Friday, May 27, 2005

Submission to Senate: Inquiry into Mental Health 2005

Justice Action makes this submission largely addressing one term of reference only (see below).

We appreciate that the urgent issues of Human Rights and other abuses including institutionalisation and the use of force, and the lack of progress on Burdekin are being examined by the Committee.

Justice Action is a volunteer organisation without formal funding focussing on prison issues. We are always stressed for resources, and our priority must also be assisting our members in and out of prison, we submit additional relevant materials trusting that the Committee will take up suggestions we have made in our work on these exact same topics prior to this Inquiry, such as in our Submissions regarding NSW Mental Health, which discuss issues within all the terms of reference of this Committee's Inquiry.

Justice Action Position Statement on Mental Health Policy:

Justice Action believes that there are several serious failings in the way public policy addresses mental illness in our society, the most serious being as follows:

- The endemic institutionalisation of those designated as mentally ill, whether that institutionalisation is carried out within the framework of a criminal justice or public health response to those so designated.

- The lack of a public voice in Australia for those who have been designated as mentally ill and the delegitimisation (and pathologisation) of their viewpoints by professional and political authorities.

- The abuse of psychiatric medication for the behavioural management of those designated as mentally ill, both in institutions and the community, and the lack of access by sufferers to well informed, noncoercive choice of therapeutic and support options.

- Neglect and lack of support for those living in the community with mental illness and making the transition from institutional to community living.

- False media portrayals of the mentally ill as being particularly prone to commit violent acts which justify intrusive and coercive measures to avert. Misleading media portrayals which promote the view that people can be appropriately categorised by their mental illness and that mental illness can be easily diagnosed and successfully treated by mental health professionals.

- The acceptance of the dubious diagnoses and untested opinions of mental health experts as 'scientific evidence' by elements of our criminal justice system.

- The increasing influence of large multinational pharmaceutical companies over mental health professionals, policymakers and the statutory bodies and NGOs involved in the resourcing, planning and delivery of mental health services.

- The ongoing stereotyping, vilification, discrimination and abuse suffered by those designated as mentally ill in our society.

Justice Action does not deny the existence of mental illness nor the real suffering it causes the many thousands of Australians afflicted with it and the millions of Australians affected by it.

However, we believe the single greatest cause of distress and difficulty to the greatest proportion of those living with mental illness is the way our society responds to them. Justice Action:

- Recognises that those designated as mentally ill are particularly vulnerable to vilification, neglect, abuse and denial of rights during their interaction with public and private institutions. Seeks to address such discrimination wherever it exists, but with particular emphasis on its presence in the criminal justice system.

- Prioritises the voices of those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill and promotes their participation in mental health education, policy development, planning and service delivery.

- Supports the establishment in Australia of independent grass roots mental health advocacy and activism groups along the lines of 'Support Coalition International' (US) Mind Freedom, 'Mad Nation'(Canada) and 'Mad Pride'(UK).

- Demands an end to the use of psychiatric drugs for patient/prisoner management purposes.

- Promotes programs, policies and campaigns that seek to end the institutionalisation and forced treatment of those designated as mentally ill. Opposes programs which are likely to lead to greater use of institutionalisation and forced treatment. Forced treatment is not therapy, it is abuse..

- Rejects the methods used by drug companies to exert disproportionate influence on mental health policy, including financial backing for practitioners, political parties and mental health NGOs.

- Supports the right of the mentally ill to access a wide range of support and treatment services or to reject treatment and services. Respects the right of the mentally ill to choose their own therapies and treatments.

- Calls for the rejection of psychiatric or psychological expert opinion in criminal proceedings unless supported with considerable experimental or actuarial data. Actuarial data should be treated with extreme caution and skepticism, especially in attempting to apply generalised findings to specific cases.

- Calls for streamlining of the procedures governing the release of forensic prisoners and significant investment in services to facilitate the reintegration of forensic prisoners into the community. All responsibility for the release of forensic prisoners should be taken from the hands of the executive (i.e. crown ministers).

