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Jakarta Post

Rehabilitation should be first priority in handling drug users, says minister

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 7, 2017   /  04:37 pm
Rehabilitation should be first priority in handling drug users, says minister Upbeat – Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly (front center) and Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara (front left) attend a plenary meeting at the House of Representatives in Jakarta in October 2016. (Antara/Puspa Perwitasari)

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly says there must be a paradigm shift in handling people arrested for drug offenses to solve prison overcapacity problems.

“The main problem we are facing now is that the number of inmates in our prisons has grown very rapidly. Within only two months, it has increased by 4,000 people, mostly from drug cases,” Yasonna said as quoted by during the 6th Asian Conference Correctional Facilities Architect and Planners (ACCFA) 2017 in Jakarta, on Monday.

He said drug users arrested by the authorities should ideally be sent to rehabilitation programs instead of imprisoned. While it was expected to provide a deterrent effect, imprisoning drug users would have negative impacts on people in prisons and surrounding areas, the minister said.

Yasonna said a prisoner who was addicted to drugs would use any means to access substances from the outside, including asking friends or relatives to smuggle drugs into the prison or bribing security guards to do so.

“This has become a big problem for all of us. Without rehabilitation programs, the number of inmates, especially those jailed for drug cases, will never decline. If we really want to fight against drugs, drug users must be rehabilitated,” said Yasonna.

With additional funding, he said, the Law and Human Rights Ministry aimed to develop prisons, which would hopefully facilitate 15,000 people across Indonesia.  

Yasonna added that the ministry would continue its redistribution program, in which it transfers inmates from overcapacity prisons to less crowded facilities. (dis/ebf)