Playing cards given to inmates in initiative to generate leads in cold cases

The NSW Police Force’s Unsolved Homicide Unit and Corrective Services NSW – in partnership with Crime Stoppers, and the Homicide Victims’ Support Group – have introduced playing cards into the state’s jails that feature victims of cold case murders.

Each playing deck contains cards which display a photograph and information about an unsolved homicide or suspicious disappearance and have been produced and distributed by inmates working at Corrective Services Industries (CSI).

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Paul Toole, said the initiative had been planned over many years in close consultation with the victims’ families.

“Today is about honouring the memories of victims, supporting their families in their search for justice, and encouraging inmates with crucial information to come forward,” Mr Toole said.

“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.”

Minister for Corrections, Geoff Lee, said the project will allow for another avenue to provide potential answers to families many years down the track.

“Both victims and their families deserve to have their questions answered – these cards could provide closure and end the torment suffered by so many,” Mr Lee said.

Corrective Services NSW Commissioner, Kevin Corcoran PSM, said he’s delighted that inmates have the opportunity to be involved in the production process.

“We are proud to be part of an initiative which sees our talented CSI overseers equip inmates with new skills to improve their prospects of rehabilitation and employability upon release.”

NSW Police Force Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty APM, said it’s hoped the cards generate new leads by circulating crucial information about suspected victims among inmates who may have knowledge of those crimes.

“This format has already had success in the United States and other jurisdictions here in Australia, and we have worked collaboratively under Operation Veritas for almost two years to ensure we get it right.

“We know inmates often share details of their crimes or those committed by associates with others; this is about capitalising on that and generating new information to progress these cases.

“Veritas is the Roman goddess of truth, and these cards are about the continued quest for answers and justice for the families involved with the Homicide Victims’ Support Group, who join us today,” Det Supt Doherty said.

Homicide Victims’ Support Group Executive Director, Martha Jabour, said more than five years of advocacy by their members had led to the introduction of the cards.

“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,” Ms Jabour said.

Crime Stoppers NSW CEO, Peter Price AM, said this initiative reinforces the importance of how sharing information helps solves crimes.

“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,” Mr Price said.

Anyone with information that may assist Unsolved Homicide Unit investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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