Global media journal - australian edition - volume 4:1 2010

Prisoners of the Media
This place is just like a hotel.
Prisoner, the Australian soap opera that first went to air on Australian television in 1979, has achieved an unusual longevity. It just won’t go away.1 The television industry, the fans, eventhe original stars are keeping the memory alive. In 2007, the entire series (all 692 episodes)was made available in a Complete Collection on DVD, which also included a special book writtenby TV journalists Michael Idato and Andrew Mercado. In 2006, Channel 7 in Sydney hosted areunion of ex-Prisoners in front of a live audience, 20 years after the final episode screened inAustralia. It appeared in an American remake in 1992 as Dangerous Women, as Vroumenlengel(Women’s Wing) in the Netherlands in 1993-4, and as Hinter Gittens (Behind Bars) in Germanyin 1997-98. The final episode of the second re-run on British television ended only in 2001.
Menawhile, a dedicated UK website, On the Inside, continues to promote the program, recentlyadvertising the opportunity to meet two of the stars of the show in an intimate performancesetting in November, 2010. The two performances have already sold out.
The phenomenon of Prisoner has certainly been noteworthy, with the distinction of ‘a secure and honourable place in Australian cultural history’.2 As a subject for research, critics have also believed it provided a ‘rich vein’ for cultural studies.3 I, too, found it serious enough to make it the subject of an Honours thesis in History in the mid-1990s.4 There is certainly somethingintriguing about Prisoner. For a commercial television soap, the setting of a woman's prisonwas unique for its time. The dramatisation of life at the fictitious 'Wentworth' offered thechance to explore and witness what was normally a hidden and taboo topic, femaleincarceration. The producers at Grundy apparently took their program research seriously,embarking on nine months preparation before the show was filmed. Interviews with prisonersand prison officers were conducted, and the recently released Royal Commission report led byJustice Nagle into NSW prisons was perused. An ex-prisoner, Sandra Willson, was made an advisor on the program.5 Mulawa, the only women's prison in NSW, located at Silverwater onthe southern outskirts of Sydney, became the program's model; Reg Watson, one of thecreators of the show, boasted that even the prison bars were the same size as those inside:'With Prisoner we're going more for realism. All the situations are things that have happened, or could have happened.'6 Peta Letchford, who headed the team responsible for the preliminary Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 research, stressed the commitment to realistic representations of female imprisonment: ‘Therewas a need, an obligation, to do it properly. We couldn’t just go in and make some fairy floss story about girls in a weekend camp. This was to be close to the real thing, warts and all.’7 Some of the program's storylines were quite daring. Stories about rape, euthanasia,lesbianism, murder and drug addiction all found their way into the series at various times.
Prisoner incorporated issues of social concern, examining domestic violence and abortion forexample. Moreover here was a program where men were virtually absent, with a cast almostcompletely made up of women who were not only in the particularly unglamorous setting of ajail, but were actually ordinary looking to boot. No wonder, then, that it gained such a diverseaudience, even finding enthusiastic acclaim among some feminists who applauded the tough,unglamorous representation of the female inmates, at a time when soap operas like Dallas,Dynasty and Charlie's Angels were setting the norm for female appearance on television. Thetreatment of the female body in Prisoner was an enormous part of its appeal. Here were 'real'women. They wore no make-up; some were overweight; they swore. Dave Worthington, ascriptwriter on the show, noted that you couldn’t have ‘a realistic prison show without the women calling each other bitches, at least.’8 And as one recent fan-based website applauded, here there were 'no pretty young faces, no nice homes and no romance'.9 Despite its promising start, Prisoner degenerated from its earlier premise, and as the programprogressed over almost 8 years, seemed to lose whatever daring and ingenuity it had originallypossessed. The stories got less interesting and more 'soapy', as prison life became simplyanother location for staging a conventional female experience of domesticity and emotionaldrama, petty intrigues and gossip, while maintaining voyeuristic appeal via its sporadiccatfights, schoolroom pranks and sex. ‘Realism’ seemed to become a flimsy excuse for moresex or for having women beat up on each other, an enormous audience attraction. Aparticularly popular device was to have the women transform into an animalistic, uncontrollablemob, going at each other with knives, fists and soldering irons. One actress, Jenny Lovell,surmised that men watched the show because 'quite possibly it was everything they believed women were deep down, you know, conniving bitches, vipers and people who fight.'10 From herexperience on set, the shift to more wimpy storylines and pacifist characters created a backlashamong viewers. They wanted a return to more violence.
