David Hicks could be back in Australian within weeks after pleading guilty yesterday to a charge of supporting terrorism – but where will he end up?

There’s some speculation he could be moving into the Goulburn Jail Supermax, alongside killers Ivan Milat and Sef Gonzales and gang rapist Bilal Skaf.

Yet it’s more likely that he’ll end up not too far from his father’s home, in South Australia’s only high security facility, Yatala Labor Prison, in Adelaide’s north east (pictured right).

While the accommodation is an improvement on Guantanamo, there’s not much else to recommend Yatala. Originally known as “The Stockade”, it’s based around a grim, foreboding and suitably Victorian old central building that dates back to the 1850s. More recent additions have a good Ghosts of the Civil Dead air about them. And life at Yatala resembles the infamous prison shocker too.

Yatala is the home of bodies-in-the-barrel killers John Bunting and Robert Wagner. Another inmate is Bevan Spencer Von Einem, serving time for the 1983 rape and murder of 15-year-old male and suspected of involvement in a series of grizzly murders that occurred around that time.

Earlier this year the Adelaide Sunday Mail reported Von Einem was facing a prison tribunal hearing after being charged with selling his artwork to other inmates. The Mail has also reported allegations that the convicted murderer has been provided with home-cooked meals by a prison officer, and had prescribed a drug for erectile dysfunction by a prison doctor.

The prison was in the news a fortnight ago, during an inquest into the death of one-time high profile Adelaide media and business figure John Trenorden, who suicided in Yatala while on remand for the alleged murder of his girlfriend.

Earlier this month, South Australian correctional services Minister Carmel Zollo said significant contraband was been discovered during an operation by staff at Yatala.

At least, unlike at Guantanamo, there are some activities on offer at Yatala. Prison industries include boot making, bakery, laundry work, spray painting, engineering, furniture making and tailoring.

Peter Fray

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