about their predicament they lose faith and take drastic action because of the trauma they are suffering.

Black Nexus

The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.

Prison Mind Games-Do they exist?

Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.


By Noone Knows Yet 4 February 03

THE EGG: Can somebody in Victoria talk to SCS-4\320? Remains to be seen. Why is a remand prisoner in solitary confinement? Did police ensure this to cover up their alleged planting of drugs on the accused premises? Perhaps so! Solitary confinement is used to blacken the names of people framed for crimes by police in NSW!

Related:

Jail search finds knives, syringes
Mr Brett Collins a spokesperson for Justice Action said, "It shows there is a lot of desperation in the prison system at the moment and has been for some time."

Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group'
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*Ricky Morris* 29/10/2005-18 Years Later "Thinking Of You And Missing You" Gone But Never Forgotten.


It all started back in May-05 when I decided to do a website on the memory of my brother 'Ricky' and that's when it all began for myself a journey I never imagined. From that date forward to this I have received a lot of information and spoken to all sorts of people from high up to general people whom either knew nothing or some that knew it all. 

Today I still speak to a few who have supported me through this journey, without them I'm not sure where I would be today with all of this. Some say "go get them Cheryle" some just show there sympathy for all that has happened and wish me well with it all.

Its been a hard road after 18yrs, I bring all this memory up for some people and for myself I learn the truth about my brothers death, hard yes, heartbreaking yes, pissed off yes, lots of looking back at the early days when Ricky was inside I use to think "what could I have done to make it all different"?

And there has been lots of "If only I did this or done that" but as I have learnt now I cannot blame myself for the time I couldn't be there for him. Lots of issue's raised their ugly heads but I have had to deal with them one by one during this time. I after all this time can see a bit clearer and now all I can say is I have to move forward and fight for what Ricky would have wanted and get out of my sad-anger stage.

Grieving is one of the hardest things I've have had to go through and in this case really hard as a lot of things didn't add up, corruption within the system, so many lies and yet still looking for answers to all of this shit. I guess I have received the answers but they weren't the ones I was looking for.

When I started all this I went full forward and not to mention at high speed. I contacted so many people and received so much information it was a great help, but some wouldn't tell as they are still in the system today, although a couple gave me some info that was enlightening. A few that were on the inside at the time contacted me and either sent their wishes whilst others just bragged about there time there and it followed with the typical macho stuff, some I contacted were rude and didn't want any part of it (this showed me who the real dogs were).

I came to accept that it was a hard thing to drag up after so long and to some it was an horrific time and their avoidance in this matter was okay to be left until - if they ever felt comfortable to get back to me with anything, I wont hold my breath.

3 months into this I went bang and hit a wall I was so full of anger and hatred towards the system it wasn't a nice feeling. I was so angry with Robert Wright for starting the protest, I was so sad and in pain as I learnt what my brother had been going through and had been through whilst on the inside... Dirty mongrel screws I hope they suffer today for what they had done back then. I say this to the negative ones who were actually in the unit on the day but then again I say it to any screw who mistreated any prisoners back in the Pentridge, Jika-Jika days "any prison actually".

As sad as it is there were some that had committed suicide or became drunks or just left the system after the Fires back in "87". Those who were there and played their part the best they could no longer stand that dreaded day, tormenting their head. Along another line I have learnt that not all are the same, there a few and far between whom really did the job.

On a positive note, some were around but they had to keep their mouth shut in order to keep their jobs, a few have said to me "it should not have happened Ricky shouldn't have been in such a unit" but as usual there is always one story after another, lies-truth-fear-regret-and lots of sorry's.

Somehow I will get the summary of the 'coroners inquest' files added to my site for all to read if you haven't read it yet. I need to do it in a PDF file this I will do, just not sure when.

I have done a few pages of a journal from prisoners that they did back in '88'. Oh, and there is some truth in that. Once completed, I have 7 pages to type out and shall add it to my site as well.

It's been a difficult past 6 months for me, as a person who suffers with depression I could only imagine what I have endured with all of this. Thank you to all who have supported me and whom are still here with me today to help me get to the end of my journey. Credits are in my thank you page.

Where am I going with it all? Well after having a meeting with a fellow friend whom is going to help me and contacts he has, *we have a plan* its going to take a bit and a few walls to break through. The system can forget that day as much as they want but hey "I WONT!"

The day it will all come alive will be the 29-10-07, this will be the 20yr anniversary.

Please be sure to drop in to my guest book and remember all those who lost their life on this day back in '87'. For Ricky he never got to spend his 18th birthday outside so please help me by acknowledging him on Saturday 29th October for the 18th yr of his death.

Time of deaths 4.15 to 4.35... R.I.P

I will be adding more please keep checking back or send me your email addy and I'll inform you of updates as they come..

Pentridge Memorial

It all started back in May-05 when i decided to do a website on the memory of my brother 'Ricky' and that's when it all began for myself a journey i never imagined. From that date forward to this i have received a lot of information and spoken to all sorts of people from high up to general people whom either knew nothing or some that knew it all. Today i still speak to few who have supported me through this journey, without them i'm not sure where i would be today with all of this. Some say "go get them Cheryle" some just show there sympathy for all that has happened and wish me well with it all.

By Cheryle M posted 31 October 05

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MISTREATED IN CUSTODY - NO ACCOUNTABILTY
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ICOPA XI International Conference on Penal Abolition
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Chronology - A History of Australian Prisons
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If non-expert appraisals of 'normal behavior' can be condoned, it nonetheless has to be the case that the behavior under scrutiny takes place in a 'normal' environment, in which a human being can be expected to function normally. 

The case of Garry Ian David


Neither Bad Nor Mad tells the story of Garry David, a convicted Australian murderer who became famous by sending out threats to the public and descriptions of his extreme self-mutilations to news papers while incarcerated.

[For no reason at all? He wasn't treated badly in prison? How about the prison conditions? How about say, indefinite solitary confinement? Would that have caused the prisoners frustration and anger?]

This very public figure posed the government a serious problem, he was deemed dangerous, but could not be diagnosed 'mentally ill' and thus could not be detained for longer than his actual crimes (as opposed to acts of self-mutilation, and general threats reported by newspapers) 
[allegedly ?], deserved.

[You see acts of self-mutilation come from somewhere, they don't just appear out of nowhere, they usually appear because of bad treatment and things like solitary confinement.]

Greig recounts how psychiatrists, lawyers, judges and politicians juggled with medical facts, the criminal justice law, [criminal law], and perceptions of the 'normal person' in order to find a satisfactory way of dealing with Garry David, and how they spectacularly failed to do so.

Garry David was diagnosed as suffering from personality disorders, but psychiatrists would not commit themselves to a diagnosis of mental illness, 
he was thus not considered eligible for being held in a psychiatric hospital. 

Greig's depiction of the psychiatric aspect of the Garry David story, is of a long file of psychiatric doctors and hospital nurses each in turn puzzled and horrified by David's manipulative and extreme personality, 
but still firmly convinced that he was not mad.

The fact that there were many attempts at diagnosis reveals a keen interest in being able to label him with a recognized psychiatric illness. This itself would appear in part to confirm a claim made by Thomas Szasz, for example in his Cruel Compassion, 
that mental illness is a category used to repress the disturbing elements of society, a license to put away criminals for periods much longer than are warranted by their crime.

Greig makes it clear that the perception of Garry David's dangerousness was increased by the fact that he came to the public eye, 
[or  was used for political posturing?] during a period where two large-scale massacres took place. So there was more pressure both to keep him locked up and to label him as mad (as the perpetrators of the massacres were both diagnosed as suffering from mental illness).

The government's response to Garry David, was quite simply, to create a law just for him, the Community protection act, which would license keeping him in jail on the basis of assessed 'dangerousness', even if he could not be institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital.

There are some serious philosophical objections to policy making which has as its object a particular situation. For example, following Rousseau (On Social Contract, Book II, chapter 6), because the law is the expression of the general will, it cannot be framed by the particular. The particular can only come in at the point at which the law is executed, not when it is being formulated.

Anything else is both a misuse of the law and unfair to the person or persons against whom the law is being made. 
Garry David seems to have had a keen awareness of this unfairness. This is apparent in a reported dialogue between a high court judge and David in which David explains that he will not co-operate, even if it means ruling out his chances of an earlier release, on the grounds that the law which is being proposed in order to lengthen his sentence is unjust (pp.198-199).

The government's attempts at dealing with Garry David in this way, thus seems to have exacerbated the situation further. Greig also spends some time relating 
how the public's perception of David as'abnormal' played a role in the proceedings. 

When Greig refers to the 'normal person's perception of madness and dangerousness, it seems that she's referring to one of the epigraphs of Chapter III, a quotation from Berlin:

"If I find a man to whom it literally makes no difference whether he kicks a pebble or kills his family, since either would be an antidote to ennui or inactivity, I shall not be disposed... to attribute to him merely a different code of morality to my own or that of most men, or declare that we disagree on essentials, 
but shall begin to speak of insanity..." p.76.

[What of David's prison life? If he was mistreated into having no care about a world that did not care? Then only retribution would prevail?]

Greig's strategy seems to be to denigrate this propensity to non-expert diagnosis of insanity. However, it strikes me both that what Berlin says is right in an important way, there is a moral norm of human behavior, and one does not need to be an expert to notice that somebody is way off that norm, but also that Berlin's point doesn't seem to be applicable in this case.

If non-expert appraisals of 'normal behavior' can be condoned, it nonetheless has to be the case that the behavior under scrutiny takes place in a 'normal' environment, in which a human being can be expected to function normally. 


However, as Greig herself points out, 
prisons are not a normal environment. Prison life is such that many inmates, [prisoners], do in fact commit acts of self-mutilation, [? prison conditions that cause self harm], that they do exhibit personality disorders, [? mental problems and, personality disorders with authorities who are torturing them], more than people outside prison do, and that those disorders are exacerbated.

In this light, it seems wrong, [? it is wrong], to qualify David's mutilations as abnormal. Many people in the same situation act in the same way.

Garry David was different because he publicized his acts. 
[? Reflecting his mistreatment.], Again, threats against the police and the public (i.e. those he actually made - Greig explains how some newspaper reported false threats) are probably not unusual amongst prisoners, but Garry David was confident and articulate enough to make these threats to newspapers.

On the whole, the emerging portrait of Garry David from Greig's book is of a person who is not devoid of sense, who is creative, and who is extremely aware of the 'abnormality' of his life in prison, and of the social injustices that contributed to him being there in the first place.

He also seemed to be very keen to publicize his views on social justice, albeit in a sometimes violent or threatening manner. At the same time he was clearly very disturbing. He would not settle to prison life, and prevented others from doing so. He would not submit to any kind of mental health care. He performed horrendous mutilations upon himself and did not allow them to be healed. He made frightening statements to the press.

Greig draws the following conclusion from her many observations. First that it is imperative to ascertain the reasons for policy shift, especially when making laws that threaten civil rights.

