Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Practicably Perfect

Do you remember your first driving lesson? You were to steer as close to the curb when parking 'practicably' not perfectly or practically. Why? Because we are not as perfect as Premier Bob Carr wants to be seen. The degree of our mistakes depends on our experience and reflects on our upbringing and sometimes the lack of it.

SMH EDITORIAL CORRECTION: Politicians and Reporters?

As NSW has already found, a state's criminal law is not valid if it violates the federal constitution. The High Court's scrutiny of the 2001 law used to ensure 10 NSW prisoners were, in the words of the Premier, Bob Carr, "cemented in their cells" is therefore a worry for Carr.

He cannot be sure his 2001 law has any more chance of surviving a constitutional challenge than an earlier law passed in 1994 with bipartisan support but struck down by the High Court in 1996.

That earlier law was to keep Gregory Wayne Kable in jail after he had served his sentence.

But not for murder as reported by SMH. They'd call you a murderer if it suits them and they did. However critical, I will eventually forgive the Sydney Morning Herald after they apologise and correct their error to reflect the truth!

Of course when the State government of NSW pays compensation for all the damages they have caused me, I will eventually forgive John Fahey the Liberal Coalition MP for the indeterminate sentence when he was the NSW premier.

The Sydney Morning Herald Editor either lied to their readers this morning or got it wrong.

Getting it wrong is hard to believe because of the amount of times my name has been used by SMH over these past years. Accept I'm now on the Board of Directors of Indeterminate Sentences and I don't get paid a fee every time my name is used in vain by them and wrongly.

Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions

Makes me wonder what SMH are trying to prove and who for? Are they too lazy to go back to their archives and print the truth? Sensational! Or perhaps they simply made a mistake and didn't lie at all?

My friends this is called trial and error something that has to be taken into account when people make mistakes.

Bob Carr likes the idea that people should be 'cemented in' after they make a mistake.

The High Court was rightly concerned that the Community Protection Act 1994, applying only to one person, Gregory Kable, and specifically authorising his detention without the need to establish a criminal offence, went too far. Kable was regarded as potentially dangerous to John Fahey's re-election prospects.

But he had served his sentence and had not committed or been charged with any further offence. The NSW Parliament was in effect usurping the role of the courts.

So abhorrent was the law it was made RETROSPECTIVELY NOT RESPECTIVELY and not based on the probability factors of a human being which, suggests that no person in life is perfect and no one can see the future.

SMH: The crimes of the 10 murderers caught by the 2001 amendment to the NSW Sentencing Act are, without argument, horrific: Allan Baker and Kevin Crump were convicted in 1974 of conspiracy to murder Virginia Morse in Queensland and the murder of Ian Lamb near Narrabri; Gary Murphy, Leslie Murphy, Michael Murphy, John Travers and Michael Murdoch were convicted in 1987 for the murder of Anita Cobby; and Stephen Jamieson, Matthew Elliott and a co-accused were convicted in 1989 of the murder of Janine Balding.

If tried today, all but one would, under the present mandatory life provisions of the much-amended Sentencing Act, almost certainly be convicted and spend all their lives in jail, with no constitutional objection raised. The exception is the co-accused in the Balding case, who was 14 at the time of his crime. The present law specifically does not apply to a person under 18 when the crime is committed.

[Stephen Jamieson, was later found to be innocent according to Peter Breen MP and his DNA results submitted to the now suspended Innocence Panel, but still languishing in prison.]

A Question of Innocence

Peter Breen: And then of course we waited for the results and waited and waited and eventually the results came through simultaneously with an announcement that the Innocence Panel would suspended. And you know I didn’t even know that we had a result, or I didn’t know about the suspension either, except that the Daily Telegraph rang me and said "do you represent Stephen Jamieson?" "Yes." "Did you know that his case before the Innocence Panel caused it to be suspended?" I said "Excuse me ?" – they said "well Mr Watkins has published a press release and said that Mr Jamieson’s case before the Innocence Panel is a matter of great concern because of the effect on the family of the victim and as a result of issues raised in the Jamieson case that they hadn’t considered, the panel would henceforth be suspended. "

The appeal beginning today in the High Court on behalf of Allan Baker rides on a point that seems highly artificial set against his terrible crimes. Sentencing Baker in 1974 - before judges had the power to impose a life sentence that meant life - Justice Taylor said: "If ever there was a case where life imprisonment should mean what it says ... this is it."

One objection to the 2001 law is that it requires that a court refuse to hear an application to convert an indeterminate life sentence into a fixed term and for the prisoner to become eligible for parole. This, the argument goes, has judges performing a non-judicial role. They act, in effect, as the tools of the politicians who, swayed by public opinion, will always want the worst kinds of criminals locked up forever.