Illicit sex was always an enormous part of its appeal. ‘There’s sex all over the jails’, oneresearcher said, ‘and we knew that it would be a vital part of the make-up in most of the ruthless characters we would be introducing to viewers’.11 Frankie, introduced at the beginningof the series, was one of the most memorable examples of this link between illicit sexuality andviolent, anti-feminine behaviour. Played brilliantly by Carol Burns, Frankie appears in the firstepisode in baggy overalls, fag and breasts hanging loose, a leering expression in her eyes. Sheleans in close to a new cell-mate, Karen: ‘You’re beautiful. I love beautiful things…we’ll have ahappy time together Karen, it’s up to you love-you can really enjoy yourself if you put yourmind to it.’ An ugly laugh punctuates the scene as Karen responds with a look of horror andfear. Frankie is given to psychotic fits of rage, as when she finds out that Doreen, Frankie'sgirlfriend, is being moved away from her. Frankie was a particularly confronting character, butshe was an early example of the way sex and violence were linked throughout the serial.
Particularly pervasive was the idea that prisons were a hotbed of illicit sexual activity. As oneresearcher declared: We were committed to realism, the nitty-gritty…the sex is there, lesbians arethere, whatever you can imagine is there. Prisoners get bored and it’s either sexor drugs as a diversion – and often both. You want the bottom line on this? Jails Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 are a smorgasbord of sex. “Line up and get it” we were told.12 It’s interesting to note that writers such as Susan Sontag were picking up on the connectionsbetween sadism and homosexuality being exhibited in popular culture in the decades following World War Two.13 The connections between sadistic behaviour and illicit sex in a lowbrow soaplike Prisoner are nothing like the examples of cinema used by Sontag, where she found a clear'eroticisation of fascism', but there is a very faint whiff of recognition. Perhaps more relevant tounderstanding the way in which Prisoner reflected some of the shifts occurring inrepresentations of deviant sexuality in the 1970s, is Lee D Rossi’s observation of the departurein men’s soft porn away from the clean, healthy and well-scrubbed playmates of Playboy to the 'voluptuous, world-weary and tough' images of women in Penthouse and Oui.14 Ultimately however, Prisoner became more defined by its petty intrigues and gossip. Meanwhileanother soap opera about a men's prison, Punishment, intended as a twin to Prisoner, failed sodismally it was taken off air after three episodes, despite a star cast including Mel Gibson, JohnColeby and Mike Preston. With little talk and no play, with beatings and the rape of younginmates as central themes, the male version had none of the attractions of its female twin, andthere were none of the comical interludes and the light relief afforded by Prisoner. Thedifference in the two representations and their public reception highlights Blanche Hampton'spoint, that: there appears to be a perception that for men rape and beatings constitute themajor horror of incarceration. For women aside from the occasionallyunwarranted, but not physically intrusive sexual contact and the 'odd scrap',prison consists of sitting around drinking cups of tea and talking tough to officers. Neither is a representative picture.15 Punishment was before its time. Nowadays there is far more willingness to watch shows aboutmen's prisons where the brutality, the rapes and the beatings are horrific and extreme. Butthere haven't been any more programs about female incarceration since Prisoner. Instead, weprefer nowadays to celebrate a different, softer kind of imprisonment for women, in places likeWisteria Lane. But in the late 1970s, it was prison, described by one ex-inmate as 'the mostdegrading and debilitating form of life for any woman', that became the place to sit back andenjoy each evening at 8:30pm in the comfort of the suburban living room.
