News / Asia

Drugs, Corruption Rampant in Indonesian Prisons

Inmates look out from inside a burnt down office at Tanjung Gusta prison following a prison riot in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, July 12, 2013.
Inmates look out from inside a burnt down office at Tanjung Gusta prison following a prison riot in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, July 12, 2013.
Sex, drugs and even maids are all available in Indonesian prisons for the right price.

This week salacious admissions from model Vanny Rossyane have reignited debate about the extraordinary privileges granted to wealthy Indonesian prisoners.

The model, 22, said she was granted access to a private room in prison where she would have sex and smoke crystal methamphetamine with her boyfriend, Freddy Budiman, who was being held on death-row.

Budiman was sentenced to death this July after he was found guilty of trying to smuggle more than a million ecstasy pills from China.

Already in Jakarta’s Cipinang prison on drug charges, the 37-year-old allegedly ran his narcotics business on five cell phones from inside prison.

It’s not the first time such claims have emerged. Over recent years, prisoners have been caught with everything from flat screen TVs to having cosmetic surgery in their cells.

Anything for a price

Leopold Sudaryono, the law coordinator at the Asia Foundation in Jakarta, says that it's common to pay for basic goods in prison.

“I think that since the resources are scarce, they [inmates] need to pay for the resources like food, even for the mattresses, you’ve got to pay rent for that," he said. "You have to pay for everything if you can afford and if you don’t have family support you need to work inside serving other inmates.”

Indonesian prisons operate like a complex business ecosystem, sustained by corruption, overcrowding, mismanagement and poor resources.

With prison guards earning about $300 a month, there is an incentive to make money on the side by allowing inmates to have cell phones and other luxuries.

Sudaryono said the arrangement is mutually beneficial and actually can help maintain stability within grossly overcrowded jails.

Today there are around 160,000 inmates across the country and the Indonesian jails that house them are struggling to accommodate - let alone rehabilitate - the ballooning influx.

Lack of resources

Sudaryono said in the most overcrowded prisons, there is one guard per 900 prisoners.

“Actually the problem of overcrowding is not unique to Indonesia or other developing countries," he said. "Actually countries like the U.S. and Australia also have problems with overcrowding, but the problem is in Indonesia, the rate is just so extraordinary. I mean we can have rates like 600-700 percent overcrowding in a number of prisons.”

This month more than 200 inmates managed to escape after rioting in the overcrowded Tanjung Gusta Prison in Sumatra. More than 100 inmates, including four convicted terrorists, are still on the loose.

A week later, 12 inmates managed to escape from a jail in Batam.

Analysts say such incidents are examples of how deep the system problems run. They say improving prisons will requires leadership, increased funds and a serious push to streamline the bureaucracy.

Ali Aranoval, director of the Center for Detention Studies in Jakarta said the government should also put drug users in rehabilitation centers rather than jail. He said that drug dealers and users account for nearly 60,000 of the total 160,000 prisoners.

He argued that putting small time users in rehab would ease the overcapacity problems, curb bribery and prevent even more people from getting addicted to drugs in jail.

Selling drugs, he said, is more lucrative on the inside than out.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael J Freeman from: Italy
August 01, 2013 10:42 AM
Same in UK and prisons all the world because the dealers inside still carry on dealing...Germany has a moratorium on cannabis is this is a voluntary scheme where the government get their observation data and prisoners love...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid