Writing to prisoners should be encouraged because communication is a two way street, and this gives people 'outside prison' important 'access' into prison life, often the only chance of expression for prisoners.
Addressees contact details:
The prisoners Name and Address are important so the letter can be identified.
Re: The reference 'date' the letter responded to and the 'issue' responded to.
The current date somewhere on the letter is important to a prisoner because of the time frame it takes for them to send or receive letters.
Sending or receiving letters from prison can some times take weeks because of 'security' and because the material is read by the Department of Corrective services first.
After the letter is read by the department's staff it is then passed onto the prisoner. But sometimes if the officer decides that the material is "contraband" then the letter may be withheld and placed into the prisoner's property until the end of their sentence and they don't get it at all.
If the prisoner has a 'date' on the letter then the prisoner can understand better what letter you are referring to and whether he/she has received it.
Mr John Smith
Re your letter dated 10th July 2004, about your conditions.
In response to your letter dated 26th July 2004, did you get my last letter?
You say that you need legal advice.
I am not a solicitor and I cannot give you legal advice however you could contact the Prisoners Legal Service by placing your name on the list in the wing office at your prison.
Let us know how you get on.
Dated: 26th July 2004
Prisoners don't need advice as such unless they specifically ask for it. Rather they need a chance of 'expression' (getting it off their chest!) or a way to 'alert' someone about how it is for them.
If you're not a lawyer then the statement, 'I am not a solicitor and I cannot give you legal advice' is important so that the prisoner cannot be confused about whether the advice you are giving them is legal advice.
Healing prisoners should be part of their rehabilitation and I encourage it a lot. Reading the material sent to you from a prisoner and feeding it back to them can actually help especially when the prisoner seems upset or despondent. It's a good idea to feedback to them some of the things they have said in their letter as well.
It can get pretty rotten and uncomfortable in prison, so just by telling their story prisoners can be healed and perhaps become more calm, accepting and less worried or frustrated about how the system is treating them.
Knowing someone else knows how it is for them as well as getting support means they are not on their own.
Ms Mary Smith
Re your letter dated 10th July 2004, about lockdowns
In response to your letter dated 26th July 2004, you say, "that you have been' locked in your cell for 23 hours a day for two weeks and you don't get time to do your washing."
You have also said the reason you are locked in your cell is because the 'screws are on strike' and that makes you 'angry.'
I contacted the prison and they told me the strike is indefinite I am sorry.
Is there anything else I can do?
Let us know how you get on.
26th July 2004.
Note that I have fed back to the prisoner what he/she has said the problem is.
"That the prisoner has been 'locked in her cell for 23 hours a day for two weeks."
As well, what that means to the prisoner.
'You don't get time to do your washing'.
And the feeling the prisoner has expressed in this case,
If the prisoner asks any questions and you wish to help then help but try to stay on the subject specifically asked about, unless they asked another question. Avoid trying to continue to give the prisoners advice they don't need. Always acknowledge their feelings and feedback only constructive material to them if you can.
It's a good idea to always say, 'Let us know how you get on' at the end of your letter so that they know you care and will stand by them if they need support. In other words your support is not a loose end - but solid support.
It is a good idea to get prisoners to initiate their own complaints to 'funded agencies' like 'authorities' or arms of government.
If they are dissatisfied with the response they have received from funded bodies who suppose to have the responsibility to deal with the complaint then you can assist them by contacting these departments on the prisoner's behalf yourself - as backup.
The reason this helps is because prisoners can be 'ignored' and 'treated differently' and because they have little access' by being locked up all the time. They have little time to argue with authorities - and some who just don't care.
But before you do make sure the prisoner has asked for your help. If you can help then tell them what you propose to do for them. Ask them if that is what they wish.
A good idea to initiate this process of agreement is to send them an authority, which is also required under the Privacy Act - before you can get any private information on their behalf.
I authorise and instruct (writers name), of (your address) and (Phone Number), to act on my behalf in relation to my treatment and the conditions and services at (name of prison) at (address of prison). This includes my authority to obtain copies of all records, documents and information regarding me held by the Department of Corrective Services and Justice Health.
By sending them an authority and having them sign the agreement you sent then you could ask for information and receive information on their behalf.
