Australia's National Prison Newspaper

Australia's National
Prison Newspaper

Welcome to About Time

About Time is the national newspaper for Australian prisons and detention facilities

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JULY 2024


JULY 2024




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Cover Story

Welcome to Australia’s National Prison Newspaper


Ike Curtis

Australia has never had a regular national prison newspaper. There have been at least 67 prison newsletters and magazines in Australian prison history, but none has been distributed regularly to every cell in the nation. We believe it’s about time that changed. 

Way back in 1990, over in Manchester in the United Kingdom, people in prison were frustrated. They felt kept in the dark about what was happening, uninformed about issues that affected them. 

The New Bridge Foundation, a charity that creates links between people in prison and the wider community, sought to help. The response was a newspaper, specifically intended for incarcerated people. Its aim was to provide a platform for people in prison to share their own thoughts, and to access reliable information about relevant issues. 

The idea was novel, and the paper’s success highly uncertain. But Inside Time (as it came to be called) gained instant credibility and popularity. What was then a quarterly, black and white paper 12 pager is now a much-loved, full-colour, 50+ page free publication distributed monthly to every prison cell in the United Kingdom (more than 50,000 copies).

The heart of Inside Time is the ‘mailbag’ section, which publishes dozens of letters from people inside prison. Inside Time receives hundreds of letters and legal queries each month and tries to publish as many as possible. The paper’s former commissioning editor, John Bowers, described it as a sounding board for prisons and a platform where incarcerated people can make their voices heard. 

Most of the content for Inside Time is produced by incarcerated people. As publisher and director John Roberts said in a 2008 article in The Guardian: “Prisoners wanted their own newspaper that was solely for them. Rather than a journalist telling prisoners about their problems, they wanted to be saying it themselves.” 

About Time – the new monthly national newspaper for Australian prisons and detention facilities – is inspired by Inside Time. We hope to be similarly successful. 

We understand the need for a consistent, accessible and reliable platform for news and expression for people in prison and their loved ones. We hope to provide people in prison with an opportunity to share their stories and develop a sense of connection. We hope to act as a bridge between prisons and the outside world. 

We will report the news, focusing on issues that affect people in prison – including changes to criminal laws and the justice system, new cases that affect incarcerated people’s rights, new policies and procedures inside prisons, and other issues that affect people in prison just as they would affect people outside. 

We will publish the letters of currently and formerly incarcerated people, as well as letters from their friends and families. These letters will be a chance for incarcerated people to tell their stories; share advice; express concerns, fears and hope; and write about anything at all. We encourage contributions. 

We will have a section dedicated to legal education. It will provide information about access to legal and social resources, how to seek and receive effective legal representation, what to believe and what not to believe about rumours going around the prison. 

We will share your jokes, poetry, songs, music lyrics and artwork. We will publish cartoons, games, riddles and brain teasers. We will offer tips about preparing for life outside prison, and how to stay healthy. 

And if there’s anything you think we’re missing, just let us know and we’ll work to provide that too. 

We, About Time Media Ltd, are a small organisation, supported by volunteers from criminal justice organisations across the country. The newspaper will be free for people inside prison, and available online or in print via subscription for people outside. It will be funded by advertisers and generous donors. 

If you believe in our mission, if you find value in the content throughout these pages, we ask that you share the paper far and wide, and contribute. We hope you enjoy it. 

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