What Life Behind Bars Was Like For Brett Peter Cowan, From Netflix's The Stranger

Imprisonment is a common consequence for those who have been convicted of breaking the law. According to Alcatraz East Crime Museum, London, England is the birthplace of the concept of prison as we know it in modern times. Originally designed as an alternative to the death penalty, they soon transformed into a place to house inmates of all kinds and provide a deterrent to others who might also commit crimes. Unfortunately, the concept of life in prison does not always discourage criminals from breaking the law, some in particularly horrific ways.

In 2003, a 13-year-old boy named Daniel Morecombe did not return to his home in Palmwoods, Queensland, Australia, on his normal bus, and was declared missing shortly after (per Brisbane Times). Morecombe would remain missing for eight years before a man named Brett Peter Cowan was arrested and charged with multiple crimes against the teenager. Cowan would ultimately be convicted in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison (per Australia's ABC News).Though he was now imprisoned, Cowan's new life behind bars came with some additional consequences at the hands of other inmates.

An isolated existence

Following the conviction of his killer, Daniel Morecombe's mother wished for one more thing for Brett Peter Cowan (at right, above, during his arrest). According to Australia's News.com.au, she hoped that he "lived a life of loneliness, unloved for his entire life." Her desire was granted, as once Cowan was placed in Wolston Correctional Centre in Queensland, to serve his sentence, he was, in fact, very isolated.

The particular prison where Cowan is serving out his sentence is a "protection prison," as they house high-profile criminals, sex offenders, and pedophiles (per News.com.au). Cowan is protected and kept separate from other prisoners due to the risks if he were placed in the general population, because of the crimes he has been convicted of. He has to be completely kept from the other prisoners. According to the Daily Mail, Cowan "was a target from the moment he walked in." As such, he is confined to his cell the majority of the time, and no one visits him, with the exception of his parents, who visited once following his conviction.

Despite being isolated, he has been attacked multiple times

Though Cowan has been removed from the general population of prisoners, he has reportedly still been attacked on many occasions. In 2016, he was left permanently scarred and disfigured after boiling water was dumped on him by a fellow prisoner (per Yahoo News Australia). The same prisoner then also beat him with a mop bucket. Cowan reportedly spent a week in the hospital to recover from the burns he sustained.

In addition to the incident where he was burned, Cowan was then attacked by another inmate two years later. In 2018, Cowan was assaulted in a common area of the prison where he sustained injuries to his neck and his ear (per Australia's ABC News). The weapon was described as an improvised implement. Correctional officers intervened quickly and no one else was injured. Based on these incidents, it is clear that Cowan is on the bottom of the pecking order among his fellow prisoners due to the nature of his multiple crimes against children (via another report by ABC News Australia).