Remember all prisoners are disabled from the time they go to prison until they get out regardless if they have a disability or not because they are locked up so much and cannot get to facilities. Neither do prisoners have the resources like we do in the community such as money or access to computers or education or the post box for that matter, when they need the access.
Always acknowledge a letter sent to you from a prisoner and keep a copy of the letter you sent them yourself.
All relatives and friends of prisoners need to treat the prison system like a hospital.
Phone them or write to the governor of the prison.
You want to know where your relative or friends are? What prison they are in? What part of the prison are they in? Wing and cell number. Why are they being moved? Why aren't they being moved? Where have they moved?
How long will they be at the new location? What programs are they getting? How come they are not getting medical attention? Who is their doctor? Why are they being segregated? Isolated? Solitary confined?
How long will they be in this situation? Why are they locked up 23 hours out of 24 hours a day? How come the psychiatrist is medicating them? Do they have a constructive lifestyle? What is their case management plan? Etc etc.
By Gregory Kable posted 30 July 04
Toe-by-Toe: Award winning literacy program
I came across an Award winning literacy program in the UK on a recent trip, where literate prisoners teach illiterate prisoners how to read.
Bronson Blessington: PETITION
To Her Excellency the Honourable Marie Bashir, AC, Governor of New South Wales. WHEREAS, under the Royal prerogative of mercy Your Excellency has discretion to grant a pardon to a convicted offender.
Bronson Blessington: Testimony from my prison cell
Hello, my name is Bronson Blessington. I write this testimony from my prison cell where I have just spent the last 16 years of my life. I came to prison when I was 14 years old. I am now 30.
Bronson Blessington speaks out
Hello my name is Bronson Blessington. I am writing this letter to you in the hope that you will be able to give me some assistance. I have been in prison now for 15 and 1/2 years. I was given a life sentence when I was 14 years old.
A review of psychiatry, law and politics in Victoria
If non-expert appraisals of 'normal behavior' can be condoned, it nonetheless has to be the case that the behavior under scrutiny takes place in a 'normal' environment, in which a human being can be expected to function normally.
PRISON 'THIS INDEFINITE IDEA'
My name is Steve and I'm at Palen Creek Prison Farm near Rathdowney in Queensland. I was the subject on an "Intelligence Report" written by a QLD prison officer in 1996.
20 Million for trial and no Legal Aid to appeal?
Why don't we want to know the truth? Because the government, police, lower-courts and the prison including the Prisoners Legal Service have decided what the truth is for us! Without getting to the end of the appeal process where the case has been professionally put before judges so they can impartially and objectively interpret the law.
Violent prisoners in anger-control trial?
Prisoners with a history of murder, sex attacks, bashings and stabbings are taking courses in anger management to control their *primal urge* to violence. But is there a *primal urge to violence* and if there is then where did it come from?
NSW Prisoner Hunger Strike: Ivan Milat day 28
Hello, I hope all is fine with you. Thank you for the letter dated 8th March, received today 12th, very inspiring. Forgive me for that incoherent eight pager I wrote out, what had occurred. I was three-four days into this protest, no eating any food.
HRMU: Harm-U for Hicks, Habib?
At the HRMU there are no minimum standard guidelines adhered to and security of the prison over-rules the prisoner's medical needs. Prisoners are self-harming because of the environment they are kept in already.
Today Paedophiles TOMORROW You!
This legislation came to the for during the campaign for the State election in March 2003, Carr announced a plan to introduce child sex offender orders in New South Wales, to restrict the movement of convicted paedophiles in places frequented by children.
Obituary: Garry Nye born 3/4/52 died 1/3/04
On July 24 1991, in a massive operation that traumatised his children and destroyed his house, NSW police arrested him for the murder of criminal Ray Thurgar, using a discredited informer's flimsy evidence.
Cheney's bid for review denied
Cheney asked the court to appoint a judge to review his case, claiming he had been "verballed" by police and "loaded up". But Justice Jeff Shaw said last week there was "no real evidence of police corruption and Cheney, who had a long criminal career, had been convicted on "powerful circumstantial evidence".[?]
MILAT WAS FRAMED FOR TOURISM $$$$$
The bodies of seven backpackers were discovered at the Belanglo Forest in 1992. The victims were German, British and Australian origin. Australia at the time of the discoveries was well advanced in its bid for the Olympic Games to be held here in year 2000.