Second that there is at present no clear boundary between 'mad' and 'bad' and that we had better be careful how we use psychiatry in conjunction with the criminal justice law, [criminal law.]

There are also conclusions she does not draw, perhaps because they would not follow smoothly from her careful and well-researched argument.
The first is that prison conditions are clearly unacceptable, and unconducive to 'normal' behavior. If the general public had been better aware of prison life, it would have been less eager to label Garry David as a madman.

The second conclusion is that even though society shouldn't condone the systematic moral revolt of all those it punishes, it is to be expected that once in a while an individual will take it upon himself or herself to denounce some aspects of society.

Society's response, it seems, should be then a little more sophisticated than shuffling of policies and classifications. When the only actual acts of violence committed by Garry David as part of his protest were directed against himself, society should have been prepared to listen to his complaints, and show willingness to address some of them.

© Sandrine Berges 2004, Sandrine Berges is a member of the Department of International Relations, University of Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey

Posted by Susan Cairns and edited by Gregory Kable April 7 04

Labels: 2004australiacorporate-mediadangerousnessjudgeslawyersmental-healthpoliticians,prison-treatmentprisons-and-punishmentpsychiatryself-harmsolitary-confinementvic

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“Patients under state control have had their social interaction reduced, and right to smoke removed. These vulnerable and isolated citizens, to whom the state owes a special obligation, are extremely distressed and have asked for community assistance,” said JA spokesperson Michael Poynder.

International Conference on Penal Abolition
The full agenda for ICOPA is now online, and pending any further changes, the line-up is looking like we're going to have a fascinating conference. With speakers coming to present papers from Brazil, Trinidad, Canada, Australia, USA, Belgium, Argentina, South Africa plus many more including the UK, we are really looking at a truly international conference.

We owe prisoners more than jail
Prisons are too important to be left to jailers, for the simple reason that the standard prison magnifies social problems. It is a congregation of people with an accumu–lation of risk factors for crime.

Haneef inquiry could be waste of time and money: lawyer

The lawyer for former Gold Coast [scapegoat] terrorism suspect Dr Mohamed Haneef says he is worried a Government-ordered inquiry into the case will be a waste of time and money.

Push for overhaul of laws on terrorism
Anti-terrorism laws are just 'state sanctioned terrorism' aimed at 'innocent people' and using them as 'scapegoats' for Australia's 'alleged war on terror'. These laws were meant to project 'fear' in the community that we somehow need to be protected so that the government can wage war on innocent people for resources around the world unchallenged.

Hicks media gag order ends
As part of the deal, he was also banned from speaking to the media after his release in December 2007.

Habib mistreated but not in Aussie embassy
There was little doubt that Mamdouh Habib was badly mistreated after he was detained by Pakistani and US authorities in the wake of the September 11 attacks and no doubt whatsoever that he was taken to Egypt against his will, a Federal Court judge has found.

Jail staff sexual assaults and drugs
NSW Prison staff have been accused of attacking and sexually assaulting 38 NSW inmates in the past year, new figures show.

Inquest into the death in custody of Scott Simpson
On the first day of the inquest into the death of a prisoner Scott Simpson, then 36, who was found hanging in his segregation cell [solitary confinement cell] at Long Bay jail in 12-wing area 2, at approximately 8.45 pm on 7 June 2004, the court heard evidence that there was a bureaucratic problem that may have led to his death.

Workers exploit NSW prisons: Daily Terror?
A WARNING that 'workers' and in this case a Muslim 'preacher' allegedly disguised as sleepers may have been 'planted' inside NSW jails as 'workers' with 'access to prisoners' was ignored by the State Government for more than four years says, the daily terror.

The journalist who's facing gaol for talking to a prisoner
BRISBANE: Journalist and documentary-maker Anne Delaney would probably rather be working on her latest project than sitting in the Inala magistrate's court, facing a possible two year stretch in a Queensland gaol.

Pentridge Prison Memorial
*Ricky Morris* 29/10/2005-18 Years Later "Thinking Of You And Missing You" Gone But Never Forgotten. It all started back in May-05 when I decided to do a website on the memory of my brother 'Ricky' and that's when it all began for myself a journey I never imagined. From that date forward to this I have received a lot of information and spoken to all sorts of people from high up to general people whom either knew nothing or some that knew it all.

Darwin prison riot threat alert
PRISONERS threatened to riot at Darwin jail after complaining about overcrowding and the quality of food, it was learnt yesterday.

New rules in Goulburn prison
The following outline is provided as a guide to ensure a consistent and effective approach in dealing with charges and applying sanctions applicable to failed urine tests.

Custody as the challenge to corrections
Despite their problematic nature, however, recidivism figures do not suggest that the prison component of a sentence improves prospects for deterrence or rehabilitation, by comparison with other sentencing options.

'A Nice Day Out' From Risdon Prison
Arranged for maximum-security prisoner 43637 Trustrum, Thomas Edward, by Justice Pierre W Slicer, Tasmania's Supreme Court human-rights an social-justice crusader.

NEW INDEPENDENT RISDON PRISON REPORT
Justice Action and Prison Action & Reform are not satisfied with the review and will present an independent report to Parliament in August, based upon interviews with prisoners, prison staff and concerned community members.

The reason the Richmond recommendations failed
The reason the Richmond recommendations failed is because the supported community accommodation and therapeutic programs that were envisaged as replacing the nut houses were never funded, unlike in the Scandinavian countries Richmond studied during his inquiry and which have had a very successful experience of psychiatric deinstitutionalisation.

Prisoner total rises 15% in six years
England and Wales are continuing to jail offenders at a higher rate than any other major country in western Europe, it emerged today. New research indicates that the government's use of prison as its main tool of penal policy has increased by 15% since 1999.

Adler punished for being in prison
NSW: Sydney businessman Rodney Adler has been transferred to a higher-security prison as punishment for allegedly attempting to conduct business activities from jail even though people are sent to prison for punishment not to be punished?

Department of Corrective Services fails to rehabilitate offenders
NSW: Unpopular people will be forced to wear tracking devices at a cost of $5,000 dollars per unit because the NSW Department of Corrective Services failed to rehabilitate those offenders at a cost of $65,000 a year while they were held in custody for many years.

Prison Action & Reform challenge the Attorney General
Members of Prison Action & Reform are furious with the latest lies from the Attorney General -- Judy Jackson, and demand that she produce evidence to support her ludicrous claims.

Association for the Prevention of Torture
The Optional Protocol requires 20 ratifications to enter into force. All States Parties to the UN Convention against Torture should seriously consider ratifying the OPCAT as soon as possible. National Institutions and others promoting the human rights of people deprived of their liberty need to be informed of their potential role as national preventive mechanisms under the OPCAT.


MISTREATED IN CUSTODY - NO ACCOUNTABILTY
I was in custody in NSW six weeks ago, and was a victim of an aggravated assault incited by a prison officer. Despite this happening in front of many witnesses, including correctional services officers and other detainees, and under mandatory video surveillance, a formal complaint to the NSW Commissioner of Corrective Services an his Professional Conduct Management Committee only revealed that as far as they were concerned, this didn't happen.

ICOPA XI International Conference on Penal Abolition
We are excited to announce that ICOPA X1, the eleventh International Conference on Penal Abolition will happen in Tasmania, Australia from February 9 - 11,2006. Please pass this onto all networks.

Ex-Prisoner Locked Out of Prison
The NSW Department of Corrective Services (DCS) has revealed a policy which bans ex-prisoners from entering prisons.

Justice Action: Access to our community
NSW: Justice Action went to the NSW Supreme Court before the last Federal election on the constitutional right for prisoners to receive information for their vote. The government avoided the hearing by bringing prisoners' mobile polling booths forward. We pursued it after the election. This is the report.

Risdon prisoners' seize prison to protest mistreatment
Apparently one prisoner had been mistreated and held in isolation in an SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) [Solitary Confinement] because, he'd had and altercation with a screw. SHUs cause severe mental harm - regarded as torture - and are a cruel, inhumane and degrading way to keep prisoners.

No Safe Place
In a brief four month span from August 1999, five men died in Tasmania's Risdon prison. Their deaths have put the state's corrections system in the dock and led to the planned demolition of a jail which even the State's Attorney-General now calls an "appalling facility".

MORE PRISONERS LOCKDOWNS HAVE OFFICERS ON EDGE
NSW POLICE Commissioner Ken Moroney has issued an ultimatum as well, to the lawless youths holding Sydney's streets to ransom?: Learn some respect or face jail?

Tough line on crime fills jails
The tough law-and-order policies of governments around the nation are behind an explosion in the prison population by almost 80 per cent in the past two decades.

FAMILIES OF PRISONERS FORUM
14,500 children in NSW go to bed each night with a parent in prison!

LEGAL VISITS AT PARKLEA PRISON
I am a prisoner in NSW and I am currently held in Parklea Prison. I am concerned about what is going on in NSW prisons and this is my story.

Parklea Prison: No calls for six days
The last calls that were made out of Parklea Correctional Complex by my partner, an inmate in remand at Parklea, was on Wednesday 2 February. The phone lines for the inmates have been out of service to this date.

Prison visits in crisis in NSW
The reason I am writing today is to address a difficult situation that my husband and my family are going through. My husband is currently serving a sentence at Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

Prison boom will prove a social bust
Hardened criminals are not filling NSW's prisons - the mentally ill and socially disadvantaged are, writes Eileen Baldry.

The prison system requires assiduous oversight
As NSW Attorney General Bob Debus noted in 1996: "The kinds of complaints which occur in the system may seem trivial to outsiders but in the superheated world of the prison, such issues can produce explosive results."

Where the Norm is Not the Norm: HARM-U
In the absence of public policy, this paper is an attempt to shine a light through the rhetoric and test for coherency in the policy and function of NSW’s only supermax prison, the High Risk Management Unit. Its present use will be compared with the ‘vision’ flogged by the Premier and the Department of Corrective Services (the Department) at its inception in 2001.

Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

People: 'Prisoners' of Drugs'
People who are addicted to heroin usually take the drug because it relieves them of problems such as low self-esteem, distrust and fear of abandonment. They may have poor communication skills & poor relationship skills.

Justice Denied In NSW Corrective Services
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

Prison guards test positive for drugs
NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet The visit is only for about one hour and any thing less than that is an insult. If it's proved that a visitor has broken the rules the punishment should apply to them. But collective punishment on all visitors should not be made general when others haven't broken the rules especially if it restricts all visitors from normal human needs like using a toilet.

NSW PRISON CORRUPTION AT THE HRMU
The HRMU has caused serious self-harm an mental illness [to] the prisoners themselves, who cannot adjust to the sensory deprivation like Katingal, which was heavily criticised by Justice Nagle's 1978 royal commission. An air vent with no fresh air or natural light. The prisoners complain of being cold and hungry. There is minimal human contact.

The Daily Telegraph licensed to set up prisoners?
A man who smuggled a mobile phone into a Sydney jail and took pictures of stockbroker Rene Rivkin has been sentenced to 400 hours of community service.

International Prisoners Justice Day 2003
Justice Action, Prisoners Action Group and others celebrated this year's IPJD by visiting Silverwater Jail Complex and talking to the visitors as they went in and came out. We handed out copies of the media release and Framed to the visitors (who took them inside!) and showed our support for prisoners and their families, talking through the loud hailer so prisoners inside would be aware of our presence.

Weak NSW Government suspends Innocence Panel
The DNA evidence panel is under investigation and the New South Wales Innocence Panel's operations have been suspended and a review of how it works ordered.

Is Prison Obsolete?
Eileen is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work UNSW where she teaches and researches in the areas of social policy and social development. She has been the chief researcher, and has also collaborated on projects and publications regarding prisons, the criminal justice system and women, public and social housing and indigenous matters. She has recently completed major research on ex-prisoners, accommodation and social reintegration. Eileen has been active in using research to argue for policy change in the NSW criminal justice field for some years.

Escape proof but not so the prisoners mind
Fewer prisoners escape from prison these days because they're "cemented in" by materials that do not break and by legislation that can keep prisoners in jail until they die. All new prisons are virtually unbreakable. Built out of products like perspex, concrete and steel that have no flexibility and ensure that the prisoners of today take the full brunt of all Department of Corrective Services institutional failures.

Researching post-release options for Indigenous women exiting Australian prisons :HREOC The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is researching post-release options for Indigenous women exiting Australian prisons. We are particularly interested in examining the accommodation options available to women upon their release from prison.

Parents on the inside leave children on the edge
They have been dubbed the forgotten generation - the innocent casualties of their parents' crimes. New research shows that in 2001 14,500 NSW children had a parent in jail. And 60,000 NSW children under 16 have experienced the incarceration of a parent, more than half enduring the trauma of separation before they turn five.

New video to create empathy in violent criminals?
Violent offenders in New South Wales prisons will be the audience for a new video put together by the victims of crime group, Enough is Enough, but nothing from the ex-prisoners, support groups, like Justice Action, because they don't rate?

Junee Prison, NSW Parliament and Noble Cause Corruption
I have not been charged with any offence. The first thing I knew was when they (the Intel officer) at Junee had me called to reception. I was then told that I was going to segregation for good order and discipline.

Beyond Bars: Sentencing reform
A spokesperson Dr Tim Anderson said, " The law reform commission was too gutless on this a few years back but re-introducing remissions (perhaps under another name) would be a valuable move best wishes".

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released the National Deaths in Custody Program annual report for 2002 Between January and December 2002, there was a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. There were 50 deaths in prison custody and 19 deaths in police custody and custody-related police operations.

Inspector General of Corrective Services Debate
Below is our response to Justice Minister Hatzistergos' comments in a debate in Parliament on July 2, 2003 regarding the impending decision about the future of the Inspector General of Corrective Services in NSW.

Hatzistergos: The Daily Telegraph's prison mates
Who convinced a prisoner on periodic detention to take a mobile phone into prison to take a photo of Rene Rivkin? The prisoner said no and contacted the Daily Terror to say no.

PRISONERS OFFER OF RECONCILIATION
Premier Bob Carr, Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge, Senator Aden Ridgeway, and other community representatives have been invited to receive the message from the men of "The Hole.

Goulburn Solitary Confinement: Midnight Special
If you ever go to Goulburn HRMU yeah, you better walk right, you'd better not breathe and sure thing better not fight. The next thing you know the SCU gonna arrest you and Rotten Ron send you down and you can bet your bottom dollar Lord, you'll be chaingang bound.

Carr defends prison handling of political PRISONER
Bob Carr should be ashamed of himself after giving the prisons Commissioner Rotten Ron Woodham another filthy job setting up Phuong Ngo as one of the most dangerous prisoners in the State.

DCS: Protection gangs? - Ngo exploited in prison
New South Wales prison officials claim to have disbanded a gang in the Lithgow jail set up to protect convicted murderer, Phuong Ngo.

How the QLD Dangerous Prisoners Act failed the first test
What is dangerous? Everyone is dangerous naturally it really depends on how far a person is pushed. Standing on a mountaintop with someone walking you backwoods towards the edge would promote fight or flight and if there is nowhere to fly but over the edge you may choose to respond. When a person breaks the law they lack social skills or are repressed into breaking the law.

Prison rehab programs in 'disarray': Opp
The New South Wales Opposition says rehabilitation in the state's prisons is in disarray. But the states prisons could never rehabilitate in the first place. So how can it be in disarray? The space station as it is known cannot rehabilitate because it's only a dot on the community map, as it were, in relation to how people were raised.

SENTENCING RIVKIN: BRAIN SURGERY OR SUICIDE?
A proper Sentencing Council, such as the one proposed by the Carr Government, would not have sent Rene Rivkin to jail, locked up as a slave in a box.

RESPONSE TO REVIEW OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OF PRISONS
Justice Action calls for the retention of the office of Inspector General and a restructure of the legislation making it truly independent.

Rene Rivkin: Beam me down Scottie! - We gotta get out of this space At best a prison is only a Space Station. Nothing more nothing less and it doesn't matter how much money or resources are spent on prisons they're only a candle light for human growth and survival, opposed to the sunshine and the benefit and resources of the whole community.

Old bureaucrats to say whether they felt there should be an effective inspector of bureaucrats?
JA is urgently working on a response to the 31 page review of the position of the Inspector General of Corrective Services position released by the Minister on10/6/03.

High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) INSPECTION
This letter is to request permission for an independent inspection team to examine the 75-cell HRMU at Goulburn Jail. The proposed inspection team consists of specialist doctors, jurists, members of the Corrections Health Service Consumer Council and prisoners representatives.

MJA - BBCD Outbreaks in NSW prisons
Seems some of our friends in & around Corrections Health Service (CHS) were able to take advantage of a couple of recognised cases of needle sharing by HIV positive prisoners to gather data for a study.

Intractables
As an ex-Grafton intractable (1971-1975) and the only living ex-prisoner to have served the longest time inside Katingal (1975-1978) I feel qualified to offer the following personal observations:

Intolerable Conditions of Prisoners at Goulburn's HRMU
We wish to with respect, level a serious complaint against the Chief Executive Officer, Corrections Health Services, Dr Richard Matthews.

SIX YEARS IN HELL - The Sorry Saga of Ivan Robert Milat
This month, May 2003, Ivan Milat will have spent six years in segregation/isolation without any charges, enquiry, or breach of prison rules levelled against him.

NSW death in custody, false imprisonment, and assault
Knight's case sparked headlines after it emerged that his suicide in John Moroney Correctional Centre [prison] in Sydney on January 22 occurred 18 days after his official release date.

Victorian (Australia) Juvenile Deaths in Custody & Post-Release has just been published on the British Journal of Medicine Quotes (BJM): "The risk of death was nine times higher in male offenders than in the reference Victorian male population. Although the estimate is unstable because of the small number of deaths, female offenders seemed to be about 40 times more likely to die than the reference Victorian female population."

The Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 Qld
The Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 (Qld), requires that any person who has committed an offence which is less than 10 years old or which resulted in a prison sentence of more than 30 months, must disclose that offence if requested eg. for employment purposes. If a criminal record is disclosed in a job application, it is unlikely that person will be given the job.

NSW Serious Offenders Review Council
In response to a letter we have received from Mr K C who has said that he is serving 24 years and 10 months commencing on 29/8/1991 with his earliest release date being 28/6/2016 with 4 years parole and full time 28/6/2020. He said that he contacted the Serious Offenders Review Council in writing but received no response.


Token Parole Board reforms silent on Govt bungle
The Carr governments token reforms of the Parole Board are minimalist and still fail to explain the election cover-up of mismanagement, which contributed to an inmate's [a prisoners] death.

PAROLE BOARD REWARDED? FOR DEADLY MISTAKE
The Justice Minister has released government reforms to the Parole Board following the death of an aboriginal inmate, which was due to a Parole Board error.

Sentencing innovation breaks vicious circle of jail terms
"Three months' jail for one punch in a pub fight is too much," said the victim. The victim's comment counted because he and the offender, Robert Bolt, a Nowra Aborigine, were making history in the first case of circle sentencing, a new way of deciding punishment for indigenous offenders.

Letter from the mother of a prisoner on remand at the High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre I am writing to give you permission to make any inquiries on my behalf as I am invalid pensioner who doesn't drive and been only well enough to travel by train once in 15 months to see my son Scott Simpson. I have enclosed a copy of Scott's letter and also a copy of gaol papers form I have to fill out and wait to see if I'm allowed in to see him. He doesn't get any visits. He is in the Supermax and deprived of any privileges not even legal Aid will fund a solicitor to see him in Goulburn.

WA Jail trade in 'sex for favours'
THE West Australian Government has ordered an inquiry into claims guards at Perth's main women's prison are trading favours for sex, and encouraging inmates to form lesbian relationships.


Yes Minister: 'Justice Action meets John Hatzistergos Justice Mininster' We have taken a few days to pass this on, as we wanted clarification of the minister's statement about the purposes of imprisonment before publishing it.

Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues
There are certainly problems with the IG's terms of reference and the position is not nearly as strong as it should or could be but it should not be lost it should be strengthened (along the lines of the UK IG of Prisons) to provide an independent voice to the Parliament regarding activities and processes that otherwise happen behind prison walls.

Submissions for Review of Inspector General
There is a very serious attack happening on the office of the NSW Inspector General of Corrective Services. A secret and flawed review is taking place at this moment, and we call upon all individuals and organisations interested in the area to make their views known.

Two thirds of a billion dollars and DCS can't work out what authority they have? "Two thirds of a billion dollars of taxpayers money and the Department of Corrective Services can't work out what authority they have to hold the people who are in jail."

Australia: Private Prisons, Junee NSW
When I got to Junee I was given nothing except bed linen. That's it! No clothing. I had to put my name down for clothing, which they said I could get on Saturday. When I went down to get my clothing on Saturday I was told they had nothing but I was told that I could buy what I wanted on their monthly buy-up. In the mean time I got rashes between my legs from the dirty clothes I had on.

Justice Action meets with new Minister for Justice
John Hatzistergos Minister for Justice is meeting with Brett Collins and Justice Action today at 11:30 a.m.

ARUNTA PHONE SYSTEM: IDC Lithgow Prison
The prisoners of Lithgow Correctional Centre have requested that the Lithgow Inmate Development Committee write to you on their behalf and ask that the phone systems heavy burden upon the prisoners at this institution and their families be reviewed. I will outline the problems.

Health problems denied in prison
Lithgow Correctional Centre (IDC) Inmate Development Committee "Currently there are 72 inmates on the doctors waiting list with only one doctor coming fortnightly and usually on a weekend".

NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).