- Rejects the all systems which seek to socially classify people by their alleged mental illness (e.g. 'registers' of the mentally ill, transfer or sharing of their medical records without their consent, New York style 'Kendra's Laws').

- Rejects the popular stereotyping of those designated as mentally ill as a threat from which the community must be protected. They are part of the community who have unmet medical or social needs and are particularly vulnerable to individual and institutional abuse.

Justice Action Submission to Senate Inquiry on Mental Health 2005 Term of reference:

1) the overrepresentation of people with a mental illness in the criminal justice system and in custody,

2) the extent to which these environments give rise to mental illness,

3) the adequacy of legislation and processes in protecting their human rights and

4) the use of diversion programs for such people.

1) The overrepresentation of people with a mental illness in the Criminal Justice System and in custody Poverty is disabling and disability leads to poverty. A criminal justice system weighted against those suffering either results in what we have now - jails full of people from very poor areas, who have high levels of disability, and most particularly those who fulfill both criteria.

One-third of the people in NSW prisons have a mental illness - they are locked up in their cells for 11-23 hours a day, dressed in prison clothes and fed prison food.

An offender diagnosed with mental illness is more likely than other offenders to be arrested, to be remanded to custody rather than be granted bail, to be viewed as dangerous, to spend longer in remand before court process completion, and to spend more time in prison. Lack of legal aid and general disempowerment leads to innocent people with mental illnesses being wrongly convicted. When the charges are minor, it is easier for the accused to just do the time than try to fight the charge.

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.

We have included their key findings for your convenience in appendix A. The "deinstitutionalisation" of mental health patients that began in the 1970s and accelerated after the Richmond Report 20 years ago, was not carried out as envisioned.

The community resources, respect for disabled persons and support for what disabled people say is needed, have not appeared, whilst we continue to experience abusive institutional care in hospitals, jails and unofficial institutions like locked boarding houses.

Since the deinstitutionalisation of mental health services, community care is focused on home care. However, a reliance on this is clearly deficient, considering that a high percentage of the homeless also have a mental illness.

Many community services, including housing, exclude people on so many grounds (including other disabilities, prison record and so on) that it is a wonder that anyone is eligible.

For adequate 'treatment and care' for people with a mental illness in the community these must all be substantially increased: funding, staff skills mixes, free access to diverse, culturally and personally appropriate services and facilities.

NSW has the poorest funded mental health system in Australia, but a lot of money going into building prison beds. We need to stop building and filling prisons and instead put our efforts into empowering and supporting our most vulnerable, excluded and dispossessed, to enable our communities to heal ourselves.

2) The extent to which these environments give rise to mental illness Safe Cells So-called Safe Cells, suicide cells, observation cells, strip cells supposedly designed to prevent suicide are part of the problem. A prisoner tells about the

Mum Shirl Unit in Mulawa:

"Imagine yourself locked in a cube of thick Perspex with a series of small air holes in it. The electric light is always on. The camera is always watching you.

You are allowed to use the toilet. Sometimes you are allocated a pill. You are not allowed a pillow to cry into, or hug. You are alone. This is 24 hours a day."

These torture chambers rely on such things as no hanging points to die on. But it is merely a short-term solution to a problem of utter devastation.

These cells are commonly used as punishment. Cellmates tell of prisoners taken away in the night to the cells, hearing the screaming and breaking down at their inability to do anything.

Segregation Housing Units (SHU's) [Solitary Confinement]

These types of cells include the control units and all other such environments of extreme isolation and austerity with near permanent lockdown. SHUs are the problem, not just the holding of prisoners with psychiatric disabilities in SHUs.

We have evidence of prison-induced insanity and this is strongest in SHU type places. Human Rights arguments under the "cruel and unusual treatment" can and should be launched to remove SHU system for *everyone* in prison.

Modern prisons were developed by Stalin in the 1920's-30's following the work on the Russian psychologist Pavlov who is famous for his experiments on dogs developing the concept of classical conditioning. These experiments consisted of stressing dogs and observing their behaviour.

Stalinist prisons soon adopted these methods applying them to people to obtain confessions and as punishment regimes that did not require elaborate or time-consuming methods of torture.

