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Can ACT prisoners read The-RiotACT.com?

By Skidbladnir - 18 January 2010 71

According to this ABC Article, the Alexander Maconochie Cuddleprison has been having trouble with their internet.
Specifically, despite internet access being one of the privilege afforded to prisoners, their chosen filtering solution was still allowing prisoners to send untraceable and anonymous messages, by using news websites and other such facilities.
The Shadow Corrections Minister, Jeremy Hanson, went so far as to question why such access was being allowed at all, as it potentially granted ‘Inappropriate access, such that prisoners could be able to intimidate witnesses, affect the course of their trial by contacting the media, or conduct illegal activities’.

While the Opposition want internet access removed entirely, Labor are taking a more lenient approach, consistent with internet access being deemed a human right in some circles.

Joy Burch’s comment of “We’ve closed the sites we consider to be at risk and that we know of, so they’ve been closed down” makes me think firstly that our Minister for Corrections isn’t aware of exactly how accessing the internet works nor where her authority ends, but secondly that the AMC filtering solution is just using simple blacklisting methods.
The most common downsides to blacklist options are that the blacklist needs to be constantly maintained, and that prisoners are likely to access inappropriate websites faster than they can be blacklisted.
Considering that internet access is apparently an earned privilege, and approved on a case-by-case basis, with potential risks to public safety associated with outgoing communications, hasn’t the Minister for Corrections ever heard of whitelisting instead?

[Ed] This also came in from ADZA

The ABC News Website http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/14/2792437.htm reports today that the ACT Opposition is concerned a prisoner at the Canberra jail has been able to send an offensive email to a news organisation. This comes at the time when a needle exchange program is being looked at for the same prison.

What’s going on with jails (gaols if you want to be Australian) these days? There was once a time when you were locked up, that you had your privileges removed. How are the inmates getting needles and drugs in the first place? Why are they able to access the internet?

I guess this is from a “centre” that doesn’t even have the word “jail” in its name, so it comes to me as no surprise.

What’s Your opinion?


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71 Responses to
Can ACT prisoners read The-RiotACT.com?
DavoDavo 11:32 am 19 Jan 10

Bring back flogging for misdemeanours, I say. That’d stop those miscreants from abusing their “rights”.

Pommy bastard 11:21 am 19 Jan 10

The act should be amended to recognise that people forfeit certain rights when they are found guilty of a crime.

Swaggie 11:09 am 19 Jan 10

Human Rights also mean we have have a reasonable expectation that we wont be smacked in the face with a broken glass, wont get threatened with knives during an armed Hold up and won’t see other people murdered in cold blood, If you deprive other people of their basic human rights then you lose them yourself in my book. It’s supposed to be a loss of freedom not a holiday home with all creature comforts.

sloppery 10:02 am 19 Jan 10

Maybe we should put our prisoners to work cleaning windscreens at major intersections. Oh, hang on…

s-s-a 9:55 am 19 Jan 10

Buy them an AM/FM radio and a newspaper subscription. Give them some paper and a pen. That should about cover their rights under the HRA.

Grail 9:47 am 19 Jan 10

I agree with the basic principle of allowing prisoners to hold an opinion and express themselves. This is tempered by the realisation that they are in prison because they have at some level failed to conform to basic standards of civilised society (such as: do no harm). If they choose to seek ideas on the Internet, they should be allowed to do so, after getting permission from the warden.

They should certainly not be allowed access to forums/blogs/wikis/flickr/facebook or any other site which allows the visitor to publish stuff.

Tooks 9:28 am 19 Jan 10

They shouldn’t be allowed email unless it is looked at by staff before it is sent. The Human Rights Act is the biggest load of bollocks in the history of ACT Legislation.

Skidbladnir 9:26 am 19 Jan 10

Pommy bastard said :

“Internet access is a human right”? PC madness at its most rarefied, stop the world I want to get off..

The nation of Estonia declared it a human right in 2004, France’s Constitutional Council interprets it as a basic right, Finland does it too.
Greece has a part of their Constituion which specifically identifies that ‘All persons are entitled to participate in the Information Society. Facilitation of access to electronically handled information, as well as of the production, exchange and diffusion thereof constitutes an obligation of the State’

As much as I think the AMC is a joke, and our Human Rights Act is the more terrible pieces of legislation the ACT has created, the HRA2004 is still a law on the books, and so our government needs to act within its own laws.

Human Rights Act 2004:
16. Freedom of expression
(1) Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference.
(2) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of borders, whether orally, in writing or in print, by way of art, or in another way chosen by him or her.

Still, I’d suggest some kind of ‘submit your request to access specific websites on a case-by-case basis, and after investigation by JCS IT Services, it may be added to your whitelist’ proposal, instead of blocking access after an incident.

grump 9:06 am 19 Jan 10

I’m afraid in thewse modern and enlightened times we’re not allowed to shame them or make them feel guilty lest it damage their delicate psyches. grrrrrr

PBO 8:52 am 19 Jan 10

I would not want them to have it at all, they are prisoners. When someone is a prisoner they should be treated as such. I myself would like to see supervised chain gangs working in the community doing things like repairs, clean-ups, area beautification etc, etc….

The follow on effect would be good for the local community, rates would be lowered as local govenment would not have to spend heaps on private contractors. Offenders would be publicly visible and shamed in the process (Guilt works wonders for repeat offenders). Canberra would be a better place.

Maybe offenders could also reduce their sentences by doing more of this work. I think that it is a waste of taxpayers money to have these folk lazing around a jail all day when they could be put to good use. Why have many thousands of dollars worth of glass artwork when we could have a factory or workshop there?

sloppery 8:40 am 19 Jan 10

Give them an intranet with no external connectivity, and post up read only versions of websites deemed appropriate.

eyeLikeCarrots 8:40 am 19 Jan 10

Maxxiz said :

But yeah, i think its ridiculous them having internet access there. The net is not a human right… They have done something bad enough to end them up in there. They deserve food water and a bed. Nothing more.

You heard that on 2UE huh ? *cough* redneck… “Lock em up and throw away the key”…

On a more serious note – how can uninformed, techno-phobe luddites like some govt rats make sensible decisions about technology…. case in point.. a certain Minister for Mis-Communications and Gestapo thinking a simple internet filter was a good idea.

Pommy bastard 7:36 am 19 Jan 10

“Internet access is a human right”? PC madness at its most rarefied, stop the world I want to get off..

Maxxiz 11:11 pm 18 Jan 10

futto said :

I hope they block bittorrent. Would not want them download episodes of Prison Break.

Hahahahahahaha

But yeah, i think its ridiculous them having internet access there. The net is not a human right… They have done something bad enough to end them up in there. They deserve food water and a bed. Nothing more.

futto 10:24 pm 18 Jan 10

I hope they block bittorrent. Would not want them download episodes of Prison Break.

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