SA Prisons doubles down on election newspaper.

Media release: Tuesday May 10, 2022

Correctional Services SA CEO David Brown has identified in a two page letter why he refuses to let SA prisoners read the pre-election paper JUST US. Forty thousand copies have been accepted in all other Australian jurisdictions.

He said he believes that The Greens statement that ‘The (legal) system is…often, it’s simply racist’ is ‘provocative and inflammatory material that may inflame or incite unrest amongst prisoners or otherwise inspire conflict’.

He said the same about the motto ‘jailing is failing’. That statement has been adopted by the Justice Reform Initiative which has two national Patrons, former Governors-General Sir William Deane, and Dame Quentin Bryce. A SA patron is Ms Sue Vardon who previously had the job that Brown has now.

Leading SA constitutional barrister Damian O’Leary SC leads the team instructed by Allens who successfully defended the prisoners’ right to vote in the Roach case in 2007.

The urgent hearing will be in the SA Supreme Court at 10am on Friday 13th May. Submissions by DCSSA need to be lodged tomorrow, responding to our submissions lodged yesterday case CIV-22-004754. We will be there.

Clearly those views are in mainstream discourse to which prisoners are already exposed, if not personally experienced. More significantly Mr Brown expressed his concern that the newspaper was ‘facilitating relationships between prisoners and persons who are not prisoners’. This is precisely the isolationist attitude that leaves SA with such a poor record. We have asked for an urgent meeting with the new Minister Joe Szakacs.

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.

In contrast to SA, UK prison authorities distribute the newspaper Inside Time monthly which includes critical commentary to ensure proper communication and accountability.

See analysis paper.

For comments: Brett Collins 0438 705003