The serial was launched at a specific moment in Australia's penal history, when intense on-the-ground prison struggles intensified public debate surrounding the penal institution. Growingpublicity about the terrible incompetencies and brutalities of prisons in NSW eventually forced aRoyal Commission in 1978. Led by Justice Nagle, the Commission found the allegations ofbashings and other abuses of power to be true, and his report conveyed a sense of outrage at the treatment of prisoners for over two and a half decades.16 Amongst all this heightenedawareness about prison conditions and prisoners, women behind bars remained an invisibleand mysterious phenomenon. Information about conditions for female inmates in Australia’sjails was virtually absent, despite the attempts by women's action group Women Behind Barsto make them public. The prison crisis of the 1970s was a male crisis.
Mulawa is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of shadows’. It was originally built as a maximumsecurity prison, and became the main gaol for women from 1969, the first of its kind to havedormitory accommodation for women. Throughout the 1970s and in to the early 1980s, therate of women prisoners in NSW jails increased at a rapid rate. The average number of femaleinmates in 1976 at any one time was 81; by 1984, it had more than doubled to 193, at times reaching over 200.17 Justice Nagle noted in his report that conditions for female prisoners were Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 often worse than they were for their male counterparts. He made specific recommendations inrelation to the fact that, unlike men, women were not allowed contact visits; women were notgiven cellular accommodation but forced to exist in overcrowded dormitories; women had noaccess to work release programs, no provision for exercise, no education or work opportunitiesand women were over-sedated. Even movement within the prison was seriously impeded. Healso noted the reluctance of management at Mulawa to institute even basic reform. TonyVinson, chairman of the Commission of Corrective Services from 1979 to 1981, also noted the belligerent and inhumane attitudes of those in charge at Mulawa,18 a sentiment backed up byinmate Lee Gadd in her letter to the Department of Corrective Services in 1979. ‘The RSPCAwould never allow animals to be treated in the way the administration and their associates Originally built to house 109 at most, Mulawa consistently held at least 130 women in the late1970s. Overcrowded conditions meant that ‘inmates were sleeping on mattresses on the floor,packed in like sardines. A lot of tension was in the air and because of this inmates were at each other’s throats.’20 The excess were mostly held in a wing called Catchpole, originally supposedto be for the remand section of the prison population. The Women in Prison Task Force set upin 1984 to investigate the state of facilities for women in NSW prisons found broken windows,vermin such as rats, cockroaches and possums, severe overcrowding and inadequate bathroomfacilities, and concluded that ‘under no circumstances is Catchpole fit for accommodation purposes.’21 One woman who spent five weeks there said that it was so nightmarish inmates commonly ‘experienced “stepping out” (experiencing contemporary madness)…’22 Possibly the most appalling reports about the treatment of women in Mulawa related to healthproblems. During her 17 years imprisonment at Mulawa, Willson saw three strikes, all of themover the inadequacy of medical facilities. Panadol was regularly used for anything from minorcomplaints to serious ones. Attention for gynaecological problems could take several months.
Women who had mental health issues were ignored, although tranquillisation of women wascommon. Women were also used as guinea pigs in drug trials, as academic prison reformersGeorge Zdenkowsky and Paul Brown found. They quoted one commentator who noted the‘pioneering work’ of two penal psychiatrists in Victoria, ‘with sexual offenders and“promiscuous” young girls using drugs Dep Provera…and Androcur and Cyproterone Acetate…’.
These drugs, the report stated, ‘are still at the experimental stage in terms of how they control sexual behaviour and their short and long term effects.’23 In 1981, the daily medication of Robin Lynch, Mulawa inmate, consisted of 50 mgs of Largactil,three times daily; 75 mgs Sinequan, 10mgs chloral hydrate and 2 mgs of Rohypnol. ‘These are, in order, a major tranquiliser, an anti-depressant and two sedatives or hypnotic drugs.’24 Maree,arrested on charges of manslaughter, told of her first experience in prison: ‘Every night theywould give me medication. I didn’t even know what it was for, I just took whatever they gave A number of feminist scholars engaged in pioneering research in the 1970s noted howdominant discourses of femininity constructed female deviance in terms of a transgressionagainst nature, a betrayal of their sex. While male deviance was viewed as an extension ofmasculinity, violence and aggression being the natural attributes of men, women whocommitted crime were perceived as non-women. For inmates of Mulawa, the perception offemale criminality as ‘anti-feminine’, was experienced through the methods used in the prisonsystem in myriad ways. The system applied a madonna/whore approach. On the one hand theywere treated as fallen women, dirty and sluttish; on the other, they were forced to undergo aprocess of forced ‘feminisation’. In 1973, for example, over a third of Mulawa’s inmate Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 population were investigated for venereal disease, while only ten men in a male prison population of 26, 877 were.26 Meanwhile, the only activities available for women at Mulawacentred on sewing, cooking, ironing and laundry work.
Pat Carlen in her research on women’s prisons notes that femininity is constantly engaged,played upon, and simultaneously denied, and writes that ‘imprisoned women are continuallyforced into debilitating and contradictory definitions of womanhood’. While feminine pursuits(sewing, ironing etc) were encouraged, the ‘physical and psychological props normally attendant on upon the celebration of the feminine myth’ were refused.27 ‘I may be a crim but at least I’m not dirty’ was a strong ethos of Mulawa culture28, and it was the denial of productsto ensure cleanliness that was a constant torment for the inmates: This letter comes at a very high and tense point in time, we are full of anger, fedup to the neck with the conditions we are forced to endure…we’re really fucken’pissed off. Today Tuesday we are confronted with shit like the following: 2x 1kbags of sugar per 15 girls for one week, 2 toilet rolls per month, no disinfectant,no bon amie, no paper towelling, no shower curtains, no dish cloths orscourers…we’re told to keep our cells clean and tidy, but we can’t do that because we haven’t got the items…’29 Of course Prisoner never set out to document that kind of reality, which would have meantcertain death by ratings. It would be silly to hold a soap opera up to the test of reality,whatever the claims of its creators. And people loved it. Perhaps surprisingly, among some ofthe more ardent fans were those who were institutionalised in some way. One woman spoke ofthe show’s popularity inside a female psychiatric hospital: ‘It was the only show that everyonein there watched religiously. Even though it was after lights out…there were certain elements of it that really struck a chord.’30 Among school children the popularity of the serial took on cultproportions. Adolescent boys in particular, perhaps not surprisingly, were among its biggestfans in this demographic, and one man told of how he and his friends all had nicknames based on characters from the show.31 Robert Hodge and David Tripp found from their research intothe effects of television on the attitudes of school children, that in every class, ‘Prisoner was volunteered as being “just like school”’.32 This was probably more a reflection of the wayPrisoner made prison look like school. The frequently childish nature of the inmates’ responsesto authority, the codes about ‘not dobbing’, the creation of cliques, gossip, bitchiness and girlyinfantilism are all represented in the show as key factors in the experience of prison.
A group of children in juvenile detention also used Prisoner to make sense of and inform theirown experiences. The boys at one children’s detention centre followed the program closely, andan ex-warden described what happened when it was moved to a later time slot: We nearly had a riot on our hands. So we said, ‘ok, for that night only they canstay up and watch’. They learned their language from that show, learned whattricks to play on each other. There were 14 year olds in there…they’d been inthere a week and were already talking like Bea Smith. Children learned how tolive in gaol from watching Prisoner, that’s what they learned. Television is a powerful medium, particularly when the distinctions between fantasy and realityare a little blurred, and can sometimes provide a world view that makes sense of somethingthat is incomprehensible. Children are particularly susceptible to this, as numerous studies onthe effects of television on children have demonstrated over many years. But they are notalone. As Stanley Aronowitz writes: 'A new world is created in the media of mass culture. This Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 is not merely a world of representation of reality. Its pervasive character in contemporary society makes it constitutive of social reality.'33 One woman who did time in Mulawa believed that like the children above, she learned what toexpect through her acquaintance with the show: You see it on Prisoner on TV, it's a good way to perceive prison. As time goes on it's not like Prisoner, but when you first walk in it feels and looks like Prisoner.34 For some, Prisoner provided a reference point to imagine what women's prison was really like,even though, as hinted at above, as time went on and it wasn’t possible to switch it off, thereality became quite different. But certainly in an era when the diet of prison stories in themedia was exclusively male-oriented, Prisoner appeared in a total information vacuum aboutwomen's prisons. It filled a comprehension gap. Sandra Willson remarked that people inquiring about her time in jail, frequently asked: 'Are there any Veras or Megs or Beas?'35 The success of the program far outweighed expectations. The program was originally conceivedof as running for 6 months, and soap opera regulars were conceived of as its target audience.
