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The Forum > Article Comments > A school for serial killers > Comments

A school for serial killers : Comments

By Bernie Matthews, published 26/5/2006

Our prisons remain shrouded in secrecy producing a criminal network of serial killers.

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I'm surprised that Bernie's latest article has not provoked any commentary given the plethora on his other article "view from a living hell".

A brutal system only produces brutes. I think that is the essential point of both articles.

Incarceration is the punishment - something many fail to realise. Another thing that people forget is that most prisoners leave the prison system, whether these people (who have served their time) are able to engage in a positive way with society rather than against society is up to the prison system.

The treatment of prisoners must be open and accountable - otherwise how will we know if any reform measures are working?

Bernie has made excellent points in both articles. Unfortunately too many focus on his past mistakes and fail to see what he is contributing now.

Keep the articles coming, Bernie, you are reaching far more people than the few who actually make posts to this forum.

PS An excellent movie on this subject is the Aussie flick, "Ghosts of the Civil Dead". Watch this movie and look behind yourself at the railway station, you never know just who is right behind you......
Posted by Scout, Monday, 29 May 2006 8:50:02 AM
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My prison experience is confined to one night on remand. However, it seems to me that almost all prisoners follow destructive habit patterns which harm both themselves and others. Bernie shows how the Queensland system exacerbates anti-social habit patterns.

What the system should be doing is seeking to change those habit patterns. That's a terribly difficult task, so that any process which can bring about positive change needs to be pursued.

Vipassana meditation is the only technique I know which can change habit patterns, by exposing and eradicating their source. It has been used with great success in India - with courses for 1000 students at a time in India's most notorious gaol - and in other countries, including the US and UK.

Several years ago, I took part in a presentation on the use of Vipassana in gaols to Queensland Department of Corrective Services staff and related parties. Their response was very enthusiastic, but they got no support within the system. NSW approved the use of Vipassana in prisons about ten years ago, but has not held any courses. It's time for both systems to pursue Vipassana courses in the absence of any other effective approach.
Posted by Faustino, Monday, 29 May 2006 1:36:14 PM
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Can I beg to state the bleeding obvious?

If the killers were only given a suspended sentence, (that is to say, a real suspended sentence, suspended from a large oaken beam by a strong hempen rope), I think it is likely that they would not offend again.
Posted by plerdsus, Monday, 29 May 2006 8:15:01 PM
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Bernie, great article. I saw part of the show about the gangs in California jails (extended by imitation and transfer). The utter ruthlessness of some of the gangs actions along with the fact that that ruthlessness seems to have been a factor in the change of heart of some former members was an interesting factor.

I would like to see more open government in Qld as well, to many papers go to cabinet seemingly to prevent their release under FOI laws. Whistleblowers been victimised fairly openly etc. A dishonest and secretive government with a lot to hide.

Any ideas on how to break the power of these gangs? It seems to make sense to isolate the soft offenders from the truly hard core (but as I've said elsewhere I'm not sure why we lock up low risk offenders anyway). What do we do with the hard core offenders to protect ourselves from them and hopefully in some cases break the cycle of violence?

Regardless of the wishes of some (I have mixed views on the matter) necktie parties are not likely to be an option in Australia anytime soon so those who want a fix really need to put that one aside and look at what is actually viable.

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Tuesday, 30 May 2006 10:33:43 AM
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I fail to see how giving wider news coverage to killers would reduce their anti-social behaviour be it inside a prison wall.

I would have thought, for the anti-socially inclined people, of the sort who tend more to populate the ranks of prison inmates, the notoriety from publicity in newspapers would only aggravate and encourage their miscreant endeavours.

Sometimes, the best thing society can do is to isolate those who are criminally antisocial within a regime which has purposely endeavoured to minimise the notoriety and publicity by ensuring that nothing becomes the fare for any headline grabbing journalist.

As for public accountability, there are plenty of checks and balances within the states prison systems and hierarchies including the prison inspectorate and third party voluntary workers who do not seek fame and fortune by writing lurid sensationalism about what happens on the inside of prisons.

(Of course, if you want to get really lurid, the hotter topic is not what happens in menís prisons but what happens in womenís prisons).

So finally, "If the Queensland prison system remains shrouded in secrecy and continues to produce serial killers like Day, Nixon, Kranz and Fyfe, "

We all make our choices. It is not the "prison system" which created the monsters, they are the product of their own invention. The system endeavours to contain them and protect those of us who donot descend to their selfish and irresponsible anti-social actions. Containing "News" and denying criminals fame or celebrity from their notorious outrages only helps.
Posted by Col Rouge, Tuesday, 30 May 2006 7:00:59 PM
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i was researching some facts on family members of mine and the criminal background that i come from and i've been amazed to read bernies insights, he has mentioned some members of my family in his writings like darcy dugan, who my mother told me that he was the kindest person in the world as she met him on many occasions, i grew up with a criminal element all around me and i'm the only person in my family that hasnt been in trouble with the law ( much to their disgust) i have been disowned by my family because they would rather continue being criminals i even tried helping my oldest brother out once after he got out of jail by giving him a car to get around in, he went on to use the car in armed robberies in sydney so i was arrested from my work place (as the car was in my name and i have a different name to my brothers) only by telling the police who my brother was was i able to clear myself, i also spent the next 5 years looking over my back waiting to see my brother jump out. its a shame when criminals put there criminal family before their own family and have no intent on being rehabilitated, sounds like you've gotten your life together bernie and i applaud you for that and wish you all the best.
Posted by Gazzamatazza, Wednesday, 12 July 2006 8:54:45 PM
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