THE GULAG TREATMENT - The Trauma Of Court Appearances When Incarcerated Prisoner transport vehicle 10th January 2003 It's about 4.40am, very darkoutside and although I'm expecting it, it is still intrusive when my dreams are interrupted by the sound of my name, it is the officer checking that I'm awake ready to face the long day ahead.

Inspector General Ignored On Womens Prison
Four months after a report from the Inspector General on Mulawa Correctional Centre, key recommendations involving safety and welfare of prisoners and staff have been ignored. Kathryn Armstrong (former chair of Inmate Development Committee) and Annabel Walsh, released from Mulawa Womens Prison in February, have produced an independent report confirming the findings of the Inspector General.

Distribution of: 'How to Votes in prisons'?
Justice Action have received information from Andrew Burke of the NSW Greens that they have enquired with the Department of Corrective Services as to the procedure for distributing their How To Votes in prisons in the period before the election.

Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions
Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:

NSW ELECTION 2003: VOTE 1 GREENS
Inspector-General: The Greens believe that the role of the Inspector-General is crucial to the proper functioning of the prison system. It has never been more important to have a powerful watchdog role than today. Section 3.11 of our Criminal Justice Policy commits the Greens to "strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Prisons."

Long Bay Prison: The latest inside story
Private food purchases called Buy-Ups that normally take care of the prisoners additional food nutrition in Jail has been changed.

Doing time even harder: 146 prisoners far from home
The United States, however, has detained without trial about 650 men from 43 countries. They include Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of the sweep against global terrorism [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's, pre-emptive strikes, occupation and genocide for resources in the Middle East.]

Human Rights 'Framed'
Here is a quick report on our Human Rights Commission approach on Framed (the quarterly magazine of Justice Action) being banned from all NSW prisons. After 42 issues went in.

Prison Privatisation: Death camps looming in NSW
I asked for the identification of the person I was speaking to and was told that I was not entitled to that information. I needed to verify the call and asked for a name or number to register my call because I was asked to get those details by my coordinator.The person refused to identify themselves either by name or number. I asked to be transferred to a senior person and was refused. The person I spoke to then hung up the phone.

NSW education professor warns further commitment needed
The author of a report on the New South Wales education system has urged the major political parties to do more for education in the election campaign.

Corrections Victoria and criminal acts: SCS-4\320 UPDATE
You have stated "Section 30 of the Corrections Act 1986 and the Information Privacy Act 2000, restricts the release of confidential information regarding prisoners, I therefore am unable to provide any information regarding this matter."

Death camps looming in Victoria
A letter was received on 15 January 03 from SCS-4\320 a remand prisoner in Victoria's Barwon Prison I later found out that the prisoner was in the Acacia High Security Unit.

Jail search finds knives, syringes
Mr Brett Collins a spokesperson for Justice Action said, "It shows there is a lot of desperation in the prison system at the moment and has been for some time."

Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group'
A coalition of academics, crime experts, welfare and church groups is preparing to launch an intensive pre-election campaign aimed at refocusing the attention of NSW politicians from harsh sentencing reforms to crime prevention strategies.

Six weeks, six months, six years: inmates have little chance of making fresh start More than 15,500 people are released from NSW prisons each year, twice the number of 20 years ago. But new research shows many ex-prisoners find it impossible to reintegrate into society and, months after release, are worse off than before they went to jail.

NSW A-G moves to stop criminals and ex-criminals selling stories
From next month criminals or ex-criminals who try to profit (earn a living for paid work, like writing a book etc..) from their crimes in New South Wales will have the proceeds confiscated.

NSW Govt criticised over criminal justice record
Key criminal justice groups have described the New South Wales Government's record on justice issues as a "disappointing performance".

APPOINTMENT OF KLOK IS: 'DECLARATION OF WAR'
The decision of the Carr government to appoint John Jacob Klok as the new Assistant Commissioner for Corrective Services in charge of security represents a statement of contempt to all those concerned about law and justice in NSW.

How NSW Dept of Corrective Services spent $800,000 dollars to rehabilitate a Sydney man sentenced to life for second murder! A spokesperson for Justice Action Mr Pro Grams said, "Well it's your money, how would you like it spent? And what do you think about rehabilitation on behalf of the Department of Corruptive Services?

Prisoners Representatives Excommunicated
Ron Woodham, Commissioner Corrective Services stated "[this Department] does not recognise Justice Action as an advocate on correctional centre issues." He has ordered a ban on all Justice Action material inside the NSW prison system. This resulted from a request for the approval of the latest edition of Framed (the Magazine of Justice Action) to be distributed throughout NSW prisons as has occurred for the past ten years.

Dept of Corrective Services: Rotten Ron Woodham on the ropes
This is The Freeedom Of Speech and The Press in a goldfish-bowl! Herr Goebells has spoken. Zieg Heil! (Which means, actually: "aim-for health!" incidentally)Apologies for not making meetings ... my first experiences with Woodham (then a -screw-gestapo-minor-with-a-friendly-dog - AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN EVEN HIS DOG DOESN`T LIKE HIM?)

At the Minister's Pleasure The case of Michael Kelly
Michael is caught up in a particularly cruel version of the game of Cat and Mouse. Because he is classified as a forensic patient under the Mental Heath Act of NSW, the Minister for Health is his master, not the Minister for Corrective Services. And the Minister for health will not let him go.

EX-PRISONER UNEMPLOYMENT: SENTENCED FOR LIFE
Name removed by request served time in prison decades ago. Shes still being punished today. According to commonwealth and state legislation, ex-prisoners applying for jobs must declare any conviction that fits into the following categories: less than 10 years old, more than 10 years old but served more than 30 months in prison.

ARE YOU INNOCENT?
The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

RESTORING TRUE JUSTICE:
Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

NSW Department of Corrective Services attack right to privacy
Corrective Services Minister Richard Amery has a problem attacking prisoners right to privacy.It seems to us that a civil society is best served when social justice laws are applied to all people regardless of their circumstances. Once government starts making exceptions which disadvantage certain groups and individuals, such laws are meaningless.

Litigants are drowning: in the High Court
There were so many self represented litigants appearing in the High Court that more than half of its registry staff's time was taken up in dealing with them. The "go it alone" litigants have to take on tasks well above their qualified league causing them stress. This growing problem cannot be left unchecked.

Everyone wants to get out of 'jail' but 'Framed' wants life: Rotten Ron on the ropes On 2 May 2002, Justice Action received a faxed letter from Manager of DCS Operations Support Branch saying that, in his view, articles in Framed edition #42 'lack balance and integrity' and he is therefore 'not prepared to recommend this issue of Framed for placement in to correctional centre libraries.' Prisoners and those concerned about prisoner issues have very few sources of information.

Methadone addicts formed within: 'NSW Prisons'
The New South Wales Opposition has accused the State Government of turning jailed heroin users into Methadone addicts.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder Mass DNA testing of prisoners has [allegedly] led to the first NSW case of a person being charged with a previously unsolved murder as a result of a controversial gene-matching data bank.

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20?
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

NSW opposition pledges review of detention laws
A spokesperson for Justice Action Ms Anal Advice said " NSW Prisons are a sex offence if you have been raped, bashed and squatted down to be strip searched. People should be diverted from going there at all material times".

Civil libertarians condemn planned changes to prisoners' privacy rights The New South Wales Government is using a recent case involving [framed] serial killer Ivan Milat to justify its decision to remove the privacy rights of prisoners. But really just another attack on Ivan Milat from Parliament House.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Mr. & Mrs. Mandatory Sentencing
Well congratulations to the bride and groom. Could you please be upstanding and raise your glasses for Mr. And Mrs. Mandatory.

Just wipe your arse on Ivan again Minister?
Mr Amery Minister for Corrective services has a problem with finding a toilet roll to wipe his bottom. Justice Action is appalled at the attacks by Amery and others in parliament on Ivan Milat's right to privacy and their attacks on the Privacy Commissioner and his office.

NSW Parliament Bitter Pills To Swallow?
One delusion pill: So people who investigate their own mistakes make sure there was no mistake or someone else made the mistake. Perhaps you're not biased and you will be honest about it.

NSW prisons - primary industry bailed up!
In many quiet regional centres around NSW there is a new primary industry shaping up. It has something to do with Bail but not with bales. The minister for Agriculture Richard Amery who also has the prisons portfolio is now committed to farming prisoners.

Black Nexus
The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.


The Government is likely to abolish the Inspector General of Corrective Services position The Mulawa inspection report recommendations below strictly illustrate how important he is.

Chronology - A History of Australian Prisons

[Allegedly:] The events that have shaped NSW prisons - from convict days through royal commissions, to the Supermax of today. [I say allegedly because no one should trust Four Corners [Walls], why? Because they spill out the propaganda of the day for the Government, whether it be wrong or right. A government that lies and has no remorse about it.]

Justice Action
Justice Action is a community based organisation of criminal justice activists. We are prisoners, academics, victims of crime, ex-prisoners, lawyers and general community members. We believe that meaningful change depends upon free exchange of information and community responsibility.

Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues 
I imagine all of you received Justice Action's email yesterday regarding the position of Inspector General of Corrective Services.

Community Restorative Centre
NSW spends more than half a billion tax dollars a year on prisons. It costs $60,000 to keep someone in maximum security for a year: more than double the minimum wage. CRC looks for and implements better solutions to the high social and economic costs of crime.

Shine For Kids
What happens for a young person who has a parent in prison?
There are a lot of consequences for children or young people who have a parent in prison. During Groupwork the kids themselves have identified as being:

Children of Prisoners' Support Group
Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.

Punching on ones own like yourselves is soul destroying, we need a few friends. Keen to learn of your friends?
Professor of criminology at Victoria University, Philip Stenning, recently visited the Napier Public Library to view the Robson Collection, which is a special collection on criminal, restorative and social justice based on the philosophy of "developing communities not prisons".

Named after John Lochiel Robson (1909-1993), the collection was developed as a community initiative by the Napier Pilot City Trust, and it relies totally on donations from the community and around the world.

"I've had a fairly long association with John Robson himself, he is one of my predecessors, being the founding director of the institute of criminology where I'm now the director." says Philip.

"John's whole vision was that doing criminal justice too big a task for government and that the only way you can really achieve effective justice is by involving communities and embedding "the doing of justice" in the communities themselves."

He believes the Robson collection is a very significant element in what's happening here in Napier, because it represents an effort to provide a unique knowledge base from which the community can develop sensible community positions.
 

"John Robson was very insistent 'that's it's not enough to have a community - it has to be a well-informed community", because the alternative to a contribution from the well-informed community is ill-informed and prejudiced vigilantism and the lynch-mob scenario."

Criminals have been called a lot of things over the years, including 'society's trash', and Philip analogises the disposal of rubbish to highlight his point.
"The traditional idea of how we deal with rubbish is to collect it, put it in a rubbish bin and put it out on the street and then the city comes and takes it away.

