Wednesday, November 19, 2003


We the inmates, [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 inmates throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation units, [solitary confinement units], but we are treated as though we are in one.

We the inmates 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 inmates throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation units, but we are treated as though we are in one.

Firstly we are being housed in a segregation type environment and yet we are being told that we are not in segregation but we are on normal discipline status, this is in regards to 9 unit and 8 unit of the HRMU.

This is totally false, we are not being housed as normal discipline prisoners, but we are being housed as segregation prisoners, and in some cases inmates are being housed in 7 unit which is officially called and used as a segregation and those prisoners are being told that they are not in segregation.

They are telling us that we are on a program" this is merely the legal wording they are using to disguise the fact that we are really being housed as segregation prisoners.

The only so called program that is currently operating in the HRMU is not designed to help inmates better themselves and try to get REHABILITATION and try to move forward, but it has been designed purposely to ensure that inmates do not move forward to better themselves, and effectively end up staying in segregation for as long as possible and in most cases for years.

The so called program is also designed simply to give correctional staff the power to play God with what little day to day necessities we can actually get within the HRMU.

Basically its designed so that the correctional staff can punish the inmates and take away what little privileges we have or have been given, without even being charged with any offence or having any other formal disciplinary action taken against them.

So effectively if we are not jumping through hoops for them all day we will be dealt with in an off the record manner. As a result of this it is causing us inmates in the HRMU a lot of stress and frustration's, anger and the feeling of injustice, on a daily basis, over the continual deprivation of quite a lot of day to day necessities, which normal discipline prisoners have access to, and I have to say unlimited access to it every day.

We all feel that this kind of treatment is purposely designed to push the inmates over the edge in the hope they will lash out in various unlawful ways so as to give the correctional staff an excuse to take even more things away from the inmates and keep the inmates locked away in here even longer.

This is why we are lodging our concerns and grievances to you, because we are trying to get some form of justice, some equal opportunities as normal discipline inmates (if that is in fact what we are), and we are trying to avoid the inevitable madness we are all heading to under this current regime in the HRMU.

Past history on prisoners has shown that when prisoners are put in segregation environments for lengthy periods of time and subjected to stressful and frustrating living conditions, the results is always the same, the day to day pressures become too much and it is only a matter of time before prisoners end up behaving in violent and anti social ways on a larger scale.

This is what we are trying to avoid, also recent studies has shown that when inmates are housed in positive, productive, minimal stress environments the inmates are far more positive and productive and are not walking around all day either stressed, depressed, unhappy and frustrated and the likely hood of inmates behaving in violent, anti social ways is highly remote.

We cannot understand why a positive approach is not being used with us inmates of the HRMU and instead we are being forced to live under a highly stressful and frustrating regime.

Given the facts of what past correctional centres history has shown and what recent official prison studies has shown (which we are quite certain then NSW prison officials are fully aware of). We are highly suspicious and convinced about what the correctional staff and their regime is trying to achieve with the inmates of the HRMU.

Nearly all the inmates in the HRMU are serving life sentences or sentences around 20 year mark, so it is obvious that the only thing we have to look forward to is trying to live out our lives in prison as positively and productively as possible under as least stress and frustration as possible.

What we do not understand is this? If you take all that away from us, what else do we have to look forward to? This is a question still yet to be answered by anyone.

Since the HRMU was opened in September 2001, there has been at least one inmate who has attempted to take his life; (possibly more records will show).

There have been numerous incidences of physical altercations between inmates and correctional staff and there has been numerous inmates go on hunger strikes, plus there is one inmate who is continually committing self-harm (records will show).

Some inmates have smashed their TV, and other electrical's out of total frustration and depression there is constantly verbal altercations between inmates and correctional staff, on an almost daily basis.

Some inmates are effectively being punished in various ways without there even being any unlawful incidents, charges laid or formal disciplinary action been taken.

This is not the regime of a normal discipline inmate in fact this current HRMU regime is not even a standard segregation regime.

The rest of the NSW prison system (normal discipline especially) is not being subjected to this kind of treatment, so why are we being subjected to this kind of treatment? We all strongly feel that this is total discrimination and unfair treatment and abuse of power by the authorities.

We declare that it is affecting the prisoners mentally and physically.

It seems clear to us all that under this HRMU regime we are only heading in one direction a counter productive negative one.

The complaints and grievances in regards to our current living conditions are as follows:

We are unable to get any fresh air in our cells at night through any open window. Instead we have to breathe in stale recycled air from air vents 24 hours a day. No other normal discipline prisoners are being subjected to this.

We are unable to associate together as normal discipline inmates; the best we can get is to associate with one other inmate at a time. And were separated into racial groups. This is not normal discipline.

We have no education or teachers permanent or even regular in the HRMU, we think this is very disturbing and appalling. We are being deprived of having unlimited access or even daily access to the phone to ring our friends, family and spouses outside. All other normal discipline prisoners across the state have unlimited access to a phone every day.

The H RMU has the facilities to allow inmate to ring up every day without disturbing the security and good order of the jail, yet they refuse to let us have any more than a few phone calls a week.

Obviously the phone is a major part of being able to maintain relationships with loved ones "especially whilst in prison" so why are we being deprived of a major part of our rehabilitation "contact with loved ones?" This is purely and simply a form of punishment and we feel it is most disturbing and appalling.

