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Jakarta Post

Indonesia eyes remote islands to relocate its overcrowded jails

  • Tassia Sipahutar

    Bloomberg

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 26, 2019   /   01:40 pm
Indonesia eyes remote islands to relocate its overcrowded jails Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto (right) talks with National Intelligence Agency (BIN) head Budi Gunawan (left) before a limited Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office in Jakarta in a file photo. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Indonesian prisons are overflowing with convicts and authorities worried about their negative influence on city dwellers are exploring shifting them to some of the uninhabited islands in the archipelago.

Overcrowded jails mean petty criminals like chicken thieves are lodged together with drug traffickers and terrorists, according to Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto. The inability to segregate inmates based on their crime poses risks of them “exchanging their expertise” with each other, he said.

Construction of new prisons in remote islands will also reduce the scope of inmates coming into contact with the public, the minister told a panel of lawmakers in Jakarta on Tuesday. With most jails located in the middle of cities, it was easy for inmates to engage in nefarious activities, the Cabinet Secretariat said in a statement citing Wiranto, a former military chief.

Indonesia can use some of the 6,000 uninhabited islands to relocate its crowded jails, Wiranto said.

While Indonesian jails have a total capacity to accommodate only 127,006 people, they currently lodge 263,145 inmates, according to the Law and Human Rights Ministry.