Betrayal hurts

Betrayal hurts. Especially when it’s by someone you thought was a friend. Having a confidante expose your secrets for money is a pretty low blow.

I saw the cover of Woman’s Day yesterday and it made me want to cry.

The story about Kathleen Folbigg made me angry on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start. The beginning is always a good place.

“Child Killer Outrage – Why She’s So Happy In Jail” is an interview with two former prison inmates, one of whom shared a prison cell with Kathy. The women don’t reveal their real names. The story suggests it’s because they fear repercussions, but it’s actually so readers can’t Google them and discover the crimes they committed against children that landed them in protective custody themselves.  They hide behind pseudonyms and fabricate their tall tales.

It’s so easy (and cowardly) to be loose with the truth when the person you are slandering can’t defend themselves. Kathy, as a prisoner, has no hope of pressing a libel suit for their allegations, for example that she got a “plum” job as “a reward for informing on other inmates and sleeping with a male prison guard”.

And don’t get me started on the inaccuracies those women peddle in the story. Such as the assertion Kathy’s “plum job” is working as a receptionist at the jail. She hasn’t been in that role for quite some time. Until recently, she was vaccuming, cleaning and mopping her wing in return for a miniscule wage. Should she be derided for that, too? As a mutual friend, Megz, points out: “It sux, she doesn’t want to just sit on her arse like a lot of them and she gets vilified for it.”

And the photograph in the article wasn’t taken “just a few weeks ago” – going by her hairdo, I’m guessing it’s actually many years old, like most of the outdated information the woman have offered.

The article also states she is “given” things like “free tobacco” to calm her down (she doesn’t smoke) and a “luxury” balcony to enjoy the summer breeze (a ledge barely wider than her body width and surrounded by bars).

As for the suggestion that Kathy walks “around the majority of the day smiling and heavily made up without a care in the world” … Do they seriously expect me to believe that life in prison is fun?

They assert Kathy spends “hours watching LCD flat-screen TVs”, pampering herself with “luxury beauty products and clothes” and lives in a “palatial cell” … I am gob-smacked.  How absolutely bloody ridiculous.

Let me tell you what life is really like for Kathy in prison.

There’s nothing palatial about a cell with a lino floor, a set of bunk beds with plastic-covered mattresses, and a shower, toilet and sink along the other wall. How could anyone be carefree, locked inside that cell from 3.30pm every afternoon until 8.30am the next day, and from 11.30am to 12.30pm every lunchtime for 26 years.

Yes, Kathy watches hours of TV. And she pays a rental fee for the privilege. Are they seriously suggesting the government take televisions away from prisoners? Kathy also reads and does crossword puzzles to pass the time. Should we take books away from her as well?

As for “luxury” clothes … sure, as long as they’re bottle green or maroon. And the last time I checked, they weren’t top of Karl Lagerfeld’s list of trendy shades. (His lipstick range isn’t on the prison buy-up list either, funnily enough.)

It would be laughable if the intent wasn’t so vicious. Shame on those women.

NB Regular readers will be aware that I visit Kathy in prison. If you are new to the blog, go to Murder, Medicine & Motherhood for background on the story.

15 thoughts on “Betrayal hurts

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  1. The frustrating part is that stories like this reinforce the idiotic notion that prisoners should be punished in prison. Prison itself is punishment, your description of the time restrictions sum it up. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to lock themselves in a room for just one day and get a glimpse of what it would be like.
    Woman’s Day is a joke anyway, I’m not sure why people still buy it.

  2. just to point out… as a ‘receptionist’, she wasnt at a computer, answering phones & doing her nails… she was receiving new prisoners & processing their possessions… its the job she lost as she helped a prisoner who had a court appointment by going thru the donated clothes to find her something that fitted better after she’d lost so much weight her own clothes didnt fit…. at the moment, tho, she is supervising other prisoners cleaning headphones from Qantas….
    & the flat screen tv’s she’d b watching are the ones in the main rec room, that all prisoners in that wing have access to… her own tv is a very small 1…
    i hope these ex cons choke on the drugs theyl end up buying with any funds they receive from their story…

    1. thats the problem… those that dont know kathy blindly believe what they read (altho if u read the article, u wld hope that ppl wld have alot of questions running thru their brain at the crass way it has been written)… it is hoped that, like lindy chamberlain, the general population wld change their opinions… with the kind of rubbish printed yesterday, that is just that little bit more difficult…

  3. Kathy believes (and has always believed) that you do not get anywhere without working hard in this life. She has been a model prisoner in that regard. She could NEVER sit around all day and do nothing, it has never been something she could do. She tends a small garden plot as well to help the time pass by and she does very menial jobs for the very little amount of money she earns each week to buy very overpriced items from the prisoner buy up scheme. When we are talking about money we are talking around $18 dollars for doing a minimal job (almost nothing) and up to $50 for a job with supervisory responsibility – for full time work in the prison. What would you rather? Someone who sat around all day like many of the inmates getting into fights with other inmates, making a mess that others clean up, talking amongst themselves (bragging mostly) and getting more and more depressed (which the tax payer then has to pay $ for pharmacy drugs because they get depressed sitting around all day doing nothing)…Or would your prefer someone who got off their bum, worked for a small wage to try and keep themselves busy, whilst at the same time trying to improve themselves & acquire some new skills that they might be able to use when (if) they do get out of the prison system???? Whether I know Kathy or not (and I do very well) is not the issue, I will always go the route of making ANY / ALL inmates busy / work – regardless of who they are and what they have done – because it keeps them from getting bored, gives them hope that they may be able to find a job when released & stops them being destructive (toward themselves & others) / causing trouble. It is a shame we do not make all inmates do work whilst serving time. The small amount of money earnt by the inmate is miniscule when compared to the benefits each part of the system derives from having them do the work in the 1st place…..On a personal note: Kathy is a good person who is trying VERY hard to make the best of a bad situation. She is in prison for a VERY long time and she is trying hard to keep herself busy, reasonably fit & healthy & better herself in any way she can. She does not sit around all day as implied. She does have to sit in lockdown frequently due to prison staffing issues etc & that does mean she reads or watches TV, writes letters or sleeps….Why on earth should she be penalised for that when it is what anyone would do in a small cell when you cannot go anywhere else ?! Better than trying to cause mischief / trouble. I am disgusted that Woman’s Day would stoop this low for such a tacky story…Going much further into the rubbsih pile for stories like this would prove to me that WD is not long to this world (not that I will be mourning its death)…..We can only hope (or bring back Alana House to the helm…at least she had an eye for what made good content for the weekly magazine competing consistently w. “No Idea” (I mean “New Idea”)….

      1. but u have stood your moral ground for a friend… & that shows the kind of person u r as opposed to the person that wanted u sacked, who has shown their true colours… & r the kind of person i am proud to call a friend while being thankful i will never meet the other 1… chin up alana

  4. I cannot believe you were sacked!!! They clearly know that the story is full of crap but so desperate to sell a magazine, just don’t give a s!@#! Those who follow your blog will clearly be able to read what life is like for Kathy in prison. No matter what your own views on her are, it is obvious she is not living in the Ritz!, she is however, trying to make the most of her life. Shame on you Woman’s Day, did you even try to get Kathy’s story???

  5. I have already expressed on Megz’s FB how messed up the entire story was. I don’t believe they are scared of repercussions, if you’re scared of repercussions you make sure you give out no information about yourself that can be easily traced back to you, I’m sure people could easily find out who the jealous twit was in most the article if they really tried.
    Ivan Millat and people (I use that term loosely) can purchase stuff in weekly buy ups, so why the hell should it be any different for Kathy?

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