true crime

This is what really happens inside Australia's most notorious prison.


Goulburn Prison houses some of Australia’s most evil and depraved criminals.

It’s a place where plastic toothbrushes are filed down into weapons, where the springs had to be removed from bed mattresses because inmates would fashion them into weapons.

Where prisoners are raped and slain in the showers, and where notorious backpacker killer Ivan Milat sawed his own finger off and tried to send it to the High Court of Australia.

James Phelps, author of Australia’s Most Murderous Prison, knows the reality of what goes on behind the cyclone fencing.

He told the Australian True Crime podcast that inmates with plenty of time on their hands can sometimes get very creative.

When Hey Dad actor Robert Hughes was sentenced to prison for child sex offences in 2014, the inmates at Goulburn jail were waiting for him.

“He was in protection, which means the guards won’t let the other inmates near him, because they’d kill him on site.” he says.

But the inmates found out he was coming in at a particular time, and that he was to walk across a yard that was lined with two other yards, but split apart by cyclone fences.

The inmates lined up against the fences on either side of this walkway with a welcome gift.

“They’d collected their milk cartons that they had for breakfast, they filled them up with faeces and urine… he tried to turn around and say ‘I can’t walk past here’ but the guard said ‘no mate, you have to go to the other side of the yard’.


“He had a 50-metre walk where they just hurled poo and urine at him and yelled out “hey Dad, cop this.”

It sounds like fiction but horrifyingly, it’s all true.

Phelps recounts another time when Australia’s most notorious criminal, Ivan Milat, turned a razor blade on himself:

Warning, contains graphic content

From sexual assaults in the showers, to the guards that have to try and treat all the prisoners the same, it’s an insight into the underworld of the corrections system.

An anonymous inmate recounts how prisoners would shoot up using a shaved down bike pump as a needle, with up to ten people using the same ‘needle’.

“When you’re an addict, you don’t care,” he says.

As for how the contraband makes its way into the cells, he says “you’d be surprised” at what inmates would put up their anus.

“Think of everything you carry in your purse. If it isn’t wider than a cigarette pack, I could probably fit it all. And 99% of the prison system can.

People hide lighters, knives, phones, you name it.”

The full episode of Australian True Crime is here:

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