Intractable

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Macmillan Publishers Aus., Nov 10, 2007 - True Crime - 432 pages

Intractable is a relentless and remarkable story of life on the inside of two of Australia's most brutal prison regimes - Grafton and Katingal - in the 70s.

In 1969 Bernie Matthews was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 10 years. A serial escapee, prison authorities soon classified Matthews as an intractable prisoner and he was transferred to the Alcatraz of the NSW prison system at Grafton. There, life was a routine series of bashings and solitary confinement, and as the systematic brutality of Grafton became a political scandal, Matthews and other prisoners found themselves transferred to a fresh hell in 1975 - Katingal Special Security Unit inside Sydney's Long Bay Jail, Australia's first super-max prison.

A concrete bunker with no natural light or fresh air, Katingal replaced Grafton's bashings with sensory deprivation and psychological control. Suicide attempts and self-harm followed. One of the longest serving and surviving Katingal inmates, Matthews did not see daylight for two years, eight months.

Intractable is not only a shocking story of what it's like to do time but also a history of one of the great political scandals of the 70s from a unique perspective (Katingal was pulled down this year). It's also the eye-opening story of a man who managed to turn his life around in the worst of Australia's prisons to become a writer and prison activist.

 

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Contents

A REFLECTION ON THE EFFECT OF IMPRISONMENT
INTRODUCTION
A Learning Curve Called Prison
To be a Little Boy Again
Welcome to My Nightmare
Resigning from the Human Race
Surviving the Circle of Life
Mainstream Population
SuperMax An Electronic
Justice is Just Ass 10 Rumbles from the Jungle
Coming back to Earth
Creating History
Blackbanned from Prison
Homeward Bound
The Brutes of Katingal
Glossary

Back on the MerryGoRound

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About the author (2007)

Bernie Matthews is a convicted bank robber and prison escapee. In 1993 Matthews became the first Australian ex-prisoner to be admitted into the Australian Journalist Association of the MEAA without tertiary qualification or conventional work experience in the journalism field. In 2004 he was short-listed for three journalism awards during the 2004 Queensland Media Awards. He won two of those awards. In 2006 Bernie Matthews graduated from the USQ with a Bachelor of Mass Communication majoring in journalism. He regularly writes for Ralph, The Bulletin and The Sun-Herald. He is also a regular contributor to www.onlineopinion.com.au

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