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Nominated in the True Crime Category for the 8th Davitt Awards. These awards recognise the best crime novels and true crime books written by Australian women, published in 2007. 29 October 2007 marks twenty years since the death of five prisoners in a riot and fire in the infamous Jika Jika high-security unit. This book resurrects these events and invites us to learn urgent lessons in our current age of supermax and privatised prisons, detention of asylum seekers and the controversial use of indefinite detention under the banner of a 'war on terror'. Imprisoning Resistance provides an experiential account of life and death in the controversial Pentridge Prison Jika Jika High-Security Unit in Victoria during the 1980s. One of Australia's first hi-tech supermax prisons, Jika Jika was designed to house and manage the system's 'worst of the worst' prisoners. Several years of deaths in custody, multiple escapes, assaults, murders, prisoner campaigns and protests, hunger strikes and allegations of prison staff brutality escalated in 1987 to a dramatic protest fire that resulted in the deaths of five prisoners. The prison was closed and a series of inquiries were commissioned. Bree Carlton revisits this uncomfortable past and reconstructs events leading up to and surrounding the fire and deaths, while critically analysing official responses to the discreditable episodes, crises and deaths that plagued Jika Jika.
Recapturing Freedom is about the experience of long-term prisoners as they prepare for release. Dot Goulding shows the connection between the institutionalisation that strips inmates of their identity in order to make them tractable, and their subsequent, all-too-common failure to cope with life on the outside. Her book is based on extensive in-depth interviews with male and female prisoners. Recurring themes are the relentless surveillance and control to which prisoners are subjected, and the centrality of violence and brutalisation in the prison experience - group violence, sexual violence and, according to the interviewees, violence which is officially sanctioned. Recapturing Freedom shows why most long-term prisoners find freedom so hard to recapture - physically free but mentally still locked into a subculture of brutality, isolation and deprivation, it is most often prison that recaptures them. Goulding finishes her book with suggestions on how, taking account of the actual experiences of prisoners, this endless cycle of recidivism might be stopped.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the New Zealand government took more than 100,000 children from experiences of strife, neglect, poverty or family violence and placed them under state care in residential facilities. In homes like Epuni and Kingslea, Kohitere and Allendale, the state took over as parent. The state failed. Within institutions, children faced abysmal conditions, limited education and social isolation. They endured physical, sexual and psychological violence, as well as secure cells, knock-out sedatives and electro-convulsive therapy. This book tells the story of 105 New Zealanders who experienced this mass institutionalisation. Informed by thousands of pages of Child Welfare accounts, letters, health reports, legal statements as well as interviews, Stanley tells the children’s story: growing up in homes characterised by violence and neglect; removal into the State’s ‘care’ network; daily life in the institutions; violence and punishment; and the legacy of this treatment for victims today. The state masqueraded as a good parent, but its violence and negligence made things worse for children. This book is a moving account of the experiences of those placed into state care, and a powerful call for redress and change. It was over and over, it wasn’t just one night, it was many drunken nights, you know the smell of alcohol and stuff like that. I was often beaten . . . I got so used to the beatings that I never used to cry any more . . . I hid under the cot, and every time I knew they were coming I’d have to come out and just be prepared for anything – Ed He said to me ‘You’re going somewhere’. He said it with glee. ‘You’re going somewhere where they know how to treat people like you’. It was like he knew what the place [Hokio] was like and what was in store for me and it gave him a great deal of pleasure. I find that really cruel – Ray . . . I remember looking out the window and said ‘There’s police out there, what’s going on?’ Yeah and they’d come to pick me up, to put me in the girls’ home . . . I was just in shock . . . they wanted to take me. ‘What have I done? . . . The police just took me down to the station...and then the social worker took me from there to Bollard and then I was chucked in the cells. – Nanette

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