In recent months I have been involved in a series of personal injury claims made by prisoners, against the State of NSW, arising out of incidents of inmate violence. The standard scenario occurs on a Sunday where the victim is stabbed with a shiv in a prison yard, barber-shop or gymnasium, out of sight from prison officers. Most victims have suffered a history of violence and intimidation in gaol, and the injuries forming the basis of the claims, are generally shocking. There are many reasons for inmate violence. A disturbing feature of such violence in NSW prisons today is its gang origins, and ethnic focus. Common to these assaults is the theme of pay-back. The victim may have witnessed something he should not, crossed someone in another institution, or was suspected of having given up information about another inmate. The prison telegraph is extremely efficient and memories are long when it comes to pay-back. One victim had lived in fear of attack for years following an incident in the early days of his sentence, before ending up in intensive care years later.
Law, Society and Governance
Current Issues in Criminal Justice
University of Sydney, Institute of Criminology
Beware of the Dog: Assaults in Prison and Cultures of Secrecy. (2002). Current Issues in Criminal Justice. 14, (1), 119-120. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/2026
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