NSW Prisoner Hunger Strike: Ivan Milat
It looks like Premier Carr's anti Milat Campaign is working well again, his application to the Judge in chambers to seek an order to be allowed to orally argue his appeal to the High Court was refused.
Brett Collins: Speech to Nagle Symposium 25 years on
I was serving 17 years, was in segregation and had served five of the almost ten I eventually did. The prison movement outside had made the Royal Commission aware of the plight I was in as one of the prisoner organisers. That attention meant I was safer from that time on. Although two years later I was returned to Grafton with the classification of intractable.
REPORT CARD ON NSW PRISONS
Ending the 'institutionalised bash' now replaced by the institutionalised 'solitary confinement' cave their heads in bash. Former Royal Commissioner Justice John Nagle and Professor Tony Vinson are the keynote speakers at a seminar this week marking 25 years since the landmark Nagle Report into NSW prisons.
Jails the new asylums?
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Asylum seekers -- no, not what you think -- but those who are so disillusioned with the current approach of our mental health system that they believe we should go back to the old ways and rebuild the asylums.
Inside Out Community Forum
Inside Out Association of NSW Incorporated is a newly formed initiative aiming towards developing genuine educational, rehabilitative, and re-integrative programs and assistance packages for prisoners and others effected by the criminal justice system, [criminal law system.]
Government justice not personal justice
Mr Collins said that, " No one is entitled to add to the court sentence to wreak personal vengeance on the offender, this is government justice not personal justice."
Risk Assessment Tools: Justice Health
As I mentioned at the time, there are indeed a large range of actuarial tools for making such assessments, but a review of the literature shows that their ability to predict dangerousness in any one individual is next to zero (or as the Macarthur Study puts it, "the unaided abilities of mental health professionals to perform this task are modest at best"
Experts: The Prisoner's Dilemma
[One] reason we are so-so scientists is that our brains were shaped for fitness [to the peopled environment], not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not. Conflicts of interest are inherent to the human condition, and we are apt to want our version of the truth, rather than the truth itself, to prevail.
Ron Woodham my faithful Commissioner?
The Departments have all the senior legal staff, they have the brightest minds in the country and others who are willing to get their hands dirty to get the job done. They have the law and legislation which they can do with as they will, and a budget to blow your minds!
Sentencing: Violent crime and practical outcomes
It's about just deserts, time to stop and reflect, to gain insight into your offending behaviour, to learn more ideas, retribution for the victims, and to set an example for the community.
The Nagle Report 25 years on
On 25 February 2004 the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales and the Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice will be co-hosting a seminar to celebrate the Nagle Royal Commission. The seminar will be held in Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney, from 5.00pm. Entry will be free, but seating will be limited.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I refer to your article on the (HRMU) HIGH RISK MANAGEMENT UNIT AT GOULBURN, TOTAL ABUSE OF POWER:
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."
NSW PRISONS: A TOTAL ABUSE OF POWER
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.
WHEN THE PUNISHMENT IS THE CRIME AND PLANTING THE SEED The brutality and savagery at Grafton jail that went on for 34 years with people getting their legs and arms broken running the gauntlet through a line of prison guards with batons. Some of those prisoners who were sent to jail for non-violence and punished went on to commit some of the most heinous crimes of the century.
WHY WE SHOULD OPPOSE HOME DETENTION
The ACT Government has drafted a new Bill to implement Home Detention This very discriminatory type of sentence also punishes the family. It is questionable that it has been successful anywhere it has been tried.
Justice Kirby concerned at self-representation
High Court judge Michael Kirby says Australia's justice system is weakened by the increasing number of people representing themselves in court. Justice Kirby says he agrees with One Nation founder Pauline Hanson's concerns about the high cost of legal advice.
A veil of secrecy makes justice in jail a different kind from court justice
Although Queensland courts mete out justice, that justice ends at the gates of the Queensland prisons system where a bureaucratic and politically expedient doctrine of "out of sight - out of mind" takes control.
Hanson: I no longer support mandatory sentencing
One Nation Party founder Pauline Hanson has revealed she contemplated suicide while serving an 11-week jail term in Brisbane. Miss Hanson told about her time in jail and her future plans.
