Australian prisoners given victim-themed playing cards in hope to solve cold-cases

Australian detectives are using a deck of playing cards in prison to solve old crimes. 

It's hoped the conversation that comes with seeing photos of cold-case victims might encourage inmates to give up clues about cases. 

There's also a Kiwi on one of the cards.

A game of Go Fish that could solve a murder mystery, all because of a deck of cards in the hands of inmates - each with a number, suit and an unsolved crime. 

Printed by prisoners themselves, they feature the face and name of someone murdered or missing in Sydney.

"I've been through these cards - there's some terrible cases in there," one prisoner said.

The hope is that by using these cards, prisoners will be able to talk about cases and some of the victims and that could elicit clues or a confession. 

Holding on tightly to the eight of spades is Paula Brown's Auckland mum. 

"She just lit up everyone's lives. It doesn’t matter who you were she just made you feel special," Norma Brown said.

The last time Norma spoke to her daughter was in 1997, the morning of Paula's 30th birthday. 

The hairdresser was last seen alive leaving a Sydney pub at 2am and her body was found seven days later - her killer never was. 

Norma never gave up hope at the time and still hasn't all these years later. 

"Please speak up before it's too late, that's all we can hope for," Norma said.

Norma's faith is well-founded. 

Named operation Veritas - Latin for the truth - it's an initiative already generating success in American and South Australian prisons.

And it comes with a reward. 

"If they were going to be giving information, they would be entitled to monetary award or other incentives," NSW Police Minister Paul Toole said.

But the biggest reward will be for 52 families, who for decades have had memories to hold on to, but never any answers.