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 action”. Someone in my immediate family was sexually assaulted, and I aimed to get retribution against her attacker. You’ll be able to read all about it in my upcoming autobiography.
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 88.4% in 1996-97 to 26.8% in 2018-19. Accordingly to the latest figures, the amount of prisoners able to study at tertiary level has now dropped to 0.1%. While there were minor increases from last year on some other forms of education, there is also evidence that this is the result of a drop in standards in education quality as an attempt to boost statistics.
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. Scarred is published by Tenth Street Press and was released on November 28, 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 work primarily as an archivist, and also lobby for better educational programs and mental health support for prisoners and involuntary mental health patients.