Springhill: a view on the riots


Some actual background the prisoner riot at Springhill over the weekend. For those who have been following prisoner news, you will know that this riot is not the first angry mobilisation by prisoners fed up with the conditions inside.

The changes to the rules around prisoner's property have caused no end of
nightmarish situations for inmates especially lifers who have lost all
contact with the outside world. The new rules reduce a prisoner's property
to a change of clothes and whatever they have in their cells.

Those who do not have a place to send their stuff have the other option of
having their property destroyed. It is not until they push through the
ombudsman that the prison allows a few to have their property stored at the
Salvation Army storage.

Add to that and the smoking issue, some prisons are looking at taking away
prisoners TVs and supplying a TV that can be rented from the prison. From my
recollection of when this was to happen, that would be taking place right
about now.

One other concern is the rumour circulating, that prison workers wages are
about to be cut from around about 40 cents an hour to basically nothing.
Whether there is any factual basis to this or not I am again not sure, but
it certainly was a strong rumour in circulation when I was in Springhill.

Then there are the long lockup hours due mainly to short staffing, cuts in
screw numbers probably to compete with the new private prisons, to make
these state prisons appear to be as competitive.

But by far the biggest cause of stress in Springhill is the 2 inmates per
cell policy, in cells designed for only one prisoner, with a small air
intake window and a toilet per cell. That is the main source of most of the
violence I saw there, two prisoners in each others faces, up to 21 hours a
day in the worst wings.


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"These people are not the sort of people we want in our community." said Anne Tolley who will now spend a few million dollars of taxes repairing the damage.

Corrections chief executive 'Smith said those involved posed no risk to anyone except themselves. '

What really is the aim of locking 'those' people up? Out of sight, out of mind? How on earth does long term psychologically abusive punishment, poor nutrition and social deprivation make anyone a better person? It can only make you worse so that when you get generations and indeed whole communities being locked up again and again into a pattern of abuse.

Home detention isn't reducing numbers it's just allowing more prisoners but at home at the expense of their families or supporters, further adding stress on already stressed communities.

[Had two middle of the night visits from armour guard last night, four a couple of nights before that, three some nights before that. Useless equipment hardly works...]

I have a sneaking suspicion that at least some of the images illustrating this riot story in the corporate media are not real photos. Let's examine one more closely, using a website which allows a user to apply Error Level Analysis (ELA) to a digital image:

Try uploading a real photo you've taken yourself, so you can see what the ELA of a real digital photo looks like. Wherever there is a edge dividing two contrasting areas in the image, there should be corresponding line in the ELA. Surfaces which look the same in the image should also have the same pattern in the ELA, inside the contrast line of the edges. The ELA of a real photo looks pretty much like a negative. More details on interpreting ELA can be found in their tutorial:

Now, here's an image from the TV3 website presented as a photo of Springhill during the riot:

Here's the ELA analysis:

Look closely at the top-right area, where the cluster of vehicles and the front of the building behind then disappear in a blur of white pixels. Moving to the left of the image, about half way down, look at the rectangular building between the two roundish buildings. When you look closely, it looks like a building from a computer game compared to the ones around it. In the ELA, it practically disappears into another pixel blur.

Just to say I've added the above comment by the ex-Springhill prisoner to the "news of opposition" section on my site - http://dialectical-delinquents.com/?page_id=1443 - under the date 1/6/13.

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