Saturday, September 30, 2023

Indonesia Releases 30,000 Prisoners as Covid-19 Cases Double in a Week

Nur Yasmin
April 2, 2020 | 4:58 am
Inmates sunbathing in a prison in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Makna Zaezar)
Inmates sunbathing in a prison in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Makna Zaezar)

Jakarta. The Justice and Human Rights Ministry passed a new decree on Thursday allowing the release of 30,000 prisoners, including juvenile delinquents, to avoid mass coronavirus infections in Indonesia's overcrowded jails. 

"We are trying to suppress the spread of Covid-19 in our prison system," Nugroho, the acting director-general for correctional facilities, said on Wednesday.

"The inmates are vulnerable because most of them share a cell. The risk of contagion is high since our jails are overcrowded," he said. 

Indonesia has 1,677 coronavirus cases by Wednesday, almost double the number a week ago. There have been 157 deaths and only 103 recoveries.


The government has imposed a large-scale social distancing that includes the closure of schools and offices and a ban on religious gatherings, but still allows some economic activities to go on. 

The ministry said the inmates would be tested for Covid-19 before they can be released. 

"They will be given a medical check-up and the wardens will give them instructions. We don't want them to infect anyone at home," Nugroho said.

The ministerial decree allows only petty criminals to be released, not inmates convicted for more serious crimes. 

"We will not release prisoners convicted for corruption, illegal logging, terrorism, drug crimes, gross human rights crimes or transnational organized crimes," Nugroho said.

People sentenced to 5-10 years for drug use who have served at least two-thirds of their sentence will also be released.

The authorities will keep monitoring the released inmates once they are out of jail. 

"They will have to provide an address and a phone number. Most of them will stay with their family and they will not be allowed to get out of the house," Nugroho said.

The ministry expects to release over 30,000 inmates for seven days until April 4. 

As of Wednesday, the ministry had already released 13,430 of them. 

Other countries have also taken the same measure to avoid mass infection of the coronavirus inside their prisons. Iran has released 85,000 prisoners, Afghanistan 10,000 and the United States over a thousand.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Indonesian jails had been limiting family visits, switching them online using video calls.

They have also installed handwashing facilities and disinfectant chambers and distributed hand sanitizers to the inmates. 

Tags: Keywords:


News 41 minutes ago

Who is to Blame for Looming Shutdown in the US?

After all, it's House Republicans who have been paralyzed by their inability to pass a funding package.
News 22 hours ago

77 Indonesians Could Be Spared Death Penalty in Malaysia

Malaysia recently decided to scrap the mandatory death penalty for a range of serious crimes, including drug trafficking and murder.
Tech 23 hours ago

South Korean League of Legends Team Wins Gold at Asian Games

Esports was first featured at the last Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, as a demonstration sport and proved incredibly popular.
News Sep 29, 2023 | 11:13 pm

Jakarta Governor Clarifies Social Media Post Regarding Seawall Cracks

He clarified that the video shared on social media was an old one, showing an embankment wall in Kalibaru.
News Sep 29, 2023 | 11:12 pm

US Government Shutdown Almost Certain

McCarthy’s right-flank Republicans refused to support the bill despite its steep spending cuts of nearly 30 percent to many agencies.