Thursday, January 27, 2005

Put in the way of self-harm in a place intended to protect others

Sarah Campbell top left, Pauline Campbell top right

UK: Sarah Campbell, 18, spent the last hours of her life in the segregation unit of Styal prison, Cheshire. "The seg", as those places are referred to, used to be known as "the block", short for punishment block.
[ Seg is a bullshit word for Punishment, Solitary Confinement, Torture, Mental Illness, Self-Harm, Human Rights Abuse and that is State Terror.]

They are, by design, bleak, soulless places, prisons within prisons, where those who have offended against the "good order and discipline" of the establishment are meant to dwell and reflect upon the error of their ways. They are devoid of the small things found in normal cells: stuff such as personal photos on the wall, maybe a plastic mat, or a non-prison-issue bed cover that the prisoner has bought from earnings or private cash.

These days of course, normal cells are fitted with in-cell television (which, contrary to public perception, is paid for by the inmate). No Corrie or East-Enders for those down the block, though. Nobody can say whether a view of normality would have helped Sarah to reconsider her outlook on life, but it could hardly have done any harm. [However anyone who has been placed into Solitary Confinement could tell you that Normality would have saved her and that at all material times the authorities 'knew' that she was, more likely than not, to die there.]

For Sarah, there was not much else to look at. Of all the segs I've been in, not one has had a view of anything other than a wall or fence, seen through a double set of bars, covered by a casing of mesh. The mesh is to prevent a sympathetic prisoner, located above you, from sending a "line" down, with maybe a smoke or magazine attached.

Nobody would deny that prison staff - and indeed prisoners - occasionally need protecting from the bad behaviour of a fellow inmate. Jails are volatile places, filled with many disturbed souls, not a few of whom operate on a short fuse. There is clearly an argument that such people represent a risk to those around them. (Though whether a block is the place to calm their rage is another matter.)

In Sarah Campbell's case, she had done nothing inside the prison to cause anyone to fear her.

On the contrary, she was in fear herself, of perceived retribution from another prisoner. That is why she asked to be placed "on protection". She was also on an "open 22/50 SH", which means that she was, officially, at risk from self-harm. There are areas of prisons where prisoners in that category can receive the attention and care their condition requires. For whatever reason, somebody decided on the seg. [ Seg is a bullshit word for Punishment, Solitary Confinement, Torture, Mental Illness, Self-Harm, Human Rights Abuse and that is State Terror.]

From punishment blocks to segregation units. And now, in some jails, I believe, "control and care areas". Call it what you will, Her Majesty's Prison Service, it was the last place you should have sent this young woman, as indeed it was.

By Eric Allison posted 27 January 05


England and Wales

Britain 'sliding into police state'
The home secretary, Charles Clarke, is transforming Britain into a police state, one of the country's former leading anti-terrorist police chiefs [false flag police chiefs] said yesterday.

UK solitary confinement
UK: Segregation units are prisons within prisons - the places where the most unchecked brutality is meted out to prisoners. In recent years conditions in high security segregation units have deteriorated, and the use of long-term segregation as a control mechanism has increased.

England tops the EU in imprisonment
England and Wales jail more offenders per capita than any other European, Union country, according to new figures.


NSW Prisoners' linked to Osama Bin Laden: Ten News
NSW prisoners held in a "box within a box" with "no fresh air or sunlight" at the countries terrorist jail (HRMU) or High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre, (a super-max prison in NSW), are said to have followed Osama Bin Laden from their isolated cells.

Justice Denied In NSW Corrective Services
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

We the prisoners at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre would like to ask you for help in receiving equal treatment and opportunities as other prisoners throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation unit but we are treated as though we are in one.

The gates into the HRMU were blocked by over twenty five armed police. The Inspectors in charge, Greg Jago and Alan Whitten said access to the institution was being denied.

Rally for Inspection of Terror Unit, the HRMU
Letters from prisoners describe abuse which, is part of the system. Prisoners report that they are kept in isolation without cause, they are deprived of air to the point of near asphyxiation, they are kept in freezing temperatures, gassed with unknown substances, and deprived of natural light. There is medical evidence that they are self-harming due to the conditions.

Prisoner Abuse Not Just in Iraq
"The basic message of the study is that prisons are, basically, destructive environments that have to be guarded against at all times," he (Craig Haney) said. Regular training and discipline could keep prisons from degenerating into pits of abuse, but the vigilance had to be constant, with outside monitoring as well.

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.