The point on which the High Court is most likely to rule against NSW, though, is the reasonable one that the 2001 law is retrospective. If it does, it will be a blow to Carr. His consolation will be that he can say he did all he could and, however unreasonably, deflect all criticism to the High Court.

Unless you are a soothsayer and can see the future you have to give people a second chance or as Mark Latham calls it "Opportunity" regardless if they have made a mistake. Life is a second chance because that is the only way any person can learn in any case and trust is only gained by risk.

Those who seek not to forgive people including the victim's families who say that, they will 'never forgive these people for what they have done' are fuelling the fire of hate and pain for themselves. Instead of trying to get on with their life and make the most of it they continue to not to forgive others. Loss is difficult to get over but not impossible. They will argue that it was caused to them this harm.

But that does not mean that 'practical community outcomes' should be disregarded, because of the pain that they have.

What about the pain someone else will have down the track if the community fail to find the cause of the crime and someone else has to deal with the pain when their loved one gets killed. What about the fact that it was the sin that hurt them not the sinner because at all material times the sinner is a learner.

So ask yourself! Is retrospective legislation a practical outcome to a past event?

Those that learn the doctrine of forgiveness will learn that the process of building and organising has its failure 'human error' and its checks and balances 'judgement' and its learning curves, 'trial and error'.

Insight into what went wrong takes some time to work out for oneself. Learning about mistakes and sharing this information can prevent crime.

These people can pass on vital information that could prevent crime and bring about a practical outcome for the death they caused instead of the community being left with a total loss. Why Lose Lose when you can Lose Win or in the case of prevention Win Win?

But without taking a risk a society cannot grow or improve itself and would be condemned to medieval times instead of reaching current practical outcomes like,

Defining JA Mentoring

"The question that needs to be asked in order to distinguish between mentoring programs is; who is mentoring whom, and what is the desired result? Unfortunately, vulnerable people will often find only those mentors who can take some advantage from their situation because they are the first to offer help. But Justice Action mentoring comes from the understanding that "the best mentors have been there". (Framed #45 October 2003).

By moving the goal posts and having unreachable goals does not serve insects let alone humanity but serves politically motivated uneducated manipulators who don't see themselves as equal or fallible and have only read their own books.

Take the term Biomimicri means 'Where do we fit in here'.

When a crime is committed it depends on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the severity of the fall. Some people fall over and break their leg or arm. Some people break their neck and some people die, but they all made mistakes under the heading mistake.

LIFE MEANS LIFE? That is to say that with all the knowledge and understanding you had developed up until the time of the crime you failed and should be terminated as a worthless human being. Further that is how people are treated.

But a human being is a unique individual and is priceless and should not be disposed of or terminated at least that is the lesson you want the greater majority to believe, in order to prevent and control more violent crime.

That a person should be saved because they're priceless.

By reducing a human beings status to that of an animal suggesting humans cannot learn you validate packaging them, labelling them and sticking them in the warehouse like a commodity, and eventually "terminating" them when your done. As if they had bad genes and it had nothing to do with the way they had been raised.

The difficulty with that proposition is it lets the environment off the hook and maintains the cause like a virus and we lose the 'prevention process' and continue to deal with the 'inflation of the cure' after the damage is done.

But a human being is not dogmatic and does learn and we are all equal and if we get equal education and training then we all have the same chance even if we make a mistake.

But what if we don't equally get the same opportunity to learn? What if Life means Life? Who shall be the judge of "trial and error"?

What practical outcomes could be provided from the lessons learned by these people to help prevent crime in the future?

Surely you and I cannot afford to deny them as part of the community in which we live, if they have answers and can change after they made a mistake. Further, how would you know?

For some of the above-mentioned prisoners Bob Carr has raised the benchmark three consecutive times after they were convicted. Question is! Does this control crime when we are Practicably Perfect?

By Gregory Kable 4 February 04


Defining JA Mentoring
Mentoring is not a new concept. Justice Action graduated its first class of Mentors in December 2003. A good idea has legs of its own, and so the concept of one-on-one support for vulnerable people finding their way in society is now being taken seriously.

Call for royal commission into NSW prison health system
Mr Tony Ross a social justice activist said yesterday that a royal commission into the health system in NSW should be wide reaching to ensure that the Corrections Health Service, [Prisons Health Service], is also exposed because of reported widespread cover ups in the prisons health system.