By isolating and depriving prisoners of stimulation and comforts, the same effects as
electro-torture and beatings could be effected, but on a large number simultaneously and without the staffing required before.

These methods spread to the west in the 1950's, notably the United States, which experimented and documented its brain washing exercises. The effect of bland institutions on staff and inmates is well documented, see Goffman, Asylums.

All prisons in Australia today employ Pavlovian principles in their design and operation.This is the science of custody. In order to subjugate and punish individuals, the State had developed these hands-off approaches as a modern alternative to physical torture.

Anyone working and being held in confinement will show the symptoms of institutionalisation, a mental illness affecting everyone in a closed institution.

This illness is progressive and is described as blunting a person's sensitivity and awareness of their environment. They become depersonalised, and such a person will regress to an infantile stage. Loss of living skills, despair, loss of control of urinating and defecating, playing with faeces, pacing, wailing, self mutilation, nudity and other inappropriate behaviour are some of the signs of institutionalisation.

3) The adequacy of legislation and processes in protecting their human rights Please see Appedix B, "At the Minister's Pleasure?" regarding the case study of Michael Kelly.

There is concern at the imprisonment of people who were found not guilty of an offence because of mental illness. Many people found not guilty or unfit to plead by reason of mental illness are sent to jail anyway.

There is no official oversight of Australia's Human Rights obligations - even the limited number of rights accorded by the small number of UN treaties that Federal governments have signed up to, cannot be ensured, as the UN is not even allowed to do snap inspections of the treatment of Australia's State and Federal prisoners.

Australia has been negligent in signing up to Human Rights treaties and in passing them into domestic law. There are also loopholes in Human Rights that allow abuse to occur. Plus we argue that there is a blind spot in human rights regarding the 'English-speaking Western Democracies' that are put up as models for the world.

In places like the UK, US and Australia, it is very easy to hide abuse due to disbelief that it could ever possibly occur here ('they only do that sort of thing over there'), and due to the fact that those in power are well versed in the language of International Laws, and the propaganda needs related to this percolate through the system.

So for instance as the UNHCR has ruled that solitary confinement of one month in a cell with 24 hour a day artificial light is torture, it is quite easy for a prisons Commissioner to claim that there is no solitary at all, by saying every prisoner has access to exercise for an hour a week even if that is not the experience.

Or, a person can be transferred around a system, never really getting out of solitary, or they can flick the lights. A disempowered person has little chance of winning a 'he said-she said' type argument. The art of legal abuse is well practiced in Australia, in all institutions.

It makes a mockery of the ICCPR requirement that, "...all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person."

As another example of the problems of human rights protection and advocacy in this field, the difficulties of making a complaint if you are a person labelled mentally ill, especially if you are also a prisoner, cannot be underestimated.

Problems include legal credibility, a person's knowledge of rights, and belief that they themselves are a person whose rights are worth defending, education and ability to express and communicate in the style required for complaints, enforced silence and censorship, dismissive attitudes amongst professionals, society and officials, destruction of or slackness in creating records, and the fact that psychiatric treatments interfere with narrative memory and ability to think and communicate clearly (ie, making the type of story that evidence requires, rather than perhaps flashes of events told orally and collated by another).

4) The use of diversion programs for such people.

Justice Action promotes Mentoring in the community. The best mentors have been there and they're usually people who have experienced the treatment programs, such as ex-prisoners, ex hospital patients or people who have some knowledge of the pitfalls and have experience of the systems that have treated them.

Mentors can go into the prisons, hospitals and mental health institutions to expand our community support and goodwill to these community members.

At the moment the Mentoring groups have been blocked and locked out of the prison by the authorities because they often have criminal records.

Another diversion that is too often ignored is basic law reform. Many prisoners with mental illness have first contact with the criminal justice system as a result of extremely minor events, often as children. The criminal justice system is very "sticky" and once noticed by it, a person has a problem for life.

The inherent prejudices of the criminal justice system need to be removed so as to allow real change. A lot of minor offences could be removed from the formal legal system, and people's drug use needs to be dealt with as a health, rather that legal matter.

