Playing cards for prisoners with details of unsolved murders to continue ‘indefinitely’

A new set of playing cards covered with details of unsolved murders will be given to South Australian prisoners under a scheme which has already resulted in multiple arrests.

Similar playing cards have been issued in the state’s prisons since 2015 under Operation Persistwhich the head of Major Crime Detective Superintendent Des Bray said had resulted in 20 people being charged over 10 alleged murders.

Details of unsolved murders cases are also displayed on posters and TV screens in prisons and Department for Correctional Services offices.

The operation also involves offering other incentives to prisoners to provide information about crimes.

Prisoners can dial nine on phones within the system to speak to Crime Stoppers without their calls being monitored by corrections staff.

Superintendent Bray said the operation would now continue “indefinitely” with support from Crime Stoppers and Community Corrections, a section of the Department for Correctional Services.

“We have had approaches from 121 prisoners, and we’ve had those approaches from the prisoners themselves, sometimes through their lawyers, friends or family members,” Superintendent Bray said.

“That’s resulted in 174 actionable opportunities where we can follow up and 36 statements from prisoners.”

Major Crime Detective Superintendent Des Bray
Detective Superintendent Des Bray leads SA Police’s investigations into major crimes such as murders.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

He said SA Police had been approached by authorities in the UK and the Netherlands interested in the scheme.

“It’s something across the world they’re interested in,” he said.

Crime Stoppers chief executive Nigel Smart said Operation Persist had resulted in information about 118 unsolved cases.

“We are committed to victims of crime and families,” the former AFL player said.

“If it leads to one of two cases being solved, bringing closure to those families is a great outcome.”

Some of the new cards include details about Scott Redman, who was last seen near Kimba in 2019and Robert Atkins, who police believe was buried between Peterborough and Orroroo in 2020.

Geoffrey Adams was acquitted of murder after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Colleen in 1973, in a case that was revived under Operation Persist.

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