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Imprisoning Resistance

29 October 2007 marks twenty years since the death of five prisoners in a riot and fire in the infamous Jika Jika High-Security Unit in Australia. This book resurrects these events and invites us to learn urgent lessons in our current age of supermax and privatised prisons, detention of asylum seekers and the controversial use of indefinite detention under the banner of a 'war on terror'."Imprisoning Resistance" provides an experiential account of life and death in the controversial Pentridge Prison Jika Jika High-Security Unit in Victoria during the 1980s. One of Australia's first hi-tech supermax prisons, Jika Jika was designed to house and manage the system's 'worst of the worst' prisoners.Several years of deaths in custody, multiple escapes, assaults, murders, prisoner campaigns and protests, hunger strikes and allegations of prison staff brutality escalated in 1987 to a dramatic protest fire that resulted in the deaths of five prisoners. The prison was closed and a series of inquiries were commissioned.Bree Carlton revisits this uncomfortable past and reconstructs events leading up to and surrounding the fire and deaths, while critically analysing official responses to the discreditable episodes, crises and deaths that plagued Jika Jika.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Phil Scraton Prologue: 29 October 1987, Jika Jika High-Security Unit, HM Pentridge Prison, Coburg, Victoria, Australia IntroductionModern High Security in AustraliaImprisoning Resistance: The Politics of Modern High-SecurityDisciplinary Power, Resistance and High-SecurityCultures of Violence and High-SecurityOfficial Discourse and Official Responses to Disorder, Death and Institutional CrisisBook Overview Part One: Power and Resistance Polarisation, Power and Prisoner Resistance in Australian Maximum-Security During the Explosive 1970sManaging a Resistance Proff Panopticon: The Official Beginnings of the Jika Jika High-Security UnitContextualising Resistance: Prisoner Accounts of Power and Survival in the 'Pressure-Can''Rebelling Against the Dictatorial Regime in Jika' : Acts of Prisoner Transgression and Resistance Part Two: Concealing Crisis Descent into Crisis: The Deaths of John Williams and Sean Downie Exonerating Institutional Liability: Official Responses to the Death of Sean DownieImprisoning Crises: Official Responses to the Jika Fire as Strategies of Damage Control and Concealment Epilogue Bibliography Index


Bree Carlton in Imprisoning Resistance offers a committed researcher's account of the transition from H Division at Pentridge prison in Victoria to the high security Jika Jika unit which operated from 1979 until its closure as a high security unit after the October 1987 fire that claimed the lives of five prisoners. Importantly... the book focuses on transitions and transmission, the deeply flawed attempts to transfer the problematic functions of high security prison regimes into new architectural setting and 'new' control regimes, in part a shift from control and punishment through direct and brutal physical violence to forms of enviromental and psychological control, or what the Jika Jika prisoners often referred to as 'mind games'... - David Brown, Emeritus Professor, University of NSW, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Volume 21 No 1, July 2009

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