In this way much needed resources, manpower and funds can be freed up for vital services that people need to allow them to avoid problems and learn to change their lives.

Additionally, Justice Action wishes to draw the attention of the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health to the following:

Submission of the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) and Justice Action (JA) to the NSW Health Department's

1) Discussion Paper on the Review of the Mental Health Act. Location:

2) Where the Norm is Not the Norm: Goulburn Correctional Centre and the 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.

3) 'Killing Rational' and Prisoner Control in NSW
The following is a case study of a complaint made to justice action about the treatment of prisoners.

4) Mental Health Tribunal recommendations on forensic inmates
Below is the answer we have received from the Minister for Health regarding prisoners recommended for parole or release by the Mental Health Tribunal

5) Lunatics Running The Asylum
This is a media release about the Gold Coast Institute of Mental Health 6th International Mental Health Conference at Conrad Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast. To hold a mental health conference at Jupiters Casino is akin to arranging a seminar on drug and alcohol addiction at an inner city pub. Consumers, survivors and victims of mental health services will feel themselves thoroughly excluded from this conference, particularly if they are living with a gambling problem.

6) Relationship Between Mental Disorder And Violence
Relationship Between Mental Disorder And Violence Similar scrutiny must also be applied to the theory that people with a mental illness are more violent than the general population. Violence and violent crime are commonly regarded by the public as the domain of the mentally ill (Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990). Public misconception about the true nature of mental illness, as distinct from personality disorder or behavioural disorder, frequently links extreme violence with mental illness. This misconception is enhanced by media depictions of the involvement of the 'schizophrenic' or 'psycho' in violent crime.

7) Death in custody: In memory of Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson 34 died in custody on 7 June 2004 leaving behind a child. It is alleged that he hanged himself in a segregation yard at Long Bay Prison Complex. Justice Action has reasons to believe that Scott had been mistreated from the time he was taken into custody, and that his mental illness was not properly addressed.

Appendix A:

From: 2003 NSW Corrections Health Service Report on Mental Illness Among NSW Prisoners. Tony Butler & Stephen Allnut, August 2003. Key Findings

* The prevalence of mental illness in the NSW correctional system is substantial and consistent with international findings.

* The twelve-month prevalence of any psychiatric disorders (psychosis, anxiety disorder, affective disorder, substance use disorder, personality disorder, or neurasthenia) identified in the NSW inmate population is substantially higher than in the general community (74% vs. 22%).

* Almost half of reception (46%) and over one-third (38%) of sentenced inmates had suffered a mental disorder (psychosis, affective disorder, or anxiety disorder) in the previous twelve months.

* Female prisoners have a higher prevalence of psychiatric disorder than male prisoners.

* Psychiatric morbidity was higher among reception prisoners compared with sentenced prisoners.

* There was comparatively little difference between the one-month and twelvemonth prevalence estimates of mental disorder.

* Two-thirds of reception prisoners had a twelve-month diagnosis of substance use disorder.

* The high rate of mental disorder among inmates cannot be attributed to substance use disorder alone.

* 40% of reception prisoners had a twelve-month diagnosis of opioid use disorder.

* Almost one in ten inmates reported experiencing symptoms of psychosis in the twelve months prior to interview.

* An estimated 4% to 7% of reception inmates suffer from a functional psychotic mental illness.

* The twelve-month prevalence of psychosis in NSW inmates was thirty times higher than in the Australian community.

* 14% of male receptions and 21% of female receptions had a one-month diagnosis of depression.

* The most common group of mental disorders were anxiety disorders with over one-third of those screened experiencing an anxiety disorder in the previous twelve months.

* Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most common anxiety disorder (24%).

* One in twenty prisoners had attempted suicide in the twelve months prior to interview.

* Females were more likely than males to utilise health services for mental health problems.

* Prisoners with a psychiatric diagnosis had higher levels of disability.

Appendix B:

From Framed: The Magazine of Justice Action, December 2002, Issue No. 43

At the Minister's Pleasure? The case of Michael Kelly: In 1996, Michael Kelly, husband and father of two, shot a stranger on the stairwell in his block of units. Michael was terrified the stranger would harm his wife and children.