As Reg Watson bluntly expressed it: ‘I’d like every housewife to look at this and say, “Thatcould be me in there”, because it could be. The only thing different about them is that thoseinside went through with a crime a lot of other women have contemplated… They’re just members of the public inside.’36 Watson clearly understood the power of crime on the popularimagination, the complex mixture of fear, fascination, empathy and disgust that being privy tohuman fallibility and excess can elicit. Long before the television sitcom and the evening news,in fact, crime had 'enormous organisation significance' in the history of the novel and othercultural narratives, namely because of its role in making the personal public, the private asocial event. In the words of the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin, writing in the 1920s and '30s: 'The criminal act is a moment of private life that becomes, as it were, involuntarily public'.37 Watson, I imagine, would have been rather surprised by the extent and diversity of thePrisoner fan-base. Many of its viewers were not housewives, as I have pointed out. The showwas particularly famous in the gay community. The sadistic prison officer Joan ‘the freak’Ferguson, received an enormous amount of gay fan mail. Post-Prisoner, she went on to do acabaret performance tour at London’s premiere gay club Heaven, where she apparentlyparaded around the stage in a tight-fitting, red and sparkly evening dress to the delighted cat-calls of the lesbian crowd, who cheered her foul-mouthed and raunchy behaviour.38 Perhapsthe most famous of the gay cult events around Prisoner was the turn-out of approximately3000 leather-clad lesbian bikers at various television network locations in the United States topay their respects to Frankie, who the night before was shot while trying to escape Wentworthand ‘died’ after only 21 episodes.
Jenny Lovell believed that there were two types of Prisoner fan, those who 'enjoy the tackiness, the ridiculousness and silliness of it', and those 'who watch it for real'.39 As one regular whoclearly positioned herself in the first camp explained, she watched because ‘it’s hilariousand…you can’t believe the story lines are so outrageously ridiculous and the acting is soatrocious…(some people) would watch it in disbelief to see whether it could possibly get any worse.’40 Many media critics were equally scathing. Sandra Hall wrote that it was ‘a mixture of a lesbian lonely hearts club and Tom Brown’s Schooldays gone ocker.’41 But as discussed in thebeginning of this article, there were others who applauded its subject matter and regarded it asan important milestone in Australian television and Australian popular culture. Ann Curthoysand John Docker argued that the criticisms by journalists were evidence of an elitist contempt Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 by 'high culture' proponents for the authentic products of popular culture. They defied thesnobbery of the culture critics, arguing that Prisoner represented 'an historic achievement of In Docker's analysis, a certain 'cultural capital' is required to be able to read popular forms ofmass culture, something 'popular audiences have, but which "high culture" audiences so often lack'.43 They admired Prisoner for its strong female characters, its rejection of conventionalgender definitions (strong man/weak woman) and its empathic treatment of femalemotivations for committing crime. They also saw in Prisoner a quintessentially Australian story that drew on a cultural heritage of mateship and anti-authoritarianism.44 'The bottom line isthey're the screws and we're the prisoners. It's us or them'. As Sandra Willson described it,Prisoner was a ‘series about the underdog, ever an Australian hero. Or in this case, heroine’.
