Grim look at life behind bars

Brotherhood: Inmates form a bond as they work at the prison bakery, workshop and market gardens.
Brotherhood: Inmates form a bond as they work at the prison bakery, workshop and market gardens.

I spent just a day at the prison; it was a quick glimpse of life inside and of the people who called the fortress home.

Many of the worst of the worst from across WA end up at Casuarina ” and there is no doubt that it is a tough place to carve out a life.

Visiting a prison cell reveals the bleak reality of prison life.

While inmates earn the privilege of a television or XBox, the stark and confined cells should be deterrent enough for any would-be criminal. We met inmates at the bakery, who joked and mucked around like school boys, casually chatting with guards, while keeping an eye on us.

Prisoners at the shoe workshop, market gardens and food processing centre, displayed the same, almost playful attitude. The sense of brotherhood between inmates was obvious.

It was harrowing to remember that many were inside for committing serious crimes including rape and murder.

The prison warden who led our tour said there was a fine line of friendship between inmates and prison guards.

He said he knew many by name and expected most to return when released.

Despite the training programs and rehabilitation, it seemed many were doomed to a moulded life as a prisoner.

Even with some job training and cash in hand, few faced many prospects outside the prison walls and had more ‘family’ inside than outside.