Fish in Prison: Riots from a prisoner’s perspective (1980s)

In the 1980s Boggo Road Gaol was constantly in the headlines. It became a place of riots, hunger strikes and rooftop protests. Many of the prisoners were prepared to starve themselves and even die to tell the world that Boggo Road Gaol needed to go. Within No.2 Division, cells had no toilets and running water, food was inadequate, and prisoners were often treated harshly. Compared to the rest of Australia, it was like going back a century.

Over the years there were many riots and protests leading up to the closure of Boggo Road Gaol. In 1983 rioters took over and destroyed the Industrial Division, damaging cells to the point they were uninhabitable for six months. They rioted in D Wing, burning their sanitation tubs, urinating and dropping burning debris on the fire brigade and officers as they attempted to subdue the inmates.

Finally the authorities started to take notice and in 1986, construction of three new prisons was granted and work began to build the Wacol HM Brisbane Industrial Prison, HM Prison Chewko and Borallon Prison. In 1988 the Cabinet commissioned Mr Jim Kennedy to review the corrective services in Queensland bringing about the closure of Boggo Road Gaol, with No.2 Division being closed in 1989.

Glen “Fish”, a former prisoner at Boggo Road Gaol during the 1980s, witnessed firsthand the chaos within the red brick walls: being crammed in exercise yards with 30 other men, the brutal bashings and hunger strikes. On 4BC TRUE CRIMES Jack Sim will be discussing this tumultuous time in the Prisons history and the closure of Boggo Road Gaol.

Listen to this fascinating story on Australia’s longest running true crime show TRUE CRIMES – presented by Jack Sim on 4BC Nights with Walter Williams. Thursday evenings 9.35pm on Radio 4BC.

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