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2022-06-25 07:51:28 By : Mr. Joe Huang

Playing cards depicting victims of cold-case murders have been given to NSW prisoners in the hope the initiative will help crack cases.

Each playing deck, which were produced by inmates working in Corrective Services Industries, contains cards featuring photographs and information about 52 unsolved homicide cases or suspicious disappearances.

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It’s hoped the playing cards will generate new leads by circulating crucial information about suspected victims among inmates who might have knowledge of the crimes, Homicide Squad commander Danny Doherty said.

“Inmates often share details of their crimes or those committed by associates with others,” he said.

“This is about capitalising on that and generating new information to progress these cases.”

Police Minister Paul Toole said the initiative had been planned in close consultation with the victims’ families.

“The police investigations into these cases are well and truly active, but they are reliant on information that has been held tightly for too long,” he said.

Homicide Victims’ Support Group executive director Martha Jabour said more than five years of advocacy had led to the program.

“The families of those represented were personally involved in the production process because for them these cards represent the potential for both truth and justice,” she said.

The initiative reinforced the importance of how sharing information helped solve crimes, Crime Stoppers NSW chief executive Peter Price said.

“Crimes aren’t solved with one piece of information, but that one fact - no matter how small or insignificant it may seem - could be the vital clue police need to solve a crime,” he said.

Doherty said: “This format has already had success in the United States and other jurisdictions here in Australia.”

The success of these types of programs has been known internationally for nearly a decade.

When a program was rolled out in a New York prison with cards printed with local cold-case information, the Criminal Justice Services in the area were encouraged by the response.

Cindy Bloch, case manager at New York’s Criminal Justice Services, said she was encouraged by the response.

“Prior to the playing card program being implemented, we had virtually no calls coming from correctional facilities,” a Criminal Justice Services case manager told CNN at the time.

“We now have 40 or 50 calls per month coming in.”

Sheriff Jack Mahar, who ran the Rensselaer County jail in New York state, which replaced all playing cards with the cold-case decks, said: “The people that are here live out on the streets, they grew up out on the streets, they know what’s going on.

“Sooner or later, someone will hear, someone talks; it always happens whether it’s two days from now or five years from now.

“We have a very high turnover, which is very good ‘cause we keep on getting different people in here all the time, that would give some fresh ideas, fresh information.”

Even criminals imprisoned in the jail supported the move.

“Murder’s a big issue and kidnapping, you know, even though we’re on this side of the fence, most of us don’t like those things,” a prisoner in the jail told CNN at the time.

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