prisons

A “Homes not Prisons” event in Fitzroy on July 18 attracted more than 100 concerned public housing residents and community members from across Melbourne to the Atherton Gardens public housing precinct.

The aim was to highlight the staggering inequity of expenditure by state and federal governments on prisons compared to public housing for the vulnerable in the community.

The following is a statement issued by participants of the StandUp2017 conference that concluded with a rally in Mbantua (Alice Springs) on June 26.

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Rosalie Kunoth Monks: “You better believe it, when the Intervention first hit in 2007 community councils were decimated.”

Matthew Ryan: “Trying to get the government to listen to us, is like a brick wall.”

The Bulgarian Prisoners' Rehabilitation Association (BPRA) won a victory on May 22 when it was invited to send a representative to a Ministry of Justice working group on prison reform.

The BPRA was founded in 2012 by Jock Palfreeman, an Australian anti-racist activist serving a 20-year sentence in Sofia central prison after he was framed for murdering a neo-Nazi. It is the first inmate-run prisoners' rights group in Bulgaria's history.

US bars UN torture investigator from jails and Guantanamo

The United Nations special investigator on the use of torture criticised the US on March 11 for stalling for over two years in granting the international human rights body access to inmates at Guantanamo Bay and other federal US prisons.

There has been a dramatic rise in the female prison population in Australia in the last 10 years. This increase is largely due to the rising number of Aboriginal women going to prison.

In 1996, about 21% of women in prison were Aboriginal, last year it was 33%. The rate of increase is much greater than that of men.

Australia has the dishonour of jailing the highest proportion of its Indigenous female population in the world. Aboriginal women are 17 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Aboriginal women.

Prison officers across Western Australia took strike action in an effort to force the state Liberal government to make similar promises to advance wages and working conditions as it did on February 25 to WA nurses.

The WA Prison Officer Union (WAPOU) is demanding a 14% wage rise over three years and measures to alleviate the chronic overcrowding and understaffing in WA prisons.

In 1992, Michael Franti from The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy warned that television was “the drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation”. Almost two decades later, the addiction and the ignorance are accepted as the norm.

Anyone who questions the authenticity of how crime is depicted on television must be an extreme sceptic who spends way too much time online, questions the material reality of the world and thinks The Matrix is a documentary.

On August 3, following an international campaign of solidarity, Gerardo Hernandez was transferred from “the hole” — the punitive isolation unit at the maximum-security Victorville penitentiary in California — and returned to the general prison population.

Arrested in 1998, Hernandez was sentenced in 2001 to two life terms plus 15 years on a legally dubious espionage conviction.

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