A Question of Innocence
Minister Chris Ellison: Yes we’re watching the progress of this project in NSW with great interest. This has been raised at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General and a working group is looking at this very question. I think we have to have a considered response to this proposal and on a national basis, we would need to have the cooperation of the states and territories.
Children of Prisoners' Support Group
Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.
REMAND PRISONER BAIL REFUSED, THEN SHOT AND KILLED IN CUSTODY A Melbourne court has been told a prisoner was shot dead as he tried to escape from a hospital. The Melbourne Magistrates Court has been told remand prisoner Garry Whyte was receiving treatment at St Vincent's hospital in May last year, when he tried to escape.
NSW Corrections Health Service: Response
Prisoner: MRRC Long Bay: Corrective Health Services [Prison Health Service] in NSW fares only slightly better than CHS in the US. Force often takes the place of real medical care and custodial staff [guards] in fact must approve all CHS medical decisions.
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.
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?
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.
MULTICULTURAL SISTERS INSIDE
Sisters Inside is a community organisation that works with women in prison, pre and post release. We challenge the injustices that impact on women in prison, their children and families.
NSW Terrorist Minister leads the way
New South Wales is hosting a two-day conference of state and territory prisons ministers on how to detain terrorists [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East.]
MENTAL ILLNESS AMONG NEW SOUTH WALES PRISONERS
Anecdotal evidence from staff working in the New South Wales correctional system [prison system] has always suggested a high prevalence of mental illness among the prisoner population.
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.
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.
NSW PRISON CORRUPTION AT THE HRMU
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.
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.
PRISONERS OFFER OF RECONCILIATION
Premier Bob Carr, Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge, Senator Aden Ridgeway, and other community representatives have been invited to receive the message from the men of "The Hole.
Goulburn Solitary Confinement: Midnight Special
If you ever go to Goulburn HRMU yeah, you better walk right, you'd better not breathe and sure thing better not fight. The next thing you know the SCU gonna arrest you and Rotten Ron send you down and you can bet your bottom dollar Lord, you'll be chaingang bound.
Carr defends prison handling of political PRISONER
Bob Carr should be ashamed of himself after giving the prisons Commissioner Rotten Ron Woodham another filthy job setting up Phuong Ngo as one of the most dangerous prisoners in the State.
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.
RESPONSE TO REVIEW OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OF PRISONS
Justice Action calls for the retention of the office of Inspector General and a restructure of the legislation making it truly independent.
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.
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.
PAROLE BOARD REWARDED? FOR DEADLY MISTAKE
The Justice Minister has released government reforms to the Parole Board following the death of an aboriginal inmate, which was due to a Parole Board error.
Sentencing innovation breaks vicious circle of jail terms
"Three months' jail for one punch in a pub fight is too much," said the victim. The victim's comment counted because he and the offender, Robert Bolt, a Nowra Aborigine, were making history in the first case of circle sentencing, a new way of deciding punishment for indigenous offenders.
Letter from the mother of a prisoner on remand at the High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre I am writing to give you permission to make any inquiries on my behalf as I am invalid pensioner who doesn't drive and been only well enough to travel by train once in 15 months to see my son Scott Simpson. I have enclosed a copy of Scott's letter and also a copy of gaol papers form I have to fill out and wait to see if I'm allowed in to see him. He doesn't get any visits. He is in the Supermax and deprived of any privileges not even legal Aid will fund a solicitor to see him in Goulburn.
WA Jail trade in 'sex for favours'
THE West Australian Government has ordered an inquiry into claims guards at Perth's main women's prison are trading favours for sex, and encouraging inmates to form lesbian relationships.
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.
ARUNTA PHONE SYSTEM: IDC Lithgow Prison
The prisoners of Lithgow Correctional Centre have requested that the Lithgow Inmate Development Committee write to you on their behalf and ask that the phone systems heavy burden upon the prisoners at this institution and their families be reviewed. I will outline the problems.
Health problems denied in prison
Lithgow Correctional Centre (IDC) Inmate Development Committee "Currently there are 72 inmates on the doctors waiting list with only one doctor coming fortnightly and usually on a weekend".
NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).
THE GULAG TREATMENT - The Trauma Of Court Appearances When Incarcerated Prisoner transport vehicle 10th January 2003 It's about 4.40am, very darkoutside and although I'm expecting it, it is still intrusive when my dreams are interrupted by the sound of my name, it is the officer checking that I'm awake ready to face the long day ahead.
