Australian Prison Newsletters - Exhibition by Damien Linnane

Next date: Monday, 08 August 2022 | 10:00 PM to Saturday, 08 October 2022 | 11:59 PM


Damien Linnane is the editor of Paper Chained, a prison art and writing magazine, available to incarcerated people in NSW. In 2022, he was convinced there had to be other prison newsletter at some point, and decided to try and find out the history of prison newsletters in this country.

So far, Damien has discovered 33 separate prison newsletters throughout Australia’s history, the first of which was released in 1912. Damien has amassed a significant personal collection which he is pleased to be able to share in the exhibit.

About the Exhibition

The P.A.G. was the main activist group lobbying for prison reform throughout the 1970s and 1980s. They were responsible for the newsletter Jail News, which had its main run from 1978 to1981, and was immediately banned in NSW prisons. Copies had to be smuggled into inmates through visits and court appearances.

The P.A.G. also published the Alternative Criminology Journal (1975-1981), which while written by prisoners, was mostly read by academics, civil libertarians and others outside of prison. The P.A.G. eventually involved into Justice Action, a non-for-profit group that continues to lobby for better rights for prisoners and involuntary mental health patients to this day

Justice Action was responsible for the prison newsletter Framed and also created the newsletter Just Us in 2044, which is only sent to prisons in the lead up to elections, providing information on where political parties stand regarding the prison system.

Contact was created in 1970, and at one point edited by notorious bank robber Bernie Matthews, was the official magazine of ‘The Resurgents’, a group of mostly long-time prisoners at Paramatta Gaol who made up the discussion and debating team.

All this and more are on exhibition at Charlestown Library and part of History Illuminated 2022

About the Artist

Damien Linnane

Self-taught in prison after being sentenced to two years in 2015 for crimes described as an act of vigilantism, Damien Linnane used his time in custody to write a crime novel by hand, titledScarred. After the completion of his novel, he then began teaching himself to draw. Scarred was published in 2019, and in 2021, Damien illustrated the bookThis Is Ear Hustleunder a contract with Penguin Random House. He is currently completing a PhD in Law at the University of Newcastle, focusing on barriers that people with disabilities face when impacted by the criminal justice system, and also works as the editor ofPaper Chained, a prison art and writing magazine made available to over 5,000 incarcerated people in NSW.Portraits of Crimeis his fifth solo art exhibition





  • Saturday, 06 August 2022 | 12:00 AM - Saturday, 08 October 2022 | 11:59 PM


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