We are not allowed to have our own electrical items, which we have purchased through the prison activities buy ups. Obviously due to security reasons, which we can understand, ie TV, RADIO, JUG, SANDWICH MAKER, RICE COOKERS, WALKMANS, CD, PLAYERS, FAN. So the HRMU has to compensate for this and supply us with all those things.

But there's a catch, they have now turned our daily belongings into a long drawn out mind game, so effectively they can play God with items that are not even an issue to all other normal discipline inmates unless they have been charged or had disciplinary action taken against them and been taken off amenities, but to the HRMU program it takes us roughly a few months of sitting around in an isolation cell with nothing just to get a jug or a radio and if lucky a TV.

Then we have to wait till we are all the way to the end of the program just to get a sandwich maker, that's roughly 12 to 18 months minimal and without a single charge or any formal disciplinary action been taken, it can all be taken away from you instantly if the correctional staff wish to do so.

We have no equipment to cook a hot meal in our cells at night and they wont give us any or let us have our own rice cooker, and Goulburn is a very cold climate correctional centre, yet we are simply unable to cook a hot meal in our cell after 3:pm. We cannot keep warm in our cells at night because the air vent are pumping out cold air all day and night, they wont give us any kind of heating system, this is a breach of human rights.

The visits are of very poor quality to say the least, there is only bolt down metal tables and seating with no back support at all and that is what our visitors and us have to sit on for the duration of the visit, without back support our backs become stiff and sore (visitors and inmates) they do not even supply any activities for the kids, nor do they supply proper beverages for the visitors this is an insult to all the visitors that enter the centre.

We have no access to any sort of weight machine or cable weights, and no access to various cardiovascular training equipment, ie boxing bag, focus pads, skipping ropes, touch football. These things are a vital part of our well being as it offers a positive outlet for our excess energy and frustration, and also it is to help us keep fit and healthy, which the majority of us like to do. Doesn't make logical sense for us to be able to release our excess energy and frustration in a positive manner rather than a negative manner?

We are unable to purchase on the canteen buy up a lot of the food and items that all the other "normal discipline" prisoners can purchase on the canteen buy up. Fair enough if we can't have food in tin or glass due to security reasons, but why can't we get appropriate substitutes? Because at present our food situation is far from a "normal discipline" standard.

Our limited activities buy up-is not anywhere near a normal discipline standard. And yet most of the items on the normal discipline activities are in no way a risk to the good order and security of the jail. We ask why can't we have a broader range of items like every other normal discipline inmate.

There are a lot of aboriginal prisoners in the HRMU, all of whom like to do indigenous artwork and paintings as part of their culture and education,yet to this day are still unable to do so.

We cannot get to buy music of our individual liking because 95 per cent of the music we try to buy through the activities buy ups is only available on CD, and not on tape, and we are only allowed to have walkmans which play tapes, and not CD players so this is not normal discipline.

We all strongly believe that the so-called program we are all living under is not a program at all, but cunningly designed tool used to deprive us of a lot of day-to day necessities, used to play mind games in order to cause us maximum stress and frustration, anger and confusion used to stop us moving forward in the so called program at a fair pace, used to give the correctional staff the power to play God over us and take away what little we do have without being charged for anything at all, it is used to keep us in a segregation type environment for an 'indefinite amount of time.'

This is not normal discipline, this is unfair treatment, discrimination, and lack of equal opportunity, counter productive, stress, frustration, anger and depression, which only creates and unstable-unacceptable environment.

It is unprecedented what is happening to us, as no other normal discipline inmates are being subjected to this kind of treatment anywhere within the state of NSW and this is a total abuse of power.

We the inmates of the Goulburn HRMU are stating that this current so called program is not designed in the better interests of our mental and physical well being (short term or long term).

It is designed to give the correctional staff the power to deprive us of basic daily necessities and to play mind games with us and to make a bad thing even worse for us the inmates.

In short, the treatment of the inmates here in the HRMU is nothing short of total abuse - miss management and misuse of power by the correctional staff - to push the inmates over the edge - so they have to stay here longer and longer under these conditions - with no regards to there mental health or well being - not even the professional staff here will go against this system - they would rather turn a blind eye to it all to save there own jobs - they spend most of there time sitting with the correctional staff in the officer station when prisoners have been asking to see them for some time - so we are not getting any help from no one and things are only going to get worse much worse over time.

For an example when the centre was first opened there was only three stages to the so called program but as soon as a group of Aboriginal prisoners came to the centre for allegedly assaulting correctional staff they brought the stages up to 12 stages so our thinking is what's next 100 stages.

We all appreciate you taking the time to read our letter and we hope that it has made good sense and has been perfectly understandable to you. We trust that you will look into these matters fully and do what you can to assist us before things get right out of hand.

In interviews the commissioner has stated on a number of occasions that this centre is at this time housing inmates that are deemed to be the worst of the worst, if this is the case then where are the kid killers, and the paedophiles, and the granny killers that the law states are the lowest of our society?

So if that is the case then it is all right for the commissioner to appear on TV and radio and state to our family and friends plus the public that we are the worst of the worst of our society.

We would seriously appreciated if you took time to peruse this matter as well.

Yours truly
Prisoners of the HRMU
Goulburn Correctional Centre

By Prisoners at the HRMU 19 November 03


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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:

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".

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.

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
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'.

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.]

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.

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.

Smart Justice
Smart Justice does not support any party but calls for investment in prevention, alternatives to custody and initiatives that tackle the causes of crime. It is important to dispel the myths about 'law and order' and promote real solutions to crime and violence.

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.