History of Prisoner Movement

About Us

JA Report | Feb 10 2012


This is our regular report to update you with our latest news and projects. Please let us know if you can provide any assistance or advice on these issues or generally. Feedback on our new ground-breaking papers linked below, items 4, 5 and 6 would be greatly appreciated. 

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JA Report | February to July, 2012

This report is to update you with our latest news and projects. Please let us know if you can offer any feedback on any of the topics raised below.  download


The Justice Action office has been busier than ever. New team members have come aboard as current campaigns and developing issues present an ever- growing range of efforts. The photo above shows part of the growing team.

Our four Justice Reform Initiative research papers, recently launched at an international conference in Trinidad, adopt the new concept of prisoner empowerment and responsibility that propose proactive approaches to doing time. Ministers, bureaucrats and leading academics in each field of research were consulted and their feedback was incorporated into the papers. 

JA has been exposing the shocking treatment of those affected by mental health policies while held in prisons and forensic hospitals. We have produced several research papers in this area such as the Forced Medication and Patient and Prisoner Controlled Services papers. Our being involved in this area stems from our relationship with several current patients, including Saeed Dezfouli, who have articulated the need for change in these areas.

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John Thornton

above the law

In 1969, John Thornton, age 22, was sentenced to 14 years in prison on armed hold-ups of two banks. Following his incarceration, Thornton released a book concerned with the abuse of authority within the police force, crimes committed by the Government and conspiracies within the judiciary. Thornton frames this book as an exposé on the deficits within the justice system that constantly thwart basic human rights and prisoner rights.

Justice Action conducted an interview to discuss the interactions Mr. Thornton has had with the justice system. To view, Click Here. 

John’s thoughts on what happened whilst waiting for his reserved decision

In the following recount, Thornton reflects upon the abuse he suffered at the hands of police personnel that culminated in unjustified charges of drug supply and resistance to arrest.

Click here.

John’s Thoughts during his Court Cases

In the following recount, John explains the emotional turmoil and frustration he felt during his court cases with an acute focus on the stigmatisation of convicted, wrongly or not, individuals by the general public and reporters.

Click here.

John Thornton on his work

The publication of the “Above The Law” tells a nonfiction story that belongs in Australian history! The book starts with a warning and ends with the evidence. I took on a one-man war that began with The Nagle Royal Commission into the torture system at the Grafton goal trac section. This war drove thousands of prisoners insane who upon their release committed crime such as murder. Names such as Johnny Steward, Jimmy Finch, Archie McCavity, Jimmy Thornton and Neddy Smith.

Right now I find myself in another one-man war with the Justice System! After being assaulted, bashed and kicked by four police officers and first taken to Maitland Hospital where I complained “I’m not the accused here, I’m the victim. I have been bashed and kicked by police!” I had 28 broken bones and went into a coma for months on life support. I had doctors telling my family that I was gone and they asked on two occasions“Turn off the life support, his body functions are gone!” Waking up to a nightmare, false evidence! False charges! Conspiracy! Cover Up! In leg irons.

I invite everybody to share my story and show support on my Facebook page by liking my page and sending a friend request. Follow the links to buy the “Above the Law” book which is available in paperback and on eBook and support me in my present fight for justice to keep up to date on the progression of my case and prove “I am the victim!” I have already proved my innocence!

Barrister and my friend Terry Healy said to me “I am 75 years old I have been offered jobs on the bench and the reason I didn’t take up the bench is because I know I would have to decide on cases such as yours and be forced to decide the wrong way! I’m not going to let them get away with this!”              

Don’t you!


Oral Histories

History is the story and product of human experiences. Oral histories provide valuable perspectives into people and events, which can then be recorded and preserved for future generations. Through this process, we can build relationships with prisoners and the general communities by humanising and challenging prevailing stereotypical constructions of prisoners and their families, prison life and the prison community generally. These Oral Histories also provide a written history of prisoners and the prisoner movement framed within the development of Australian history, culture and values.


Chris Binse

John Killick

John Thornton



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