Inmates in an Indonesian prison. (Antara Photo)

Christmas Joy in Prisons: Over 12,000 Inmates Get Sentence Cuts


DECEMBER 25, 2019

Jakarta. The Indonesian government awarded sentence cuts to 12,629 Christian convicts on Christmas Day, with 166 of them being able to walk out of jail on Wednesday thanks to the bonuses. 

The sentence cuts, ranging from 15 days to two months, were given according to the convict’s good conduct during their prison term, a Justice Ministry official said. 

The inmates also need to get involved in activities arranged by correctional officers to be entitled to the sentence reductions.

“Any convict has the right for a sentence cut according to the law. By giving sentence cut on Christmas Day, we hope it can add joy to those who observe it,” Sri Puguh Budi Utami, the ministry’s correctional affairs director general, said.


There are 18,900 Christian inmates across Indonesian prisons, out of 269,924 prisoners in total, including 2,722 juveniles.

The Indonesian government regularly awards sentence reduction on major holidays, such as the Independence Day, Idul Fitri and Christmas. Only inmates who have served at least six months in prison can be considered for a sentence cut.

The Christmas sentence cuts went mostly to prisons in North Sumatra, East Nusa Tenggara and Papua.

By reducing the inmates’ terms, the government could save about Rp 6.3 billion ($454,000) in prison budget this year, according to correctional and juvenile justice director Yunaedi.

“The number was calculated from average daily food spending of one inmate which is Rp 17,000,” Yunaedi explained.

Total capacity of all prisons in Indonesia is 130,500 inmates, less than a half of the actual number of prisoners at present. Drug convicts account for 47.6 percent of total prisoners, or 128,437 inmates.