Then you don't worry about what happens to it afterwards, or how much there is.


What we've come to realise now is that this is not an acceptable way to deal with rubbish because for a start the city doesn't have unlimited capacity to deal with rubbish, but more to the point, the environment doesn't have unlimited capacity to absorb and accommodate all that rubbish.

What we see in the environmental area is a whole lot of new initiatives and more effective ways to dispose of rubbish, but more importantly, more effective ways to prevent rubbish from accumulating in the first place.

We are seeing is an increased effort to require the community to take responsibility for the amount of rubbish it produces and what happens to it afterwards. In some ways we've treated crime and criminals in a very similar way in the past.

When a crime occurred, you'd call the police and expect them to take the person away and deal with it and you don't worry about it afterwards.

We've now realised that is not an effective way to deal with rubbish, and John Robson and others have been promoting is that this is an ineffective way to deal with crime and criminals.

We need think of new ways of dealing with this, and to persuade communities to accept responsibility, not just for dealing with it but for the generation of criminality in itself." He says we need to get people to recognise that criminality starts in the home, in the schools and in our institutions.

"Criminals aren't "out there", they're not "them", they're "us", and that's what the idea of community-based criminal justice and penal policy is all about, getting the citizenry to understand that the origins of criminality are within the community."

While some groups, like the Sensible Sentencing Trust for instance, could argue that this approach would absolve the criminals of responsibility, Philip says this is not the case.

"No, we're not doing that. After all, committing a crime is a choice, but it's a choice that is structured by the environment in which people grow up. If we want to reduce or prevent crime, we have to not only work on changing people's choices but also work on changing the underlying environment within which they make those choices."

He agrees it is not easy to solve the problem, which is often deeply rooted in particular lifestyles.

"For instance, take the kid who goes to school after a night of not much sleep because his parents have been fighting. He hasn't had breakfast, he can't learn on an empty stomach, he can't concentrate, he's falling asleep all the time, so he fails in school. And where does he end up?

He ends up in a criminal lifestyle. And you can treat that kid all you like, but unless you address the underlying problems that led him into that lifestyle in the first place then you're not solving the problem. 

It's a case of recognising that the roots of crime are in our own communities, they're in our own homes, they're in our own institutions, and we have to address those as well as dealing with the crime after the event. This is why the whole community needs to be involved, because the only people who can change those things are the community itself."

By Carolyn Veen posted 5 November 04

Related:

Restorative Justice and the Law

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe."-- Marilyn vos Savant.
RESTORING TRUE JUSTICE:
Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.



Two Restorative Justice-related conferences will be held days apart in February and March 2005, in Australia.
The first conference, entitled "Empirical Findings and Theory Developments in Restorative Justice: Where Are We Now?", will be held February 23-25, 2005, at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. 

Organized by the International Network for Research on Restorative Justice and the Centre for Restorative Justice, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, this conference will focus on restorative justice research (rather than practitioner) issues. 
Keynote speakers will include John Braithwaite, Lawrence Sherman, Lode Walgrave and Heather Strang. Enrollment for this conference is limited.

For more information on the Canberra conference.

The second conference is the IIRP's third "Building a Global Alliance for Restorative Practices and Family Empowerment" conference. It will take place on March 3-5, 2005, in Penrith, New South Wales, in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. This conference will include a broad range of participants, including social workers, probation officers, police, teachers, administrators, researchers, criminologists, community volunteers, counsellors, peacemakers, academicians, judges, public planners, corrections officers and others.

Preceding the conference, on March 1-2, several one- and two-day workshops will be offered. For more information on the 
Penrith conference.

CERJ@igc.org wilmerding@earthlink.net John Wilmerding, Convener and List Manager Coalition for Equity-Restorative Justice (CERJ 217 High Street, Brattleboro, VT, USA ZIP: 05301-6073 Phone: 1-802-254-282 CERJ was founded in New York in May, 1997.

"Work together to reinvent justice using methods that are fair; that conserve, restore, and even create harmony, equity and good will in society."

By CERJ posted 3 September 04

Related Restorative Justice Links:

The Long Trail to Apology
Native America: All manner of unusual things can happen in Washington in an election year, but few seem so refreshing as a proposed official apology from the federal government to American Indians - the first ever - for the "violence, maltreatment and neglect" inflicted upon the tribes for centuries.

Restorative Justice Practices
Restorative Justice Practices of Native American, First Nation and Other Indigenous People of North America. This is part one in a series of articles about restorative justice practices of Native American, First Nation and other indigenous people of North America. The series is not intended to be all-inclusive, but rather a broad thematic overview. A related eForum article, "The Wet'suwet'en Unlocking Aboriginal Justice Program: Restorative Practices in British Columbia, Canada," can be read at:

PRISONERS' STRIKE
That the forms of restorative justice and mentoring that are so successful in reducing social unrest be adopted immediately, running parallel to imprisonment until the public feels safe without prisons.

Restorative Justice and the Law
To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe."-- Marilyn vos Savant.

Government justice not personal justice
Mr Brett Collins of Justice Action said, "Victims should be looked after properly by implementing restorative justice measures and victims should be compensated for their pain and suffering. " However prisoners are entitled to serve their sentences in peace and privacy as well."

Sentencing: Violent crime and practical outcomes
In addition introducing restorative justice programs giving the offender a chance to interact with the offended person if they wish and visa-versa. People are not "dogmatic" therefore should be given a second chance opposed to Life means Life!

Sentencing reform
Beyond Bars is making a submission (with a focus on alternatives to custody) to the sentencing council. "We should consider the alternatives which take into account victims' interests and involvement. Restorative justice. Also mentoring as a positive form of social support, coupled up to restorative justice (as the punishment) to satisfy those who demand it."

RESTORING TRUE JUSTICE:
Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.


2nd Renaissance - Beyond Industrial Capitalism and Nation States


Go forward in peace. And always remember the line from Gravity's Rainbow: "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."


Some Practicalities Of Emptying The Prisons [287] 

Given the importance that prisons and punishment have in maintaining control of increasingly restless populations, the task of achieving the release of the people in the jails and the closure of those institutions, seems daunting. But it is so vital to the 2nd Renaissance that we must find ways to do it. 

The principles to use to find those ways have already been set out in earlier parts of this document. To recap, the key points are:

* Talk to each other: Us-2-Us. 
* Act like the ants. 
* Use the Internet / Freenet and PPDs to communicate. 
* Focus on what we can control, not on changing what governments and corporations control. 
* Remain non-violent. 
* Apply reverse surveillance - if we can't hide they can't hide. 
* Think as sovereign individuals, not some state's subservient citizens. 
* Highlight the failures of the outgoing civilization, including the rule of law. 
* Don't ever give up, don't ever compromise. The power to change things right now exists right now. 

You don't think it's possible to have a society without jails? Well, tribal societies such as the Alawa of Australia did so for more than forty-thousand years. So too did many other ancient societies. Not only have no fortifications been found at the site of the megalithic city of Caral, there are no signs of any prisons either. A society that seems to have lived in peace for a thousand years probably didn't need jails. 

The very notions of the rule of law and judicial punishment are socially corrosive and damaging to the spiritual consciousness of both the people subjected to them and those that practice them. The following diagram shows the choices we have, right now, as the 2nd Renaissance gathers pace and a Level 4 Civilization lies ahead of us.

We can continue within the systems of law making, law enforcement, and punishment; or we can simply reject them as inhuman, and walk away.

Where will the women released from the Chowchilla prisons, and from all the other jails, go? We must make room for them within the neo-tribal cultures of the various free cities that we establish. Their families must be able to join them as well. Many of these women will need care as well as encouragement to rehabilitate and integrate into a new society. A high proportion are non-white, and many carry drug addictions. Ibogaine, the prohibited anti-addictive substance, can help in the latter case. Compassion and genuine elimination of racial attitudes from the white populace of the free cities can heal the hurt that women of colour have suffered at the hands of the old society and its 'justice' and 'correctional' institutions.

Once the women are settled we must do the same for the men from the prisons. Because of the supportive culture of the free cities, very few former prisoners should need to be kept off the streets. We should accept those small numbers of men and women that do need be contained in some manner, but we should treat them well, and never confine them in inhuman ways. These ideas aren't idealistic, they are the very core of a society that operates according to the principles of high spiritual consciousness, and mercy.

It is very unlikely that the Feds and various State governments will close the prisons and release all the inmates. Even if there were to be a huge change of heart in the old communities, and popular support for such reforms. Making new laws, year after year, and punishing wrongdoers, is an innate strategy for maintaining control of society, within the Level 3 Civilization. The OWO won't change it or give it up easily.

The prospect of prison is a deterrent to rebellion, and the Feds will want that insurance as the controlled economy and the old order continue to decay and weaken. But, when significant numbers of the more highly skilled technicians and scientists decide to abandon the old society, rather than rebel against it, the OWO will find that their 'justice' system and their prisons are not a deterrent to secession. It is likely, therefore, that secessions and the establishment of free cities will need to precede the emptying of the prisons. The need to make the change to free cities is therefore urgent. People are suffering and dying in the prisons every damn day.

Secessions will reshape the economics of the prison system. Once the Feds and State governments no longer have the tax revenues that they had when they built and filled their jails, they will be more inclined to allow the release of female, and later male, felons. It might be necessary to 'recompense' the old governments for their 'trouble' in arranging the releases, on a reasonable per head basis. But it should not be necessary to have a great debate or struggle about it.

Will ex-offenders make decent citizens worthy of the benefits of free cities? They will if the colonisation of Australia by the British is any indication. Most of the initial populace of the various colonies that were set up some two hundred years ago were, in fact, convicts. Once they were released it did not take them long to assimilate and make significant contributions to the building of the nation.

Sadly, at the instigation of a relatively small but powerful establishment, the nation that the descendants of the original convicts helped to develop, has now become, to the shame of many present-day Australians, America's 'Deputy Sheriff' in Asia, and a co-aggressor in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tell me the way the people in the jails think is evil and dangerous.

Although the foreign policies of the CoW nations are operating to gradually drive decent people in those countries away from their governments, the prisons issue can be much more potent. Dialogue on the streets, in the cafes, and on the Internet, will have more impact if it is about the prison abuses and injustices at home than if it is about abuses 'over there,' - to people we don't know, and whom the parrot people say are terrorists who 'deserve it.'

The citizens of the 'homeland' know, without even having to think about it, that the women incarcerated in the jails, down the road or somewhat further away, are not terrorists. They're predominantly mothers, and many families on the outside are suffering both the emotional stress of separation from a loved one and the economic loss of a breadwinner. Ordinary people understand these facts, and they will be receptive to any groups that offer to take the women from the prisons, look after them, assimilate and rehabilitate them, and keep them from further wrongdoing.

