Packs of playing cards featuring cold-case murder victims and missing people will be distributed to New South Wales inmates in the hope of solving serious crimes.
The cards, which were produced by prisoners working in Corrective Services Industries, feature photographs and information about 52 unsolved homicide cases or suspicious disappearances.
The homicide squad commander, Danny Doherty, said it was hoped the cards would generate new leads by circulating crucial information about suspected victims among inmates who might have knowledge of the crimes.
“This format has already had success in the United States and other jurisdictions here in Australia,” he said. “Inmates often share details of their crimes or those committed by associates with others. This is about capitalising on that and generating new information to progress these cases.”
The police minister, Paul Toole, said the initiative had been planned in close consultation with the victims’ families.
“The police investigations into these cases are well and truly active but they are reliant on information that has been held tightly for too long,” he said.
The Homicide Victims’ Support Group executive director, Martha Jabour, said more than five years of advocacy had led to the program.
“The families of those represented were personally involved in the production process because, for them, these cards represent the potential for both truth and justice,” she said.
The Crime Stoppers NSW chief executive, Peter Price, said the initiative reinforced the importance of sharing information to help solve crimes.
“Crimes aren’t solved with one piece of information but that one fact – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem – could be the vital clue police need,” he said.