When you think of prison, cells with computers and gaming consoles aren’t likely the first things to cross your mind. They are a reality for some prisoners, however, and one Australian inmate has taken legal action over years of being denied a computer and, more recently, an in-cell PlayStation 3 console. Julian Knight is serving 7 life sentences.
Julian Knight is known as the Hoddle Street killer, having committed one of the worst massacres in Australia over a decade ago in 1987. Knight was convicted of killing seven people and injuring 19, but has confessed to 17 more murders, all things earning him the 7 consecutive life sentences he is serving in prison. The 44-year-old is apparently looking to make those life sentences a little less tedious, because now he’s asking for a PlayStation 3.
The issue started in 2006 when Knight requested to have a computer in his prison cell, claiming it would be used to perform research and to prepare materials to be used later on in a bid to get a release date from the courts. His request was denied. And then denied again. Such denials have continued for seven years now. Such denials have prompted legal action on his part, with the inmate serving a legal subpoena to the government for records of other inmates who have been granted computers.
Said Knight on the issue of the computer: “This cause of action has been going for seven years, this is now the eighth proceeding. I only have to walk around the prison and I can see with my own eyes who has a computer and who doesn’t. I’m the only prisoner who has made applications to have a computer who has had it denied and denied repeatedly.”
And so now, in addition to seeking the computer, he is also seeking to have a PlayStation 3 console in his prison cell. Because Knight is known as a vexatious litigant – someone who takes legal action for the purpose of being annoying, essentially – he is being forced to get permission before proceeding with his legal case, however. Attempts to get electronic devices in prison cells isn’t new, but has been steadily increasing as the world becomes a more digital place.