Media Release: SA prisons/Election newspaper court challenge

Thursday 5 May 2022

Forty thousand copies of the pre-election detainee newspaper JUST US were distributed on April 20 to prisoners across Australia. Only South Australia has refused to accept it.

Leading legal firm Allens has given the Chief Executive of the Department for Correctional Services David Brown, until COB today to reverse his decision. If he still refuses, they will file SA Supreme Court proceedings on Friday morning arguing the constitutional right to access. A SA senior counsel has been briefed.

In this edition of JUST US, all political parties have presented their policies about detainees’ access to law as well as five Prison Commissioners’ making statements on that topic.

JUST US is a unique exercise in social inclusion. It is constitutionally protected as expressing the entitlement of political parties to communicate with citizens everywhere. Additionally it carries the right of people in prisons and locked hospital wards to engage in the political process and cast an informed vote. Allens successfully defended the prisoners’ right to vote in the Roach case in 2007.

In contrast to SA Correctional Services, UK prison authorities distribute the newspaper Inside Time monthly which includes critical commentary to ensure proper communication and accountability. The insular attitude of SA Corrections is consistent with criticism by recent official Inquiries into its failures. See Analysis Paper.