RadarBali.com has drawn attention to the inhumane manner in which prisoners are kept at Bali’s infamous Kerobokan Prison.
Occupying a 4.2-hectare site in the middle of a residential and mixed commercial area of Kuta, the prison is critically overcrowded with 1,412 prisoners living behind the prison’s wall.
Built in 1983 and designed to house only 323 inmates, the prison is now operating 337% beyond its planned capacity.
Due to overcrowding and the declining condition of the aging prison, prisoners sleep in head-to-toe positions, packed like sardines into cramped cells.
The warden of the Kerobokan Prison, Tonny Nainggolan, confirmed to RadarBali.com on Saturday, March 18, 2017, a prison population of 1,412 comprised of 145 female prisoners in a separate area designed to hold only 54 women. The remaining prison population is male.
Nainggolan also confirmed that prison cells measuring 6 x 8 meters meant to house only 5 prisons are now used to lock down 20 people each night. In practical terms, this means each prisoner has a space of 2.4 square meters to bed down at night in a room with minimum flow through of air and no plumbing facilities.
A former prisoner at Kerobokan, who asked that his name not be published, said: “Sleeping head to toe is a long-standing situation (at the prison). When a cell is full, that’s just the way it is.”
Overcrowding in the prison creates a number of other problems. Symptoms of psychological stress are rempant among prisoners. Moreover, each prison block has a self-appointed “boss” who tends to be long-term inmates with connections to criminal gangs (Ormas) operating outside and inside the prison.
Overcrowding and extortion by prison thugs play a part in a reportedly pervasive culture of narcotics use behind the Bali prison's walls. Prisoners – many sent to jail for their involvement in narcotics – tell of an ironic ready access to marijuana, methamphetamines, and ecstasy
The prison warden also shared the travails of limited toilet and bathing facilities at the prison. Badly maintained bathrooms are shared by large numbers of prisoners resulting in horrendous hygienic conditions.
Nainggolan also lamented the lack of guards working at the prison. At present, only 11 guards are on duty during each shift spread over four guard posts and a front gate. As a result, the remaining 5 guards have the seemingly impossible task of supervising must 1,412 prisoners in 12 cellblocks.
In the recent past, Kerobokan Prison has been the scene of prisoner uprisings and riots resulting in injuries and loss of lives by the prisoners.
The prison warden, while exasperated by his crowded penitentiary and limited resources, say all he can do is to carry on to the best of his team’s ability and pray that the Central Government and lawmakers will provide better prison conditions in the near future.
In 2012 the total prisoner population stood at 910 revealing the additional 100 prisoners to the total number of inmates living at the prison each year. With no absolute limit on the number of prisoners sent to the Kerobokan Prison, the populaiton could soon top 2,000.
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