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Indonesia’s Prisons Bursting at the Seams

Indonesia Law and Human Rights Minister Suggest Criminal Justice Reform Needed to Relieve Overloaded Prison System

(4/14/2017) Jakarta Post reports that severe overcrowding at Indonesia’s prisons is raising concerns within human rights circles.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly has revealed that the already over-crowded total of 202,000 prisoners behind bars in Indonesia in January 2017, increased a further 12,000 in the first two months of 2017 to become 214,675.

Speaking before the Human Rights Commission at the Indonesian House of Representatives, Yasonna asked: “What will happen if we keep putting people behind bars?”

The Ministry in charge of correctional facilities is being overwhelmed with problems of space, sanitation, and food for Indonesia’s burgeoning prison population. Corruption and drug use involving prison guards is also a growing problem in the national prison system.

Lamenting that cells designed to house 5 prisoners care are now being forced to hold 40, the Minister said prison riots and violence are now commonplace.

The Minister told lawmakers that the solution is not in building more prisons, adding: “We’ll never afford to keep establishing new prisons to accommodate them. The money would be better going into infrastructure development. We should reform our criminal system. Instead of putting them in jail, it’s better to make them do social work. Our Criminal Code revision should include alternative punishments.”

The Minister also urged an amnesty for drug convicts and moving them to rehabilitation centers.

As reported on Balidiscovery.com, Bali’s notorious Kerobokan Prison is now housing 1,412 inmates, well in excess of its designed capacity of 323 prisoners.

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