That should be the thrust of our arguments to gain the closure of places like Chowchilla and the unconditional release of its inmates. The closest any of these girls have ever come to committing war crimes is to manufacture flags for the US military to fly in Afghanistan and Iraq. By comparison with the 'liberators' who have sprayed the countryside with DU ammunition, while bringing The rule of law and greenback-democracy to the long-suffering inhabitants over there, the women in Chowchilla are saints.

Let the women in the prisons know that there are many of us prepared to commit our support, energies, time and money to getting them released as soon as we can. Send them mail, and parcels of cosmetics and toiletries (the authorities might not always let the goods through, but they will soon get to know we're serious, by the quantities we send). Tell these mothers that many, many, of us forgive them - whatever they've done. Tell them there will be genuine supporters (leaver-givers waving the Freedom Flag) to meet them when they get out, and make damn sure there are. Tell them the world will change and it will become a better place. Send them hope!

Change Rapidly But Not Cataclysmically [288] 
Finally, as this first edition of 2nd Renaissance concludes, a caution about pushing for instant reform. Certainly we need to push to empty the jails and genuinely rehabilitate the inmates who have suffered within them. but it will be unwise, and unnecessary, to act to bring the old order to a sudden end. The reason is simple. Too many people would get hurt if the present economic system were to collapse quickly - like the Berlin wall. There would soon be many people eating rats and toads - as there were in the aftermath of the collapse of the Argentinean economy. Nobody would benefit from that sort of social and financial trauma. It will be far better to aim for a parallel transition from taker-capitalism to leaver-giver-tribalism. As the old system unravels of its own accord, there should be a rapid build up of free cities and the technological, scientific, and spiritual foundations for an economy of abundance.

The first phase of the build up to a Level 4 Civilization must establish credible examples of leaver-giver-tribalism. This will involve like-minded people forming a number of free city pilot projects. During the first phase, the focus must be on demonstrating that people can live in a tribal way, amidst the spike technologies and scientific modernity of a post-capitalist economy. From the lessons learned, and the demonstrations of abundance produced by the free city pilots, it will be practical to set out guidelines and provide resources and skilled people to assist the formation of a second wave of secessionist cities and regions. All the energies of the new leaver-givers must be directed towards these ends, and the controlled economy of the old order must be left to its own devices. It is not our function, as builders of the new society, to tear down the old one.

That the old economic order is destroying itself, and taking the whole world towards a replay of the Argentinean crisis on a global scale, is no secret in financial circles. It's just not featured on the 6 o'clock news or the pages of the mass-media newspapers. The following excerpt from the August 12, 2004, edition of the Dow Theory Letters, a financial newsletter by Richard Russell in the USA, captures what the people inside the economic and financial sectors know and accept. It's scary and it's true.

* "... In the end, the US is fated to drown in liabilities, and in the end the dollar will fall to the point where it will no longer be accepted as the world's reserve currency. But until then, the world, really the Asians, will "play the game" in which they will continue to accept and accumulate dollars.

Why are they doing this? they're continuing to accept dollars because this process allows them to continue to sell their products to the US. Yes, it's a game. Yes, it can't go on forever. Yes, the US and the dollar will finally drown in liabilities. Yes, this is ultimately what the bear market is all about. And yes, there really seems to be nothing that will reverse this process."

* "The whole system is obviously doomed, but the world's politicians don't think in terms of "doom." Doom is in the future, and politicians are concerned with "now," and the next election.

There is no need for anyone to overthrow the old order based on capitalism. The societal flaws and lethal memes that are associated with takerism and capitalism are already well on the way to destroying the empires of the industrial age, New knowledge, new technology, and new thinking are helping to accelerate the process. Time is running out for the old order.

Our concern, as leaver-givers, needs to be with the world beyond the demise of capitalism. We need to have a social and economic logic, and a system of transition, in place well before the looming meltdown. We must have the rudiments of a new civilization and a new society ready for people to join when their old world fails them.

This is the most important work and thinking that we can ever do on behalf of our fellow beings.

Lothar, 
September, 2004 


[Allegedly:] The events that have shaped NSW prisons - from convict days through royal commissions, to the Supermax of today.

[I say allegedly because no one should trust Four Corners [Walls], why? Because they spill out the propaganda of the day for the Government, whether it be wrong or right. A government that lies and has no remorse about it.]

[Here we go now!]

1788

Convicts are initially housed in tents. Then – until barracks are built – they must find their own accommodation in town. They work part of the day for the government and use the rest of the day to work privately and pay their rent.
»Descriptions of convict life

1800

The demand for labour grows and a system of "assigned service" develops where convicts are assigned to private masters.
»Convicts and the European settlement of Australia

1835

A parliamentary committee recommends the building of new prisons at Sydney and Parramatta. It is proposed that prisoners be physically isolated from one another and banned from communicating with each other.

1840


Transportation to NSW ends.

1849

An inquiry into the administration of Darlinghurst Gaol finds
"debauchery, drunkenness and irregularity of every kind" and the officers involved are dismissed.
»The Old Darlinghurst Gaol

1878

Allegations of cruelty at Berrima Gaol lead to a royal commission. It recommends that gagging and the practice of "spreadeagling", where prisoners are chained to a wall, be abolished.

1895

Captain F.W. Neitenstein is appointed chief administrator of NSW prisons and he brings about reforms that lead to a halt on the imprisonment of children and the placement of mentally disturbed people in prisons.

1909


A separate prison for women is constructed at Long Bay.

1917


Leg-ironing of prisoners in transit is stopped. Prisoners at Emu Plains and Tuncurry are allowed to play cricket and football and bathe in the river or surf.

1918

Reading of newspapers allowed but controversial articles are cut out to prevent any difference of opinion which could lead to disorder.

1920


Bathing allowed each working day instead of twice weekly. Calling at half-hourly intervals by night guards is abandoned. Lights in cells allowed.

1921

The principle of the penal diet - food given according to the amount of work performed that day - is abandoned. Instead bonus payments are introduced for work beyond the allotted task.

1925


Prisoners serving two or more years allowed writing materials in their cells.

World War II

Increasing tensions in the state's prisons and a number of serious assaults on prison officers lead to Grafton Gaol being used to house the most intractable prisoners. The penal methods at Grafton over the next 33 years are described as a
'regime of terror', 'brutal, savage and sometimes sadistic'. This period is labelled as 'one of the most sordid and shameful episodes in NSW penal history'.

"It became abundantly clear during the Commission’s hearings that the arduous duties required of [Grafton’s prison] officers largely consisted of inflicting brutal, savage, and sometimes sadistic physical violence on the hapless group of intractables who were sent to Grafton."
Extract, the Nagle Report, p134.

1946

A report on prison reform finds overcrowding at Long Bay. It recommends that sewerage replace pan systems in major gaols and that prisoners should have two more hours each day out of their cells.

1968

The Katingal project proposes to house six categories of violent prisoners, including top protection cases, at Long Bay in special cells devoid of light and without the programs or privileges available to prisoners at other gaols. Katingal Gaol is built in secrecy.

1970 »Bathurst Gaol

1974

February There is a second, larger riot at Bathurst Gaol. Petrol bombs are thrown about the prison complex and officers fire on inmates. The gaol is gutted by fire and costs $10 million to rebuild.

1975

Katingal Gaol, designed exclusively for violent prisoners, opens. There is no natural light in the cells, all the doors are electronically operated, food is passed through the hatch and prisoners are allowed no direct contact with prison officers. It costs $15m and is well over budget.

1976

On the eve of the state election, Justice Nagle of the Supreme Court of NSW is appointed to head a royal commission to investigate the Bathurst prison riots.

1977


Russell
[Labelled by the media] 'Mad Dog' Cox saws through two iron bars and escapes from the exercise yard at Katingal Gaol.

1978

The report by Royal Commissioner Nagle recommends more than 250 sweeping changes to the penal system. Most are implemented.
He finds that the NSW Department of Corrective Services and ministers of both major parties had unofficially sanctioned the systematic brutalisation of prisoners at Grafton Gaol.

The Wran Labor government begins reform. A new corrective services commission is established under chairman, Dr Tony Vinson.

Justice Nagle condemns Katingal as an
expensive "electronic zoo". Recommendations from the Nagle report result in the closure of Katingal Gaol, after only three years of operation.

"Katingal became a symbol of everything that was wrong with the state’s prisons, a focus of public protest by an unlikely alliance of lawyers, journalists and unions."
ABC Hindsight, 13 October, 2002.

1979

Goulburn Gaol inmates allege beatings by prison officers. A magistrate's inquiry finds evidence of assault by four officers, but no criminal charges are laid.

October A peaceful sitdown protest is held by inmates at Parramatta Gaol after the Wran Government’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against prison officers implicated in the Bathurst riots.

1980

Prison officers become frustrated at the swift pace and direction of the changes to penal administration - particularly on issues relating to prisoner rights - and react with a series of strikes. The Wran Government backs down.

1983


Remissions now apply to the non-parole period rather than just the head sentence reducing the length of sentences actually served, as recommended by Nagle.

Allegations surface that the NSW Minister for Corrective Services, Rex Jackson, had accepted payments in return for granting early release to certain prisoners.

1985

A task force finds 78 per cent of women in gaol are addicted to alcohol or drugs, especially heroin.

1987

The Minister for Corrective Services, Rex Jackson, is convicted of conspiracy in relation to the early licence release scheme. Remissions are subsequently abolished.

October The Hawke Federal ALP Government announces a Royal Commission to investigate the deaths of 99 Aborigines in police and prison custody over a period of nine years.

1990


Geoffrey Pearce, a 22-year-old probationary prison officer at Long Bay Gaol, is stabbed by an inmate with a syringe containing HIV-infected blood. The Government cracks down on personal items in cells resulting in fires and riots by inmates across the state. Pearce subsequently tests positive to the virus and in 1997 he dies from an AIDS-related illness.

1991

The final report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody makes more than 300 recommendations. The report finds that the disproportionate rate at which Aboriginal people are arrested and imprisoned in Australia is the principal explanation for their deaths. The Commonwealth says it will spend $400 million over five years to implement the recommendations. Critics subsequently claim that implementation has been slow and piecemeal.
»Final Report: Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

1993

NSW Prisons Minister Michael Yabsley says that rape is "inevitable" in prison and that fear of rape might be a useful "deterrent factor" to those thinking of offending.

1993

The first privately managed prison in NSW, the Junee Correctional Centre, opens.

1994


The Australian Institute of Criminology reports a 40 per cent increase in deaths in custody over the past two years. 72 people died in custody in 1992/93; compared with 57 and 58 in the two previous years.
»Australian Institute of Criminology

1997

The 900-bed Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre opens at Silverwater, Australia’s largest correctional centre
[prison.]