The decade of the 1970s is renowned as a renaissance period in the production of home-grownAustralian drama, and it was this theme of the heroic underdog that was celebrated inproductions like Against the Wind, Ben Hall, Sunday Too Far Away and Breaker Morant to namea few.
Soap opera has also been linked to the older tradition of melodrama and the carnivalesque inpopular culture, where the harshness of fate and history is mocked and where conventions andauthority are flouted in irreverent ways. Mikhail Bakhtin’s work on the early modern Europeanfolk traditions of carnival, which embodied theatrical displays of world-upside-downnorm-inversions, misrule and mockery, is often used in this context to draw parallels with latetwentieth century soap opera. Prisoner has been heralded as a unique example of thisinheritance. I can understand the temptation to make this analogy, although from my ownreadings of the show, I am not so sure the comparisons are entirely accurate. Prisoner wasmore a capitalist product than these appraisals allow, stripped of the spontaneity and politicalmessages that often informed these earlier spectacles, and a different audience experiencealtogether. Chatting about last night’s program in the office the next day should not simply be equated with Bakhtin’s example of participatory spectacle ‘vividly felt by all its inhabitants.’45For me, Herbert Marcuse's observation that the once oppositional dimension of culture,represented in disruptive characters such as outcasts, criminals and fools, has been eradicatedby its wholesale incorporation into the established order, still rings true: the vamp, the national hero, the neurotic housewife, the gangster, the star, thecharismatic tycoon perform a function very different from and even contrary tothat of their cultural predecessors. They are no longer images of another way oflife, but rather freaks or types of the same life, serving as an affirmation rather than negation of the established order.46 Soap opera succeeds precisely because it lets us escape the mundanity of our own lives evenas it affirms it. Soap opera takes the mundanity of the everyday and injects a bit of fantasy, abit of gloss. As a number of feminist scholars have observed, soap opera gives women uniquenarrative pleasure, connecting to their rhythms and desires. Tanya Modleski has demonstratedhow soap opera, with its devices of cliffhangers and delayed resolutions, suit the rhythm of thecentral conditions of women's lives who are confined to domestic household roles, where the'work is never done' and where distractions, disorder and interruptions rule the domesticuniverse. She has demonstrated how soap opera also offers the fantasy of an 'extended' family,and of another world that deviates from the drudgery and isolation of contemporary suburbia.47 The need to validate a family-centred existence coupled with the wish forcommunity is constantly evoked and reconciled. In Prisoner, the core community of women arelike a family, united by their imprisonment and their mutual dependence on each other for Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 protection, and bonded by their common roots. As new inmate Margaret tells a prison officerwho recognises her from their school days: 'If those girls find out that I'm some middle classachiever they'll blacklist me out of spite. Don't blow it for me.' It is true that in the world of television soap, there has never been anything 'quite like it’.48Nowadays we are more likely to sit back with Kath and Kim and enjoy a parody of Australianworking class culture, rather than an earnest representation of it, the idea that it 'could be me',but, thankfully, it isn't. There isn't anything the likes of Lizzie, Bea, Doreen or Franky, 'vinegartits' or 'the freak' on Australian television these days. Female incarceration, meanwhile, hassunk even more efficiently from public view.
1 Beverley Zalcock and Jocelyn Robinson, ‘Inside Cell Block H: Hard Sell and Soft Soap’,Continuum, Vol. 9:1, 1996, p. 88.
2 Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘In praise of Prisoner’, in John Tulloch and Graeme Turner,(eds), Australian Television Programs: Pleasures and Politics, Australian Cultural Studies, Allenand Unwin, Crows Nest, 1989, p. 52.
3 Zalcock and Robinson, op.cit., p. 89.
4 Ruth Balint, Doing Time the Easy Way: Prisoner, Prisoners and Popular Culture. BA HonsThesis, History, University of Sydney, 1994.
5 Sandra Willson became the focus of a campaign by the women’s action group Women BehindBars to free her after she had spent 17 years locked up at the ‘Governor’s Pleasure’. Willsonwas released in 1979.
