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Podcast unlocks gate to prison security and intelligence

Last published on 15 Mar 2021 in Media Releases

Some inmates actually ask to be sent to Australia’s most secure prison, Supermax, because it’s considered a status symbol among the prisoner population, a new podcast reveals.

The six-part Behind the Walls is a ground-breaking podcast series, which for the first time takes listeners on an insider’s journey into NSW prisons and parole offices.

Download images for ep two here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/B1e0U9iX4K

Custodial director Craig Smith is interviewed for the second episode, Security, released this week, and said inmates who are behaving badly in other prisons often ask to be sent to Supermax.

“Supermax is to house the worst of the worst: it’s terrorists, people that have means and ways to escape, get out, hurt and intimidate,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s a very controlled environment, but for some of them it’s a status thing to say - in the inmate hierarchy – ‘I’ve been sent to Goulburn and I was in Supermax’.”

Behind the Walls host Michael Duffy said the attitude was perplexing given Supermax’s regimented day for the 50 inmates who currently call it home.

“Life in Supermax isn’t much fun – if you leave your cell, you’re shackled and guarded by four officers,” Mr Duffy said.

“Supermax is for inmates who pose a genuine danger within the prison system, including violent men like the late Ivan Milat, and terrorists who might radicalise other inmates.”

Mr Duffy interviewed 30 correctional officers for the podcast series, with the second episode focusing on the ‘dynamic security’ within a prison.

It includes interviews with officers from Silverwater’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre, Long Bay, Bathurst, Lithgow, Kirkconnell, Cooma, Macquarie, Dawn De Loas and Emu Plains correctional centres.

“There’s no doubt that security is the core function of a prison, but security means much more than just locking people up and watching them from towers so they don’t escape,” Mr Duffy said.

“It means keeping inmates from attacking each other, or rioting, or attacking our officers or prison property.

“That means our officers need to know what’s going on among the inmate population. To do that, they have to walk among the inmates, talk to them, gather and respond to intelligence.”

Episode two, Behind the Walls: Security will be available for free on all good podcast apps on 18 March. New episodes will be dropped every Thursday.
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