1999

An inquiry by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) into Corrective Services finds officers developed improper relationships with inmates by accepting bribes to tamper with prison documents.
»ICAC Report: Betrayal of trust

2000

A NSW parliamentary committee finds that the number of women being jailed has grown alarmingly. The committee report details a
40 per cent increase in the female prisoner population since 1994; with a 14 per cent increase of Aboriginal women in custody. Female prisons are rife with drug addiction, suicide mental illness.
»Select Committee on the Increase in Prisoner Population, Interim Report: Issues Relating to Women

2001


'Ethnic clustering' - dividing inmates according to race - is introduced at Goulburn Gaol to make prisoners easier to control. Aboriginal, Pacific Islander, Arabic and European prisoners are separated, with no contact between groups allowed.

The AU$20m Supermax (High Risk Management Unit) [Torture Chambers] opens in Goulburn, NSW, for the State’s most [alleged] dangerous killers [convicted, and framed] as well as those charged with terrorist offences [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource wars in the Middle East.] Complaints are made about a lack of natural light and air, isolation, deprivation of association and a generally harsh environment and regime.

October A conference hears that mentally ill prisoners are locked in their cells at Long Bay prison for up to 23 hours a day and that 800 inmates require medical treatment to deal with acute mental illness, but only 90 beds are available at Long Bay’s hospital wing.

'Ethnic clustering' is strongly criticised in an internal report, which finds the practice increases tension and [encourages gang formation.] A crackdown begins on [alleged] gangs, with 100 inmates identified as having serious gang affiliations. An internal report shows they are responsible for drug-running, prostitution, gambling rackets, standover tactics and theft. [An internal report by who DCS? People who investigate themselves. Hence the outcome is seriously flawed and in doubt!]

2002


"Standard minimum terms" are introduced for a range of serious offences. These sentences can be reduced or increased by a range of mitigating or aggravating circumstances under the common law, thus retaining judicial discretion.

A report finds that gangs operate at three maximum security gaols - Silverwater, Lithgow and Goulburn - presenting major challenges to the safety of inmates and staff.
[An internal report by who DCS? People who investigate themselves. Hence the outcome is seriously flawed and in doubt!]

2004

Leaders of ethnic gangs controlling crime and street warfare from behind bars are rounded up into an isolation wing of Parklea Gaol. One other leader is sent to the Supermax.

2005


There are approximately 9,000 prisoners in NSW gaols, a 40 per cent increase over the past decade. To meet the demand the Department of Corrective Services continues to construct new facilities.

After persistent requests to NSW Corrective Services authorities, Four Corners obtained permission to film inside this secretive and forbidding place.

There is quiet as the camera roams the corridors and recesses. Occasionally a prisoner’s catcall pierces the silence. The security regime overwhelms all. Everyone, including staff, undergoes at least two X-rays daily to stop weapons or drugs or phones being smuggled in. Even the food is X-rayed.

Contact between inmates [prisoners] is strictly controlled. More than two’s a crowd – and under the rules those two will be outnumbered by prison officers. Authorities do not want charismatic prisoners winning followers and plotting trouble.

Journeying into the futuristic, hi-tech Supermax is also a venture back into history, to the darkest corner of a nation that grew over two centuries from a community of prisoners and prison guards. For Supermax is surrounded by the original 19th century stone of Goulburn prison.

A spate of murders at Goulburn has led to an official policy of "ethnic clustering" where Asians, Aborigines, Islanders and Middle Eastern inmates are segregated in different yards. 'Ethnic clustering' is strongly criticised in an internal report, which finds the practice increases tension and [encourages gang formation. Chook fights?]

[Brutality and Torture]

Out of sight but on constant alert for murders and riots are the Immediate Action team or, in prison parlance, the "gang squad", armed with batons and chemical spray. Another elite group, the Hostage Response Team, is trained to shoot to kill. Four Corners films with these specialist groups as they undergo field training. [So the system was responsible for encouraging gang formation and then the system brutalises and tortures the very prisoners they encouraged.]

Supermax and Goulburn are at the sharpest end of [Torture and Brutality causing people Mental Illness, Human Rights Abuse, Death in Custodya and even houses remand prisoners.] Australia’s historic debate on prison reform. [?] While crime rates have fallen, the politicisation of law and order has seen imprisonment rates climb, especially among women, Aborigines and the mentally ill. The nation’s prison population has doubled since the 1980s. Never has there been such pressure on the system.

By Four Corners [Walls] 7 November 05

On any of the issues described above, for the real truth about it see links below.

A VISIT TO THE NSW HRMU, SUPERMAX PRISON

The pre-requisite to visit the HRMU is a security check that can take up to six months. Complaint to the NSW Ombudsman 2004.

Related:

Association for the Prevention of Torture
The Optional Protocol requires 20 ratifications to enter into force. All States Parties to the UN Convention against Torture should seriously consider ratifying the OPCAT as soon as possible. National Institutions and others promoting the human rights of people deprived of their liberty need to be informed of their potential role as national preventive mechanisms under the OPCAT.

Corrected or Corrupted
A psychiatrist from the prison Mental Health Team attached to Queensland Health made the comment that 25 per cent of inmates suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.

ICOPA XI International Conference on Penal Abolition
We are excited to announce that ICOPA X1, the eleventh International Conference on Penal Abolition will happen in Tasmania, Australia from February 9 - 11,2006. Please pass this onto all networks.

Ex-Prisoner Locked Out of Prison
The NSW Department of Corrective Services (DCS) has revealed a policy which bans ex-prisoners from entering prisons.

Justice Action: Access to our community
NSW: Justice Action went to the NSW Supreme Court before the last Federal election on the constitutional right for prisoners to receive information for their vote. The government avoided the hearing by bringing prisoners' mobile polling booths forward. We pursued it after the election. This is the report.

FAMILIES OF PRISONERS FORUM
14,500 children in NSW go to bed each night with a parent in prison!

In memory of the late Bob Jewson
Some will remember that Bob was In the Bathurst riot in February 1974 and was a leading member of the Prisoners Action Group now - (JusticeACTION) upon his release. He wrote Stir, the screenplay upon which the film Stir was based. He played a major role in agitating for a Royal Commission into the events at Bathurst, and when the Nagle Commission commenced hearings Bob was to be found every day sitting in court for the duration, following proceedings for the PAG.

High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) INSPECTION
The Special Care Unit (SCU) at Long Bay Correctional Centre was inspired by Barlinnie. The SCU was opened in 1981 to replace the Observation Unit, which was strongly criticised by the Nagle Report. The SCU was closed in 1997 because of lack of record-keeping which could give a measure of effectiveness. The SCU was replaced by the Four-Stage Violence Prevention Program, which is housed within the Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (MSPC).

Mental Health Tribunal recommendations on forensic inmates
Below is the answer we have received from the Minister for Health regarding prisoners recommended for parole or release by the Mental Health Tribunal FYI.

Isolation, psychiatric treatment and prisoner' control
The 2003 NSW Corrections Health Service (now Justice Health) Report on Mental Illness Among NSW Prisoners states that the 12 month prevalence of any psychiatric disorder in prison is 74%, compared to 22% in the general community, and while this includes substance disorder the high rate cannot be attributed to that alone.

Australian Prisoners in Solitary Confinement:

The prison system requires assiduous oversight
As NSW Attorney General Bob Debus noted in 1996: "The kinds of complaints which occur in the system may seem trivial to outsiders but in the superheated world of the prison, such issues can produce explosive results."

Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Goulburn Jail breaches UN standards
NSW: Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has called on Justice Minister John Hatzistergos to bring Goulburn Jail's Maximum Security Wing into line with United Nations standards, after a prison inmate's covert survey of his fellow inmates revealed problems with rehabilitation programs and basic amenities.

Where the Norm is Not the Norm: HARM-U
In the absence of public policy, this paper is an attempt to shine a light through the rhetoric and test for coherency in the policy and function of NSW’s only supermax prison, the High Risk Management Unit. Its present use will be compared with the ‘vision’ flogged by the Premier and the Department of Corrective Services (the Department) at its inception in 2001.

Justice Denied In NSW Corrective Services
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

Prisoner Abuse Not Just in Iraq
The shocking revelations of abuse of prisoners by US prison guards in Iraq have been denounced by politicians around the world, including our own Prime Minister.

NSW Prisoners' linked to Osama Bin Laden: Ten News
NSW prisoners held in a "box within a box" with "no fresh air or sunlight" at the countries terrorist jail (HRMU) or High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre, (a super-max prison in NSW), are said to have followed Osama Bin Laden from their isolated cells.

Conditions in the HRMU
Justice Action is trying to obtain documents on behalf of prisoners held in the Goulburn High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) from the Federal Attorney General's Department, Corrective Services Minister's Conference regarding the process described below, in which the Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia were adopted. This documentation will help explain the justification for the conditions in the HRMU.

A TOTAL ABUSE OF POWER
We the prisoners at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre would like to ask you for help in receiving equal treatment and opportunities as other prisoners throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation unit but we are treated as though we are in one.

On the treatment of prisoners at the NSW HRMU
Prisoners sister's letter from her brother: Following our phone conversation some weeks ago I would like to set out a few points on the treatment of prisoners in the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn (Super Max) (Guantanamo Bay).

Escape proof but not so the prisoners mind
Fewer prisoners escape from prison these days because they're "cemented in" by materials that do not break and by legislation that can keep prisoners in jail until they die.

Watchdogs slaughtered in NSW
On Tuesday the Carr Government reduced transparency and accountability yet again and New South Wales is in danger of becoming entrenched with cronyism and intimidations with the Carr Labor Government that continues to slaughter the watchdogs.

High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) INSPECTION
The Special Care Unit (SCU) at Long Bay Correctional Centre was inspired by Barlinnie. The SCU was opened in 1981 to replace the Observation Unit, which was strongly criticised by the Nagle Report. The SCU was closed in 1997 because of lack of record-keeping which could give a measure of effectiveness.

Carr's Castle the real story H.R.M.U.The High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre. A prisoner writes, " I was unsuccessful in my letters to Dr Matthews CEO of the Corrections Health Service on my problem regarding air - claustrophobic effect the cells have on me. Just recently the management decided my injuries are not seriously affecting me so no further discussions are necessary.

More Prison Links History

Two thirds of a billion dollars and DCS can't work out what authority they have? Internal inquiry launched after death in custody. [?] "Two thirds of a billion dollars of taxpayers money and the Department of Corrective Services can't work out what authority they have to hold the people who are in jail."

Australia: Private Prisons, Junee NSW
When I got to Junee I was given nothing except bed linen. That's it! No clothing. I had to put my name down for clothing, which they said I could get on Saturday. When I went down to get my clothing on Saturday I was told they had nothing but I was told that I could buy what I wanted on their monthly buy-up. In the mean time I got rashes between my legs from the dirty clothes I had on.

Justice Action meets with new Minister for Justice
John Hatzistergos Minister for Justice is meeting with Brett Collins and Justice Action today at 11:30 a.m.

ARUNTA PHONE SYSTEM: IDC Lithgow Prison
The prisoners of Lithgow Correctional Centre have requested that the Lithgow Inmate Development Committee write to you on their behalf and ask that the phone systems heavy burden upon the prisoners at this institution and their families be reviewed. I will outline the problems.

