MacTV is an Australian first (and only), television production and broadcasting initiative run in a prison, by inmates for inmates. It is a transformative and future-focussed program running in Macquarie Correctional Centre, Wellington NSW. The innovative initiative provides inmates with an immersive learning, real-world work experience, through which they learn new, transferable jobs skills in screen and media.
Macquarie Correctional Centre is a working jail with compulsory employment requirement. The initiative has already seen inmates accrue sufficient training and hands-on experience to participate as an industry option rather than as a voluntary program. They are currently helping train the newest wave of recruits who will in turn expand the ranks. Plans are in discussion to offer media-based marketing and promotion services within Correctional Services NSW and to charitable organisations as an ongoing community service donation or as a fee for service for non-government organisations.
Through and a network of supportive professional mentors, MacTV provides those impacted by incarceration with an opportunity to further develop their pro-social proficiency, and gain new life skills both personal and professional, in support their long-term success. All participants undergo professional training in television production to help develop the skills building elements essential to all forms of television. Workshops are delivered on-site and include – writing, presenting, interviewing, acting, filming, lighting, musical arrangements, set & prop design, costumes, and the use of greenscreen technology and special effects.
MacTV offers practical training in the use of industry-standard TV cameras, lighting, editing/postproduction, learning the foundations of script writing and television interviewing, overall familiarising inmates with the realities of the media working environment and the processes involved in television production. Inmates learn to assemble and create content for broadcasting, and how to best develop and utilise talent and resources in a creative and expressive way.
MacTV teaches inmates team building, collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills by working with industry professionals replicating real-world media environments and challenges. All program participants gain industry relevant qualifications through their enrolment in a TAFE Cert 3 and Cert 4 in Screen & Media studies.
The program aims to stimulate prisoners’ engagement with learning, and to improve their literacy, problem solving and communication skills. MacTV utilises the power of film and storytelling to support the process of rehabilitation and desistance, and help inmates develop agency to improve their self-confidence and utilise their personal strengths.
Using asset-mapping to ascertain participant interests, strengths, skills, achievements, plans and ambitions, inmates are able to maximise their engagement, personal development and opportunity for identity transformation. Similarly, by asset-mapping existing fixed resources within Macquarie Correctional Centre (MCC), which includes a music and sound recording studio, woodwork, metal and art departments, we can leverage
every opportunity and resource for creating viable televised content.
The overarching aim of MacTV is to create and screen high-quality content that has been entirely produced by inmates, then broadcast as an educational and entertainment platform to reach out and connect with their audience.
By creating a single focus output – for example, a Letterman-style live talk show featuring guest/s of the week provides a platform to showcase and publicise a wide variety of professionally produced entertaining and message-focused television content for the intranet broadcast systems of participating correctional centres. Designed and produced by inmates themselves. The type of programming will include variety shows, current affairs programs, comedy/drama series, footy and cooking shows, fitness spots, documentaries, short films, adverts, and how-to guides to prison life. The MacTV crew, has to date, produced a series of MacTV advertisements, as well as promotional films for the McGrath Foundation Marathon Fundraiser event, the visit from the International Toastmaster’s Club president, the Defence Dogs program and the ANZAC Day ceremony.
Aside from being a revolutionary program within the NSW prison system, MacTV represents a significant step forward in the justice system’s attitude towards reskilling, rehabilitation and recidivism.
Content is king, and MacTV is training the next generation of content creators.
Macquarie Correctional Centre
Corrective Services NSW