Folbigg, convicted until proven innocent
Disturbing similarities between the case of Kathleen Folbigg and that of Sally Clark (nb. Other Meadows cases Trupti Patel, Angela Cannings, Donna Anthony, Margaret Smith, Julie Ferris, Maxine Robinson) using "Meadows law" one cot death is tragic, two suspicious, three murder."

CONS COMMIT CRIMES IN HASTE, NOW CAN REPENT AT LAWTEY Yes some peasants were out of work, hungry and desperate and had to find a way to feed their families, as they were not born with silver spoons in their mouths, Lord. They just robbed from the rich and gave to poor.

Australian prisoners numbers have increased by 50% over past 10 years In the past 10 years, the prisoner population in Australia increased by nearly 50% from 15,866 in 1993 to 23,555 in 2003, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This increase has exceeded the 15% growth in the Australian adult population in the same period.

Pat Horan released from jail today
Patrick Horan is set to be released from Long Bay jail today after serving 18 years for manslaughter, after shooting dead father-of-two Constable Paul Quinn.

NSW Police Association wants sentencing powers?
NSW Police Association president Ian Ball said Inspector Borland now feared for his safety because of a 63 year old man being released from prison after doing a quick 18 for manslaughter.

Release Pat Horan for a just community
The release from jail of a prisoner was contrary to the NSW government's wishes, Premier Bob Carr said today. The NSW Parole Board today decided 63-year-old Patrick Horan could be released from jail next week after serving nearly 18 years jail for manslaughter for shooting 25-year-old constable Paul Quinn at Perthville, near Bathurst, on March 30, 1986.

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.

Man wrongly imprisoned awarded $1m
A Sydney man who was acquitted of murder has won more than $1 million in damages for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. The New South Wales Supreme Court has agreed with Garry Raymond Nye's said that the charge was maliciously laid.

Forensic Hospital at Long Bay
NSW should reject the government decision to set up a secure forensic hospital at Long Bay - or in any place where it can be influenced by the Department of Corrective Services (DCS) (or probably Corrections Health Service (CHS) for that matter).

NSW leaves nation behind in rate and cost of jailing people
NSW not only has the most prisoners of any Australian state but also has the most violent prisoners, among the highest rates of recidivism and an increasingly expensive prison system, a Auditor-General's report says.

HRMU Solitary Confinement And Stopping Violence

Database clears up crimes but not used to clear up miscarriages?
NSW Police Minister John Watkins said at the launch of a Sydney conference of international forensic experts meeting to mark 100 years of fingerprinting in NSW.

But there are Keys!
Charles Dickens said, "Life is a secret and you haven't got the key." "And you never will have."

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, [prisoners], 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.

Should Pauline Hanson have gone to gaol in the first place?: Carmen Lawrence 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.

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.

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.

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.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research: Aboriginal Crime
In 2001 more than forty percent of the Aboriginal male population aged 20-24 in NSW appeared before a NSW court charged with a criminal offence. One in ten Aboriginal males in NSW aged 20-24 received a prison sentence.

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....

Home detention for people who make mistakes
LEARNERS are getting home detention sentences by the State Government diverting people from the anti-social prison system.

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.]

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.

Yatala Labour Prison Adelaide Going Backwoods: response
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.

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).

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 Ku Klux Klan and Patrick Horan
The State government has logged objections to Patrick Horan a NSW prisoner's planned release, convicted of the manslaughter of a police officer and seriously wounding another. Justice Minister John Hatzistergos says the NSW Parole Board intends to grant parole to Patrick Francis Horan, who committed the crimes near Bathurst in NSW's central west in 1986.

Lithgow prisoners speak out about rations
Some new issues have arisen today. A senior officer called me to the office, as they usually do to inform me of all new local orders etc concerning prisoners. The deputy governor has cut back funds for stores. Officers have been told they will issue only the following: One Toilet roll per week per prisoner One Toothbrush per month One plastic disposable spoon, fork, knife per day prisoner exchange only.

The High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn [Solitary Confinement Supermax, Torture, Gulag,] alleged to have been the first Australian jail of the 21st century and the most secure in the Southern Hemisphere (it was claimed in an article SMH 14 May 2001).

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.

Yatala Labour Prison Adelaide Going Backwoods
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.

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.

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.

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.

Justice Action calls for the retention of the office of Inspector General and a restructure of the legislation making it truly independent.

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.

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.

Justice Action's complaints about ACM to the NSW Ombudsman fell on deaf ears The Federal Government is reviewing allegations that the company it pays to run Australia's detention centres the same company who runs Junee Jail in NSW has fraudulently reduced staffing levels in at least one centre to increase its profits.

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.

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.

NSW prisons over-crowded. Gov't orders investigation into death in custody
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.