Health problems denied in prison
Lithgow Correctional Centre (IDC) Inmate Development Committee "Currently there are 72 inmates on the doctors waiting list with only one doctor coming fortnightly and usually on a weekend".

'Old guard dog' dig in heels on NSW Govt front bench - The rolling of the filthy heads... The New South Wales Premier is yet to convince at least one of his long-standing ministers to stand aside to make way for new blood on the front bench.

NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).

THE GULAG TREATMENT - The Trauma Of Court Appearances When Incarcerated Prisoner transport vehicle 10th January 2003 It's about 4.40am, very darkoutside and although I'm expecting it, it is still intrusive when my dreams are interrupted by the sound of my name, it is the officer checking that I'm awake ready to face the long day ahead.

Sir David Longland Correctional Centre
If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".

SIR DAVID LONGLAND CORRECTIONAL CENTRE QLD - CELLS IN B BLOCK The cells in B Block are like no other in any Queensland prison. After Mr. Cooper was severally embarrassed by the Abbott and Co escape on 4th November 1997, he visited B Block and the surrounding grounds. It was that visit, by Cooper, that set in motion a plan (up the ante) to make sure security in B Block would never embarrass him again. It was like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.

Inspector General Ignored On Womens Prison
Four months after a report from the Inspector General on Mulawa Correctional Centre, key recommendations involving safety and welfare of prisoners and staff have been ignored. Kathryn Armstrong (former chair of Inmate Development Committee) and Annabel Walsh, released from Mulawa Womens Prison in February, have produced an independent report confirming the findings of the Inspector General.

Distribution of: 'How to Votes in prisons'?
Justice Action have received information from Andrew Burke of the NSW Greens that they have enquired with the Department of Corrective Services as to the procedure for distributing their How To Votes in prisons in the period before the election.

Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions
Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:

NSW ELECTION 2003: VOTE 1 GREENS
Inspector-General: The Greens believe that the role of the Inspector-General is crucial to the proper functioning of the prison system. It has never been more important to have a powerful watchdog role than today. Section 3.11 of our Criminal Justice Policy commits the Greens to "strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Prisons."

Long Bay Prison: The latest inside story
Private food purchases called Buy-Ups that normally take care of the prisoners additional food nutrition in Jail has been changed.

Doing time even harder: 146 prisoners far from home
The United States, however, has detained without trial about 650 men from 43 countries. They include Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of the sweep against global terrorism [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's, pre-emptive strikes, occupation and genocide for resources in the Middle East.]

Human Rights 'Framed'
Here is a quick report on our Human Rights Commission approach on Framed (the quarterly magazine of Justice Action) being banned from all NSW prisons. After 42 issues went in.

Prison Privatisation: Death camps looming in NSW
I asked for the identification of the person I was speaking to and was told that I was not entitled to that information. I needed to verify the call and asked for a name or number to register my call because I was asked to get those details by my coordinator.The person refused to identify themselves either by name or number. I asked to be transferred to a senior person and was refused. The person I spoke to then hung up the phone.

Justice Action criticises Govt's victim voice policy
Victims are not being properly considered in compensation and no expression is given to them, of community goodwill. A spokesperson for Justice Action Mr Brett Collins said, "No community expression or concern is given to the victims of crime. They feel their pain is not acknowledged by the government which tries to balance pain against pain. Never! The community is being misled."

NSW education professor warns further commitment needed
The author of a report on the New South Wales education system has urged the major political parties to do more for education in the election campaign.

Coalition proposes to exploit children
The Coalition says it would reform juvenile justice in New South Wales to require the courts to "get tough" on juvenile crime.

Corrections Victoria and criminal acts: SCS-4\320 UPDATE
You have stated "Section 30 of the Corrections Act 1986 and the Information Privacy Act 2000, restricts the release of confidential information regarding prisoners, I therefore am unable to provide any information regarding this matter."

Death camps looming in Victoria
A letter was received on 15 January 03 from SCS-4\320 a remand prisoner in Victoria's Barwon Prison I later found out that the prisoner was in the Acacia High Security Unit.

Jail search finds knives, syringes
Mr Brett Collins a spokesperson for Justice Action said, "It shows there is a lot of desperation in the prison system at the moment and has been for some time."

Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group'
A coalition of academics, crime experts, welfare and church groups is preparing to launch an intensive pre-election campaign aimed at refocusing the attention of NSW politicians from harsh sentencing reforms to crime prevention strategies.

Six weeks, six months, six years: inmates have little chance of making fresh start More than 15,500 people are released from NSW prisons each year, twice the number of 20 years ago. But new research shows many ex-prisoners find it impossible to reintegrate into society and, months after release, are worse off than before they went to jail.

Fiona Stanley, the children's crusader
It is all about prevention. As Fiona Stanley sees it, with one in five Australian teenagers experiencing significant mental health problems, there are just not enough treatment services to cope with the demand.

Attempted thong theft costs $560
A man has been fined $500 after appearing in a northern New South Wales court charged with stealing a pair of thongs.

NSW A-G moves to stop criminals and ex-criminals selling stories
From next month criminals or ex-criminals who try to profit (earn a living for paid work, like writing a book etc..) from their crimes in New South Wales will have the proceeds confiscated.

NSW Govt criticised over criminal justice record
Key criminal justice groups have described the New South Wales Government's record on justice issues as a "disappointing performance".

APPOINTMENT OF KLOK IS: 'DECLARATION OF WAR'
The decision of the Carr government to appoint John Jacob Klok as the new Assistant Commissioner for Corrective Services in charge of security represents a statement of contempt to all those concerned about law and justice in NSW.

How NSW Dept of Corrective Services spent $800,000 dollars to rehabilitate a Sydney man sentenced to life for second murder! A spokesperson for Justice Action Mr Pro Grams said, "Well it's your money, how would you like it spent? And what do you think about rehabilitation on behalf of the Department of Corruptive Services?

Prisoners Representatives Excommunicated
Ron Woodham, Commissioner Corrective Services stated "[this Department] does not recognise Justice Action as an advocate on correctional centre issues." He has ordered a ban on all Justice Action material inside the NSW prison system. This resulted from a request for the approval of the latest edition of Framed (the Magazine of Justice Action) to be distributed throughout NSW prisons as has occurred for the past ten years.

Academic devises scheme for low income earners to pay back fines:
A professor at the Australian National University [another one of John Howard's hand picked losers like Peter Saunders the social services head-kicker has come up with a scheme which could see low income earners pay back criminal fines over a period of time.

Dept of Corrective Services: Rotten Ron Woodham on the ropes
This is The Freeedom Of Speech and The Press in a goldfish-bowl! Herr Goebells has spoken. Zieg Heil! (Which means, actually: "aim-for health!" incidentally)Apologies for not making meetings ... my first experiences with Woodham (then a -screw-gestapo-minor-with-a-friendly-dog - AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN EVEN HIS DOG DOESN`T LIKE HIM?)

At the Minister's Pleasure The case of Michael Kelly
Michael is caught up in a particularly cruel version of the game of Cat and Mouse. Because he is classified as a forensic patient under the Mental Heath Act of NSW, the Minister for Health is his master, not the Minister for Corrective Services. And the Minister for health will not let him go.

EX-PRISONER UNEMPLOYMENT: SENTENCED FOR LIFE
Name removed by request served time in prison decades ago. Shes still being punished today. According to commonwealth and state legislation, ex-prisoners applying for jobs must declare any conviction that fits into the following categories: less than 10 years old, more than 10 years old but served more than 30 months in prison.

ARE YOU INNOCENT?
The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

RESTORING TRUE JUSTICE:
Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

NSW Department of Corrective Services attack right to privacy
Corrective Services Minister Richard Amery has a problem attacking prisoners right to privacy.It seems to us that a civil society is best served when social justice laws are applied to all people regardless of their circumstances. Once government starts making exceptions which disadvantage certain groups and individuals, such laws are meaningless.

Litigants are drowning: in the High Court
There were so many self represented litigants appearing in the High Court that more than half of its registry staff's time was taken up in dealing with them. The "go it alone" litigants have to take on tasks well above their qualified league causing them stress. This growing problem cannot be left unchecked.

Everyone wants to get out of 'jail' but 'Framed' wants life: Rotten Ron on the ropes On 2 May 2002, Justice Action received a faxed letter from Manager of DCS Operations Support Branch saying that, in his view, articles in Framed edition #42 'lack balance and integrity' and he is therefore 'not prepared to recommend this issue of Framed for placement in to correctional centre libraries.' Prisoners and those concerned about prisoner issues have very few sources of information.

Methadone addicts formed within: 'NSW Prisons'
The New South Wales Opposition has accused the State Government of turning jailed heroin users into Methadone addicts.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder Mass DNA testing of prisoners has [allegedly] led to the first NSW case of a person being charged with a previously unsolved murder as a result of a controversial gene-matching data bank.

Medical Records: Alex Mitchell's lost world
Perhaps we can get your medical report and spew it around publicly so you can see how it feels. But surely we do not have to go that far. And of course we are law-abiding citizens and I should think it would be enough to remind you of your ethics to report at all.

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20?
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

NSW opposition pledges review of detention laws
A spokesperson for Justice Action Ms Anal Advice said " NSW Prisons are a sex offence if you have been raped, bashed and squatted down to be strip searched. People should be diverted from going there at all material times".

Civil libertarians condemn planned changes to prisoners' privacy rights The New South Wales Government is using a recent case involving [framed] serial killer Ivan Milat to justify its decision to remove the privacy rights of prisoners. But really just another attack on Ivan Milat from Parliament House.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Mr. & Mrs. Mandatory Sentencing
Well congratulations to the bride and groom. Could you please be upstanding and raise your glasses for Mr. And Mrs. Mandatory.

Just wipe your arse on Ivan again Minister?
Mr Amery Minister for Corrective services has a problem with finding a toilet roll to wipe his bottom. Justice Action is appalled at the attacks by Amery and others in parliament on Ivan Milat's right to privacy and their attacks on the Privacy Commissioner and his office.

NSW Parliament Bitter Pills To Swallow?
One delusion pill: So people who investigate their own mistakes make sure there was no mistake or someone else made the mistake. Perhaps you're not biased and you will be honest about it.

NSW prisons - primary industry bailed up!
In many quiet regional centres around NSW there is a new primary industry shaping up. It has something to do with Bail but not with bales. The minister for Agriculture Richard Amery who also has the prisons portfolio is now committed to farming prisoners.

Black Nexus
The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.

Prison Mind Games-Do they exist?
Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.


The Government is likely to abolish the Inspector General of Corrective Services position The Mulawa inspection report recommendations below strictly illustrate how important he is.


Human Rights, Civil Rights, Democratic Rights, Politics, Police & Prisons...


Politics, Police, Prisons

Human Rights, Civil Rights, Democratic Rights, Politics, Police & Prisons