Monday, March 24, 2003

Sir David Longland Correctional Centre

Sir David Longland prison QLD B Block exercise yard


"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.


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 for B 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 a reception 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.


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.


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!]


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:

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".

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.

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.

The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of 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
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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'
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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'
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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!
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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.

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.]