He was in the grip of a serious mental psychosis when he pulled the trigger.. A court found him not guilty of grievous bodily harm on the grounds of mental illness and Michael is still in gaol.

If he had been found guilty, he would probably have served his sentence and been released by now. 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.

The Act requires a Mental Health Tribunal to review Michael's case every six months. The legal requirements of the Tribunal under the Mental Health Act is to determine if a forensic patient poses a risk to the community if they don't they should not be held in prison.

The Tribunal has found Michael ready to be placed in the community for treatment and rehabilitation. The expert forensic psychiatric team managing him say he poses no risk to the community.

The community psychiatric team ha repeatedly reported they are ready to take him into care, but the Minister for Health refuses to let him go.

Deliberately undermining of professional psychiatric teams by the Minister's refusal to release mentally ill people under his control must end.

In addition forensic matters should not be subject to Ministerial Discretion because it is inappropriate use of Parliamentary powers and people with positive reports from the (MHRT) Mental Health Review Tribunal for release, conditional release and transfer (for example to allow people with intellectual disability to transfer to jail Disability Units from jail forensic wards) are kept for years unnecessarily in inappropriate accommodation and in jail.

In NSW one man has total power and choice over all people in this situation.. Ministerial Discretion must end.

Our submission has been published on the Senate website: It is submission number 174.

By Justice Action posted 27 May 05


The transition from juvenile to adult criminal careers
NSW: More than 68 per cent of the juvenile offenders who appeared for the first time in the NSW Children's Court in 1995 reappeared in a NSW criminal court within the next eight years. More than one in 10 (i.e. 13 per cent) ended up in an adult prison within this period.

NSW: Frank Crook's article (Violence an desperate outlet for caged fury: Daily Telegraph Tuesday May 10, 2005) draws attention to abuse and degrading treatment of inmates in NSW reported twenty and thirty years ago, and a lack of accountability of management practices within the NSW Department of Corrective Services.

Department of Corrective Services fails to rehabilitate offenders NSW: Unpopular people will be forced to wear tracking devices at a cost of $5,000 dollars per unit because the NSW Department of Corrective Services failed to rehabilitate those offenders at a cost of $65,000 a year while they were held in custody for many years.

Preventing Prisoner Rape
Here in Adelaide we have recently formed an organisation called Preventing Prisoner Rape which is aiming to raise awareness about the issue of rape in prisons, to try to bring in appropriate law reform and changes to prison administration, and also to reach out and support prison rape survivors.

Torture not acceptable on anyone: Community!
Australia: A former chairman of the National Crime Authority has spoken out in favour of torture for John HoWARd and the Neo-Cons no doubt, saying it should be used against terrorists and in domestic criminal situations but not against QC's?

PRISON ACTION & REFORM INC: Tas Prison Complaints
TASMANIA: Prison Action & Reform was formed in response to the five deaths in custody that occurred between August 1999 and January 2000. Chris Wever, Vickie Douglas, Rose Macaulay, Judith Santos and others came to together to fight for reform in an outdated, increasingly cash-strapped and uncaring system. Of the original members, three lost loved ones to the Tasmanian prison system.

Torture can never be justified
I am forwarding the following statement issued by AMCRAN in regards to a paper: "Not Enough (Official) Torture in the World? The Circumstances in which Torture is Morally Justifiable" written by Professor Mirko Bagaric, Head of Deakin Law School & Julie Clarke, Lecturer, Deakin Law School, in which they justify torture.

Tasmanian prison support visit
Prisoners from Risdon Prison and Prison Action & Reform (PAR) in Tasmania have requested support from the Australian Prisoners Union and Justice Action following the siege in the prison ending on May 9.

Torture okay: propaganda paper
Mean in Black John HoWARd and Pastor Peter Costello with Professor Mirko Bagaric, and fellow Deakin lecturer Julie Clarke, torture okay for them. Question?

