Monday, January 16, 2006

Overcrowded prisons!

While analysts warned property developers of an apparent oversupply of retail space in Jakarta as the new malls keep cropping up, the country’s space for prisoners is in a seriously overcrowded condition. Indonesia’s penitentiaries are only have the space for 70,000 inmates, while number of prisoners already soared to 90,000.
Indeed it is a good business for construction companies. I predict the total investment of US$200 million to build new penitentiaries to level the least space needed for every prisoner.
The Bekasi Penitentiary in West Java, for example, is home to 1.198 prisoners, way above its capacity of 350 people. The Salemba Penitentiary in Central Jakarta has the capacity to hold 750, but currently the number of prisoners live there at 4,200. Imagine how they live in such a situation.
Results of HIV tests recently conducted in Indonesia's penitentiaries showed that 24.5 percent of inmates in the capital Jakarta are HIV-positive, along with 10.2 percent of prisoners in Bali. An increase in the number of intravenous drug users (IDUs), sharing dirty syringes and unsafe sexual practices, particularly sex between male inmates, are some major factors behind the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia's 400 penitentiaries.
But not all prisoners live in severe condition like that. Tempo Magazine in its editorial in May 2002 regreted of how high-profile inmates like Tommy Soeharto (youngest son of former president Soeharto) lives a normal life with his secretary comes every day bringing in the flowers, music, new suits, and business reports for review. Tommy run his business empire from a special room in the penitentiary.
In fact, he built a badminton court inside the Batu Penitentiary on Nusakembangan Island off the south coas of Java Island with the help of fellow inmate Bob Hasan (Golfing buddy of Soeharto, been released). The prison chief said in 2003 that the funds to build the court came from Tommy’s Humpuss business group. For sure, big guys like Tommy live in 'suit rooms' and that's a huge business for those who let that happen.
And as the country intesifies investigation on corruption, narcotics, gamblers, and terrorists, we desperately need more spaces for the incoming inmates. We managed to put businessman Probosutedjo (I don't know whether he got the suit room already) behind the bars. We're waiting the execution of 43 members of West Sumatra legislators.
Department of law actually started to build dozens of new penitentiaries since 2001. But last year The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) found fishy deal between the department and contractors in two projects, Salemba and Cipinang, with total cost of 131 billion rupiah (almost US$14 million) during 2001-2004 period. BPK found the direct appointment of contractors without proper bidding in those projects were against the law. No investigation yet. Isn't that beautiful if those involved in the mark-up penitentiary projects live behind the bars?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jakartass said...

Do you really mean "the execution of 43 members of West Sumatra legislators? Or 'imprisonment'?.

January 18, 2006 6:22 PM  
Blogger yosef ardi said...

I mean the execution of the Supreme Court verdict that rejected legislator's appeal.

January 18, 2006 11:27 PM  

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