Sir David Longland Correctional Centre
If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".
SIR DAVID LONGLAND CORRECTIONAL CENTRE QLD - CELLS IN B BLOCK The cells in B Block are like no other in any Queensland prison. After Mr. Cooper was severally embarrassed by the Abbott and Co escape on 4th November 1997, he visited B Block and the surrounding grounds. It was that visit, by Cooper, that set in motion a plan (up the ante) to make sure security in B Block would never embarrass him again. It was like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.
Inspector General Ignored On Womens Prison
Four months after a report from the Inspector General on Mulawa Correctional Centre, key recommendations involving safety and welfare of prisoners and staff have been ignored. Kathryn Armstrong (former chair of Inmate Development Committee) and Annabel Walsh, released from Mulawa Womens Prison in February, have produced an independent report confirming the findings of the Inspector General.
Distribution of: 'How to Votes in prisons'?
Justice Action have received information from Andrew Burke of the NSW Greens that they have enquired with the Department of Corrective Services as to the procedure for distributing their How To Votes in prisons in the period before the election.
Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions
Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:
NSW ELECTION 2003: VOTE 1 GREENS
Inspector-General: The Greens believe that the role of the Inspector-General is crucial to the proper functioning of the prison system. It has never been more important to have a powerful watchdog role than today. Section 3.11 of our Criminal Justice Policy commits the Greens to "strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Prisons."
Long Bay Prison: The latest inside story
Private food purchases called Buy-Ups that normally take care of the prisoners additional food nutrition in Jail has been changed.
Doing time even harder: 146 prisoners far from home
The United States, however, has detained without trial about 650 men from 43 countries. They include Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of the sweep against global terrorism [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's, pre-emptive strikes, occupation and genocide for resources in the Middle East.]
Human Rights 'Framed'
Here is a quick report on our Human Rights Commission approach on Framed (the quarterly magazine of Justice Action) being banned from all NSW prisons. After 42 issues went in.
Prison Privatisation: Death camps looming in NSW
I asked for the identification of the person I was speaking to and was told that I was not entitled to that information. I needed to verify the call and asked for a name or number to register my call because I was asked to get those details by my coordinator.The person refused to identify themselves either by name or number. I asked to be transferred to a senior person and was refused. The person I spoke to then hung up the phone.
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".
APPOINTMENT OF KLOK IS: 'DECLARATION OF WAR'
The decision of the Carr government to appoint John Jacob Klok as the new Assistant Commissioner for Corrective Services in charge of security represents a statement of contempt to all those concerned about law and justice in NSW.
Prisoners Representatives Excommunicated
Ron Woodham, Commissioner Corrective Services stated "[this Department] does not recognise Justice Action as an advocate on correctional centre issues." He has ordered a ban on all Justice Action material inside the NSW prison system. This resulted from a request for the approval of the latest edition of Framed (the Magazine of Justice Action) to be distributed throughout NSW prisons as has occurred for the past ten years.
Dept of Corrective Services: Rotten Ron Woodham on the ropes
This is The Freeedom Of Speech and The Press in a goldfish-bowl! Herr Goebells has spoken. Zieg Heil! (Which means, actually: "aim-for health!" incidentally)Apologies for not making meetings ... my first experiences with Woodham (then a -screw-gestapo-minor-with-a-friendly-dog - AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN EVEN HIS DOG DOESN`T LIKE HIM?)
At the Minister's Pleasure The case of Michael Kelly
Michael is caught up in a particularly cruel version of the game of Cat and Mouse. Because he is classified as a forensic patient under the Mental Heath Act of NSW, the Minister for Health is his master, not the Minister for Corrective Services. And the Minister for health will not let him go.
EX-PRISONER UNEMPLOYMENT: SENTENCED FOR LIFE
Name removed by request served time in prison decades ago. Shes still being punished today. According to commonwealth and state legislation, ex-prisoners applying for jobs must declare any conviction that fits into the following categories: less than 10 years old, more than 10 years old but served more than 30 months in prison.
ARE YOU INNOCENT?
The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.
RESTORING TRUE JUSTICE:
Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.
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".
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.
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 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 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.
Govt, police 'let off the hook' Haneef inquiry
8 years ago