Prison Action & Reform challenge the Attorney General
Members of Prison Action & Reform are furious with the latest lies from the Attorney General -- Judy Jackson, and demand that she produce evidence to support her ludicrous claims.

Tasmania PAR banned from Risdon
Vickie Douglas founded Prison Action and Reform after the gross failures of the system took the life of her young son after he was raped.

The pre-requisite to visit the HRMU is a security check that can take up to six months. Complaint to the NSW Ombudsman 2004.

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.

Association for the Prevention of Torture
The Optional Protocol requires 20 ratifications to enter into force. All States Parties to the UN Convention against Torture should seriously consider ratifying the OPCAT as soon as possible. National Institutions and others promoting the human rights of people deprived of their liberty need to be informed of their potential role as national preventive mechanisms under the OPCAT.

Corrected or Corrupted
A psychiatrist from the prison Mental Health Team attached to Queensland Health made the comment that 25 per cent of inmates suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.

Mental Treatment and Pharmacy Profit $$$$$
Mentally ill patients are being kept in solitary confinement within maximum security NSW prisons as punishment, against the most basic principles of human rights law.

ICOPA XI International Conference on Penal Abolition
We are excited to announce that ICOPA X1, the eleventh International Conference on Penal Abolition will happen in Tasmania, Australia from February 9 - 11,2006. Please pass this onto all networks.

Ex-Prisoner Locked Out of Prison
The NSW Department of Corrective Services (DCS) has revealed a policy which bans ex-prisoners from entering prisons.

Justice Action: Access to our community
NSW: Justice Action went to the NSW Supreme Court before the last Federal election on the constitutional right for prisoners to receive information for their vote. The government avoided the hearing by bringing prisoners' mobile polling booths forward. We pursued it after the election. This is the report.

Senate Inquiry into Mental Health 2005
A select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Mental Health, was appointed on 8 March 2005, to inquire into and report by 6 October 2005, on the provision of mental health services in Australia.

On September 2nd, 2005, the Gold Coast Institute of Mental Health will be holding the 6th International Mental Health Conference at Conrad Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast. Its theme will be "What's new in mood disorders?"

In memory of the late Bob Jewson
Some will remember that Bob was In the Bathurst riot in February 1974 and was a leading member of the Prisoners Action Group now - (JusticeACTION) upon his release. He wrote Stir, the screenplay upon which the film Stir was based. He played a major role in agitating for a Royal Commission into the events at Bathurst, and when the Nagle Commission commenced hearings Bob was to be found every day sitting in court for the duration, following proceedings for the PAG.

14,500 children in NSW go to bed each night with a parent in prison!

Mental Health Tribunal recommendations on forensic inmates
Below is the answer we have received from the Minister for Health regarding prisoners recommended for parole or release by the Mental Health Tribunal FYI.

Parklea Prison: No calls for six days
The last calls that were made out of Parklea Correctional Complex by my partner, an inmate in remand at Parklea, was on Wednesday 2 February. The phone lines for the inmates have been out of service to this date.

'Killing Rational' and Prisoner Control in NSW
I'm writing to you regarding xxxx, he has rung me a few times in the past weeks and has been drugged to the max, he rang today twice and could hardly speak to me, he said he was going to ring you and talk to you about it but he couldn't so I told him I would get in contact with you and see what you could do! He has told them he doesn't want the sedatives but they hold him down and give it to him anyway, they have drugged him 4 times in the last 2 days he said.

Prison visits in crisis in NSW
The reason I am writing today is to address a difficult situation that my husband and my family are going through. My husband is currently serving a sentence at Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

Prison boom will prove a social bust
Hardened criminals are not filling NSW's prisons - the mentally ill and socially disadvantaged are, writes Eileen Baldry.

The prison system requires assiduous oversight
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Goulburn Jail breaches UN standards
NSW: Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has called on Justice Minister John Hatzistergos to bring Goulburn Jail's Maximum Security Wing into line with United Nations standards, after a prison inmate's covert survey of his fellow inmates revealed problems with rehabilitation programs and basic amenities.

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.

NSW Greens lose bid to stop jail boss getting more power
She said the regulation represents "shades of Guantanamo Bay", with the Carr government using draconian measures which fed the resentment and unfairness that caused terrorism.

