Jakarta (Antara Bali) - Prisons in Indonesia are in an alarming state as they have, since long, been housing inmates above their official capacity limits, according to the Justice Reform Criminal Institute (ICJR).
ICJR Executive Director Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono stated here on Thursday that according to his observation, the inmate count had doubled from 71.5 thousand in 2004 to 144 thousand in 2011, while the capacity of the prisons had continued to decrease.
"According to the Database System of the Correctional Directorate General in July 2015, as many as 178,063 inmates were housed in over 477 prisons spread across the country," he pointed out.
Eddyono noted that 34 percent of them were pre-trial inmates, while the prisons nationwide were already holding inmates 145 percent of their capacity, and the number of prisoners in some large prisons had also reached 662 percent of their holding capacity.
He said the overcapacity had compromised the internal security of the prisons in Indonesia.
"The ratio of the number of duty officers to inmates in the prisons is very low, thereby posing a serious challenge for the management of these facilities in the form of rising levels of violence and criminal acts," he affirmed.
The executive director of ICJR noted that although the government had issued the criminal policy aimed at reducing the number of inmates, this measure had failed to tackle the problem in prisons.
To this end, he suggested that the government should seriously evaluate the policies concerning punishment in Indonesia, especially to anticipate overcapacity in prisons.
"Quick measures to handle such a situation are also needed, such as prioritizing the handling of large prisons through transition policies to reduce the impact of unrest and security issues," he emphasized.
On March 25, at least five inmates died in a fire that broke out in the Malabero prison in Bengkulu city.
Sunar Agus, head of the Penitentiary Division of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry of the Bengkulu provincial office, stated that government authorities had investigated the fire incident to help identify the culprit. (WDY)