Locked In Tasmania’s Guatanamo

P. Norden

Adjunct Professor, RMIT University, peter.norden@rmit.edu.au

Not since the isolation regimes of the Port Arthur Prison in the early 19th Century have such draconian penal regimes been imposed on imprisoned individuals as occurred as recently as 2013 with Prisoner X in the maximum security section of Risdon Prison in Tamania.

Could any prisoner administrator anywhere in Australia even imagine what it would be like to endure 23 hour a day isolation in a cell, with no television or radio allowed, with just permission for one book at a time, and no access to contact visits with friends of family members?  Could you imagine what it would be like for one week, or even a month, or a year?  In the case of Prisoner X this regime was imposed for a period that extended for more than three years.

This presentation outlines the form of the Expert Witness Report prepared by the author in a Supreme Court Case brought by Tasmanian civil liberty lawyers on behalf of Prisoner X.  The case was settled out of court after the appointed Tasmanian Supreme Court Justice read the depositions and the reports submitted prior to the hearing and suggested to the Tasmanian Government that the matter had best be settled in favour of Prisoner X outside of the public court hearing.


Peter Norden is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University and a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology.