Hi there, and welcome to my site. My name is Damien Linnane. I’m a former Australian soldier and also a former prisoner. In November 2015 I was sentenced to 10 months in prison for a series of crimes that the sentencing magistrate described as “vigilante justice”. Someone in my family was sexually assaulted and I took the law into my own hands to get retribution against her attacker.
In prison I was appalled to find that inmates were not entitled to any form of psychological counseling, that like the majority of inmates, I wasn’t eligible for any form of rehabilitation, and that the educational courses available were dismal; typically nothing much better than basic literacy courses. Don’t take my word for it, just read the government’s own statistics.
The rate of inmates provided with education in NSW has fallen from 88% in 1996-97 to 24% in 2016-17. It costs $109,821 to keep someone in a jail for a year in Australia, and studies consistently show that inmates who receive rehabilitation and education are considerably less likely to re-offend. Even if you don’t believe in the rights of prisoners, you have to at least believe in the rights of taxpayers; the reductions in crime as a result of prison rehabilitation programs save taxpayers a fortune. You can speculate as to why the government doesn’t think rehabilitating prisoners is a priority, but the end result is the same; 44.8% of released prisoners will be back in prison within two years.
Well even though the the government didn’t give me any opportunities for rehabilitation in prison, I decided to make the most of the time inside, viewing it as a once in a lifetime opportunity rather than a punishment. I spent the first five months writing the first draft of a psychological thriller novel, ‘Scarred’. I am currently in the process of writing a final draft and anticipate it will published by the end of 2019. I spent the second half of my sentence teaching myself to draw, something I had never attempted before entering prison. I now run a business, Vigilante Studios, doing photo-realistic portraits by commission. I also lobby for better educational programs and mental health support for prisoners and involuntary mental health patients.