6 M. Hohensee, 'Grundy's Prisoner'. Theatre Australia, February, 1979, p. 17.
7 Terry Bourke, Prisoner Cell Block H: Behind the Scenes, Angus and Robertson, London, 1990,p.10.
8 Balint, interview with Dave Worthington, 3 June, 1994.
9 UK website dedicated to Prisoner Cell Block H: <> 10 Balint interview with Jenny Lovell, 22 July, 1994.
13 See: Susan Sontag, ‘Fascinating Fascism’, New York Review of Books, February 6, 1975.
14 Lee D. Rossi, 'The Whore versus the girl-next-door: Stereotypes of women in Playboy,Penthouse and Oui', Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 9, No. 1, Summer 1979.
15 Blanche Hampton, Prisons and Women, NSW University Press, Kensington, 1993, p. 5.
16 Royal Commission into NSW Prisons Report, Justice Nagle, NSW Dept of Corrective Services,1978.
17 Report of the NSW Women in Prison Task Force, NSW Dept of Corrective Services, March1985, p. 40.
18 Tony Vinson, Wilful Obstruction: The Frustration of Prison Reform, Methuen Australia,Sydney, 1982, p. 30.
Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 19 Letter printed in Jail News, Vol. 1, No. 19, 31 March, 1979.
2` NSW Women in Prison Task Force, p. 72.
23 George Zdenkowsky and Paul Brown, The Prison Struggle: Changing Australia’s PenalSystem, Penguin Books, Ringwood, 1982, pp. 145-6.
24 Pam Blacker, ‘Mulawa Medicine’, Jailprint, June 1981, p. 5.
26 Anne Summers, ‘For women, prison in enforced femininity’, The National Times, May 10-15,1976, pp. 12-3.
27 Pat Carlen, Women’s Imprisonment: A Study in Social Control, Routledge and Kegan Paul,London, 1983, pp. 90-1.
28 Balint interview with Blanche Hampton, 10 June, 1994.
29 Letter to Glebe House, Glebe House Archives, sourced 1 August, 1994.
30 Balint interview with Prisoner fan, 27 July, 1994.
31 Balint interview with Jenny Lovell, op.cit. 32 John Fiske, Bob Hodge, Myths of Oz, Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, 1987, p. 92.
33 Stanley Aronowitz, False Promises: The shaping of an American working classconsciousness, McGraw Hill Books Co., New York, 1973, p. 97.
35 Sandra Wilson, 'Prisons, prisoners and the community', in S. Mukherjee and J. Scutt (eds),Women and Crime, Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest, 1981, p. 196.
36 Albert Moran, Images and Industry: Television Drama Production in Australia, CurrencyPress, Sydney, 1985, p. 148.
37 Ann Curthoys and John Docker, 'In praise of Prisoner', op.cit., p. 56.
38 Zalcock and Robinson, op.cit., p. 96 (fn 3).
39 Interview with Jenny Lovell, op.cit. 40 Dorothy Hobson, ‘Women audiences and the workplace’, in M. E. Brown (ed), Television andWomen’s Culture: The Politics of the Popular, Currency Press, Sydney, 1989, p. 69.
41 Sandra Hall, Turning On, Turning Off: Australian Television in the Eighties, CassellAustralia, Sydney, 1981, p. 41.
43 John Docker, 'In defense of melodrama: Towards a libertarian critique', Australasian DramaStudies, No. 9, October 1986, p. 79.
44 Curthoys and Docker, 'In praise of Prisoner', op.cit., pp. 57-63.
45 Mary Brown, ‘Motley Moments: Soap operas, carnival, gossip and the power of utterance’, inM. E. Brown (ed), op. cit., p. 191.
Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010 46 Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man: The Ideology of Industrial Society, Routledge andKegan Paul, London, 1964, p. 60.
47 Tanya Modleski, Loving with a Vengeance: Mass Produced Fantasies for Women, MethuenBooks, New York, 1982.
48 Ann Curthoys and John Docker, ‘Prisoner’, <> About the author
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Global Media Journal - Australian Edition - Volume 4:1 2010


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