In a victory not only for Jeffrey McKane, but for all prisoners’ access to education, Justice Action has now succeeded in providing Mr McKane with access to the textbooks that are necessary to support his legal education.
Justice Action has been attempting to support Mr McKane’s educational endeavours by accessing online lecture materials on his behalf and sending him other vital learning materials, such as textbooks. The Commissioner of Corrective Services NSW gave express written permission for Justice Action to send textbooks to Mr McKane in a letter of 10 August 2016, advising that “all mail must be sent through the normal mail processes for checking”. However, despite following the Commissioner’s directions, the textbooks sent by Justice Action to Goulburn Correctional Centre were rejected by prison mail officers on two separate occasions.
After Justice Action directly contacted the Commissioner, reminding him of his earlier assurance, it was arranged that Justice Action would send textbooks and other materials to Jeffrey McKane by addressing packages to the General Manager of the prison. Justice Action has now been able to successfully provide Mr McKane with the textbooks that will allow him to meaningfully continue his studies in prison.
Justice Action took on Mr McKane’s case to protect his universal right of access to education. For individuals within the criminal justice system, this right is significant as it may facilitate further rehabilitation, ensure greater productivity during incarceration and provide a solid foundation for employment and self-development opportunities upon post-release.
This case provides a promising precedent for access to education in NSW prisons. We wish Jeffrey the best of luck with his future studies.