NSW Prisoners' linked to Osama Bin Laden: Ten News
Allegedly Osama Bin Laden issued a "Fatwa" that was posted on an Islamic Website this morning. Osama Bin Laden's demands included visiting NSW prisoners' at the HRMU for Xmas!

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.

Prison guards test positive for drugs
NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet The visit is only for about one hour and any thing less than that is an insult. If it's proved that a visitor has broken the rules the punishment should apply to them. But collective punishment on all visitors should not be made general when others haven't broken the rules especially if it restricts all visitors from normal human needs like using a toilet.

NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet
The New South Wales Government has introduced several initiatives to stop contraband getting into prisons they said last Friday. But under the guise of "stricter rules" the department had also introduced banning all visitors including children from using the toilet unless they terminate their visit at any NSW prison after using the toilet.

Carr Govt dramatic increases in the NSW prisoner pop...
Following the opening of the 500 bed Kempsey prison, and a new 200-bed prison for women at Windsor the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) and community organisations specialising in the rehabilitation of prisoners, have expressed concern....

The ALP's fascist police states
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Death in custody: In memory of Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson 34 died in custody on 7 June 2004 leaving behind a child. It is alleged that he hanged himself in a segregation yard at Long Bay Prison Complex. Justice Action has reasons to believe that Scott had been mistreated from the time he was taken into custody and the subsequent events that ensued that led to his sad death. We think that his treatment may well have caused his death.

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."

Sentencing: Violent crime and practical outcomes
In addition introducing restorative justice programs giving the offender a chance to interact with the offended person if they wish and visa-versa. People are not "dogmatic" therefore should be given a second chance opposed to Life means Life!

Government justice not personal justice
Mr Brett Collins of Justice Action said, "Victims should be looked after properly by implementing restorative justice measures and victims should be compensated for their pain and suffering. " However prisoners are entitled to serve their sentences in peace and privacy as well."

You have choses Bob The Barbarian!
New laws to make it difficult for people charged with terrorism offences to get bail have been whisked through the New South Wales Parliament after only being introduced earlier today.

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.

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 is also exposed because of reported widespread cover ups in the prisons health system.

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.

People with Mental Retardation in the Criminal Justice System
How many people with mental retardation are in the criminal justice system? Based on the 1990 census, an estimated 6.2 to 7.5 million people in the United States have mental retardation. Various studies have suggested between 2 percent to 10 percent of the prison population has mental retardation.

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.

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.

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.

High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) INSPECTION
The Special Care Unit (SCU) at Long Bay Correctional Centre was inspired by Barlinnie. The SCU was opened in 1981 to replace the Observation Unit, which was strongly criticised by the Nagle Report. The SCU was closed in 1997 because of lack of record-keeping which could give a measure of effectiveness. The SCU was replaced by the Four-Stage Violence Prevention Program, which is housed within the Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (MSPC).

Mental illness and the criminal justice system
Carol Berry, Solicitor – Health Policy and Advocacy, Public Interest Advocacy Centre

US: Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System
Today, some 283,800 inmates are identified as having a mental illness. This represents 16% of the inmate populations of state and local jails. Jails have effectively become America’s new mental institutions; they house a larger volume of mentally ill people than all other programs combined. However, these inmates rarely receive the treatment that they need and have a right to. The criminal justice system is overpopulated and under equipped to deal with those with psychotic disorders requiring mental health care services.

Relationship Between Mental Disorder And Violence
Similar scrutiny must also be applied to the theory that people with a mental illness are more violent than the general population. Violence and violent crime are commonly regarded by the public as the domain of the mentally ill (Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990). Public misconception about the true nature of mental illness, as distinct from personality disorder or behavioural disorder, frequently links extreme violence with mental illness. This misconception is enhanced by media depictions of the involvement of the 'schizophrenic' or 'psycho' in violent crime. The Victorian Government's health information website, BetterHealth Channel, gives the following content analysis:

People with Mental Retardation in the Criminal Justice System How many people with mental retardation are in the criminal justice system?