Message of Solidarity: Greens
No where is the problem more evident then in the High Risk Management Unit in Goulburn Jail. Like the "super-max" units in the United States the HRMU uses unsubstantiated claims of "risks" to justify what is often the unjustifiable - the segregation and isolation of human beings.

Doctor Ron Woodham I presume?
"Corrections Health staff provide medical care. However, its staff's authority is essentially limited to making recommendations to corrective services on treatment. Corrective services staff can then decide what treatment can be given."

Carr's Castle the real story H.R.M.U.The High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre. A prisoner writes, " I was unsuccessful in my letters to Dr Matthews CEO of the Corrections Health Service on my problem regarding air - claustrophobic effect the cells have on me. Just recently the management decided my injuries are not seriously affecting me so no further discussions are necessary.

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. John Hatzistergos and Bob Carr know all about it having the states most draconian terrorist unit already. The (HRMU) acronym Harm-U the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn.

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
There is no fresh air in our cells only Air conditioning pumped out of an 8 x 8-centimetre vent over our beds. Conditions change with filthy moods of the prison guards. Induction clothing "one set" mostly shorts and a prisoner remains there for two weeks depending whatever suits the staff. If a prisoner shuts up about the abuse, and freezing conditions (Goulburn cold in winter hot in summer taking into account you're housed in concrete) then you may go to units 8 or 9.

Watchdogs slaughtered in NSW
On Tuesday the Carr Government reduced transparency and accountability yet again and New South Wales is in danger of becoming entrenched with cronyism and intimidations with the Carr Labor Government that continues to slaughter the watchdogs.

The ruling class, capitalism and de-valuing the scholar
An example is the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre. " a box within a box" with no sunlight or fresh air. With no constructive education, hobbies or work for the prisoners. Extensive lock-downs and security rule the HRMU. Visitors have to pass a security test to gain access. Prisoners are chained and cuffed in leg-irons if they are to be moved. Prisoners are moved into a different cell every 14 days and the guards move their personal belongings.

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.

Just lies! Powerful prisoners don't exist at the HRMU because of the security of the prison. So even when prisoners are dumped inside a concrete box that is inside a concrete box with no fresh air, no sunlight and no constructive work they are powerful? What about powerless. These prisoners are moved from their cells to another cell every 14 days and constrained with leg irons and cuffs, how are they powerful? Please explain!

Noble Cause Corruption
I am writing to you as I have been in segregation for a couple of weeks. I have had my "C1" minimum-security classification taken off me and replaced with an "A2" special management at Goulburn jail. I most definitely have not done anything to warrant such punishment.

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.

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.

Stopping Violence
We had a TV program in NZ some time ago where a guy pointed out that it doesn't matter how long the sentence is sooner or later they will have finished their sentence and go back into society and therefore live next door to someone!

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

Our very own Alcatraz
I heard voices from the Gatehouse. The clicking of handcuff ratchets. The noise heralded the arrival of the transfer escort. I looked around my cell for the last time my home since the summer of '71, when I was transferred to Grafton as an intractable prisoner.

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:

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.

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.

Isolation, psychiatric treatment and prisoner' control
The 2003 NSW Corrections Health Service (now Justice Health) Report on Mental Illness Among NSW Prisoners states that the 12 month prevalence of any psychiatric disorder in prison is 74%, compared to 22% in the general community, and while this includes substance disorder the high rate cannot be attributed to that alone.

Where the Norm is Not the Norm: HARM-U
In the absence of public policy, this paper is an attempt to shine a light through the rhetoric and test for coherency in the policy and function of NSW’s only supermax prison, the High Risk Management Unit. Its present use will be compared with the ‘vision’ flogged by the Premier and the Department of Corrective Services (the Department) at its inception in 2001.

Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.


A Death in the Box
By the time Jessica Lee Roger was discovered on the floor of her prison cell on Aug. 17, 2002, it was too late. In the 24 minutes since guards had last checked her, she had tied a bed sheet around her neck and, after many attempts over three years in prison, finally strangled herself.

Prison System Fails Women, Study Says
State policies designed for violent men make female offenders' rehabilitation difficult, an oversight panel finds. "If we fail to intervene effectively in the lives of these women and their children now, California will pay the cost for generations to come," said Commissioner Teddie Ray, chairwoman of the subcommittee that produced the report.

Child Offenders on Death Row
Recent Australian studies of alcohol and cannabis use show that girls are increasingly inclined to behave boldly. But boys out number the girls, two to one; and three to one in the juvenile justice system, mortality figures, speeding infringements and car crash statistics.