How to Survive Prison in Australia and How Do their Penal System Work?

By | February 1, 2016
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If you’re living in Australia and have done something illegal, you may be wondering about how to survive prison in Australia and how do their penal system work?

The Australian criminal justice system is a bit similar to that of other democratic countries. In Australia, imprisonment does not have a specific length. The judge usually specifies a specific non-parole period for people who are given a life imprisonment judgment. After that, the prisoner is allowed to apply for parole.

Australia used to impose capital punishment, but the death penalty act has been abolished in Tasmania in 1968, Queensland in 1922, Northern Territory in 1973, Victoria in 1975, ACT in 1983, New South Wales in 1985, and Western Australia in 1984.

Aside from the private and public correctional facilities around Australia, the Australian government also has a number of non-custodial and community corrections. The Australian government upholds the civil rights of every prisoner and ensures that each of their needs are taken care of. They also have different restorative offender treatments for prisoners with violent behavior and sex offenders. So, how to survive prison in Australia and how do their penal system work?

Well, each state in Australia has different sets of laws. This means that New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory have separate laws and penal systems. This means that the penalty for theft in Western Australia may be different from the penalty in New South Wales.
So, this answers the penal system part of the question – how to survive prison in Australia and how do their penal system work?

Here are the different prisons in Australia per State:

1. Australian Capital Territory or ACT

• Alexander Maconochie Centre

This penal center is located in Hume, Australian Capital Territory. This prison center contains both minimum and maximum security cells. This facility houses felons who are charged under the Commonwealth and Territory Legislation. This prison center also detains convicts who were sentenced to full time imprisonment. This center is named after the first ACT prisoner – Alexander Maconochie.

• Belconnen Remand Centre

This is located in Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory. This was opened in 1979 but closed in 2009. In 2007, a thorough investigation was conducted on human rights violations in this prison.

•Symonston Periodic Detention Center

This detention center is located in Symonston, ACT. It is a minimum-security prison and it is formerly known as Quamby Children’s Remand Centre. The age of criminal responsibility in Australian Capital Territory is 10 years. This detention center serves as a shelter for individuals who committed crimes at a young age.

2. New South Wales

• Bathurst Correctional Complex

This houses prisoners that are charged under the NSW and Commonwealth law. This is operated by the Corrective Services NSW. This facility has a minimum-security cell block known as X Wing.

•Berrima Correction Center

This prison was built in 1836. The first serial killer in Australia was executed in this facility in 1842. This prison was closed in 2011.

•Broken Hill Correctional Centre

This is a correctional facility that houses both male and female convicts.

•Cooma Correctional Centre

This is a minimum to medium security prison located in Cooma, New South Wales. This is also operated by Corrective Service NSW. Most prisoners who are held in protective custody (such as former prison wardens, police officers, military men, whistle blowers, and high profile criminals) are housed in this facility.

•Junee Correctional Centre

This correctional centre is operated by a private entity called GEO Group Australia PTY LTD.

•Lightgow Correctional Centre

This is located in Lightgow and it is about 152 kilometers west of Sydney. There was a controversy in this prison when authorities discovered that a number of prisoners use mobile phones.

3. Northern Territory

•Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre

This detention centre is located in Berrimah. This prison is mostly for juvenile offenders.

•Doug Owston Correctional Centre

This prison is located in Holtze, Northern Territory, Australia. This prison has various rehabilitation programs and it has about 1000 beds. It also has a 30-bed mental health center and 48-bed center for community-based offenders.

4. Queensland

•Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre

This is located in Brisbane, Australia. This is a high security prison that accommodates prisoners while they are waiting for trial.

•Capricornia Correctional Centre

This correctional center is located in Central Queensland, Australia. This prison has both low- and high-security facilities and it can hold up to 500 inmates.

5. South Australia

•Adelaide Remand Center

This is the maximum prison in Adelaide. This is used to hold prisoners as they wait for trial.

•Port Lincoln Prison

This prison is located in Port Lincoln, South Australia. This prison is located 650 km from Adelaide. It houses about 200 prisoners.

6. Tasmania

•Ashley Youth Detention Centre

This is located outside Deloraine, Tasmania. This facility houses 10-year-old and 18-year-old convicts.

•Hobart Reception Centre

This is a maximum security prison for people who are held on remand. This facility is located in Hobart, Tasmania.

There are other prison facilities in Tasmania. But, how do you really survive prison in Australia? People who have been imprisoned in Australia have imparted the following tips:

1. Do not use the term “inmate” because this is offensive in Australia.

2. Do not establish close relations with the prison guards. If you are being too friendly to the guards, you will be branded as a rat or as an informant, so it will be difficult for you to establish good relationships with fellow prisoners.

3. Do not walk on the freshly mopped floor. This is disrespectful and you’ll probably get bitch slapped. One prisoner did this for three consecutive days and on the third day, he was stabbed to death (using a fork) by the one assigned to mop the floor.

4. Don’t cut in if you’re in a line for the telephone.

5. Do not discuss your crime. To establish a good relationship with your mates, it’s important not to talk about your crime especially if it’s a sexual offense. Sex offenders are the frequent targets of brutality and rape.

6. Do not stare at another prisoner. As much as possible, keep your head down, especially if you are a white collar convict. You may become a target of violence.

So, this answers the question – how to survive prison in Australia and how do their penal system work? But, don’t worry. Before you enter any correctional facility in Australia, you’ll be asked to watch a video so you will know how to act inside the prison and when to call your loved ones.

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