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Activists, experts caution against slapdash reform to tackle prison overcrowding

first_imgYasonna told lawmakers at last Thursday’s teleconference that he would formally request approval from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to resume deliberations on the revised KUHP and Correctional Facilities Law that had been carried over from the previous legislative session.Widespread protests from thousands of students and activists had forced Jokowi to delay the deliberations in September 2019. The protests criticized the deliberations for commencing just weeks before the end of the previous legislative session, as well as articles that they said would roll back decades of political reform to the New Order era.The revised KUHP and Correctional Facilities Law would automatically void a 2012 Government Regulation on the rights of prisoners, which stipulates stringent criteria to determine the eligibility for sentence remissions and parole for inmates convicted of extraordinary crimes like corruption, drug crimes and terrorism.Yasonna told lawmakers this time that he intended to revise the 2012 regulation to facilitate the conditional release of around 300 graft convicts aged 60 and above, among others.Yasonna also aims to release 30,000 convicts of general crimes who have served at least two-thirds of their jail terms to prevent outbreaks in the country’s overcrowded prisons, as part of the law ministry’s COVID-19 prevention measure.Read also: Overcrowded and understaffed, prisons scramble to protect inmates from infectionFollowing immediate objections from antigraft activists who questioned the motive behind the inclusion of corruption convicts that represented only a tiny proportion of the prison population, Jokowi was quick to clarify on Monday that his administration had never considered corruption convicts under the scheme.According to the ministry’s February data, Indonesia has locked up 4,891 corruption convicts, far fewer than 91,308 convicts serving their sentences for drug trafficking and 46,794 convicts service time for drug abuse. Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly’s latest plan to revisit prison reform is not without controversy. The growing number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has reignited the debate on reducing overcrowding at the country’s prisons, prompting lawmakers to consider overhauling the correctional system.The government has moved fast to rally the support of the House of Representatives, which agreed to resume deliberating the controversial revisions to the Criminal Code (KUHP) and the 1995 Correctional Facilities Law, which could pave the way to end prison overcrowding.The 524 prisons and detention centers across the country hold 268,919 inmates including some 60,000 detainees, more than double the maximum capacity of 132,107 inmates, according to the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s February 2020 data. It has also been reported that graft convicts enjoy arguably less cramped prison conditions compared to prisoners convicted of other crimes.Sukamiskin penitentiary in Bandung, West Java, for example, had 464 inmates in March, including 366 corruption convicts and five detainees, about 100 inmates fewer than its maximum capacity of 560 inmates.While the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) initially said that it was open to the idea, it now says it is against the plan to grant early releases to graft convicts.Anticorruption activists have said that reducing prison overcrowding is not as simple as granting early releases or remissions. Rigorous overhaul of Indonesia’s correctional system and codifications in the KUHP, the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP) and other related laws was pivotal to developing long-term solutions. They also said that any amendments or revisions, including to the KUHP, should consider additional alternatives to imprisonment.Activists also slammed the House’s apparent haste to resume deliberating the KUHP on the pretext of the COVID-19 outbreak. They said that doing so could only lead to excessive criminalization, given that the revised bill still included contentious provisions that would penalize activities in the personal domain, like consensual sex and cohabitation among unmarried people.“Depenalization and decriminalization should be promoted [in the amended KUHP] for of several criminal offenses, considering that overcrowding has been partly caused by overcriminalization in existing regulations,” said Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) researcher Genoveva Alicia.Over the last two decades of reform, Indonesia has been obsessed with criminalizing certain acts and putting those who have committed such as behind bars.From 1998 to 2015, at least 1,600 new crimes had been added to Indonesia’s criminal justice system, most of which carried cumulative punishments such as a prison term and a fine, said criminal law lecturer Miko Ginting of the Indonesia Jentera School of Law in Jakarta.The prison population has grown steadily over the years, from around 117,000 in 2010 to 163,000 in 2014 and to 256,000 in 2018, according to the World Prison Brief (WPB) online database, hosted by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research at the University of London.Rising incarceration (JP/Swi Handono)Indonesia’s incarceration rate is among the world’s lowest at 100 people per 100,000 population, but the country ranks 8th in highest prison population total among the 223 countries and territories in the world collated in the WPB database.Many blame Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons on the judicial system, the existing KUHP and the punitive attitude of the judiciary, prosecutors and law enforcement officers, particularly when it comes to drug crimes.Read also: Dian Sasmita: Listening to troubled juveniles on the road to healing“In the Narcotics Law, there are alternative [sentences] such as rehabilitation,” Jentera’s Miko said, referring to the different sentencing options available depending on the criminal charge. “But the imposition of these charges pale in comparison to those punishable by imprisonment.”“There is a tendency among the judiciary to hand down prison sentences despite the availability of alternative forms of punishment, such as [rehabilitation] for [drug crimes],” he noted.The 2009 Narcotics Law permits judges to sentence drug users and victims of drug abuse to rehabilitation rather than imprisonment, but judges often refrain from imposing the alternative sentencing scheme.  Meanwhile, activists say that police and prosecutors often mistakenly classify drug addicts as drug dealers or traffickers.In other indications of the country’s failed correctional system, Indonesia has seen numerous jailbreaks, cases of drug rings operated from behind bars, illegal excursions and lavish facilities granted to inmates, as well as radicalization in prisons.As part of the codification of criminal law, the ICJR’s Genoveva urged the government to issue implementing regulations to ensure that the judiciary and law enforcement applied non-penal approaches like probation for certain cases.”In a nutshell, we need total reform [that involves] careful and comprehensive calculations,” said Miko.Topics : The data also showed that the nation’s correctional facilities report an average occupancy of 104 percent.Chronic overcrowding in the national prison system, combined with poor management and a shortage of wardens, has led to frequent prison riots. The most notorious among these occurred in 2013 at Tanjung Gusta prison in Medan, North Sumatra, and in 2018 at the Kelapa Dua Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) detention center in Depok, West Java. The two deadly incidents prompted the government to reform the prison system, yet overcrowding has persisted.last_img read more


Update on the latest sports

first_imgOn Monday, the club announced two people had tested positive for the coronavirus without providing further details on whether the two were players, coaches or staff. Prospect Hunter Bishop and pitcher Luis Madero, in the 60-player pool, already tested positive. This means no simulated games as planned for Tuesday, and Giants manager Gabe Kapler had said Monday he considered his club fortunate to not be dealing with any interruptions thus far.In other virus-related developments from baseball:— The reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals have resumed training camp after canceling workouts Monday because of COVID-19 testing delays. General manager Mike Rizzo said the team felt confident about getting back to Nationals Park for practices after receiving all player and staff test results from Friday. The American League champion Houston Astros also canceled workouts Monday and resumed Tuesday. A handful of players did not take part in the Nationals’ workouts, including Starlin Castro, Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick and Victor Robles. Without naming names, Rizzo said two players tested positive for the coronavirus and that any players and staff who came into contact with them had to be re-tested— The Cleveland Indians are keeping outfielder Franmil Reyes away from training camp after they spotted him on social media attending a weekend holiday party without wearing a mask. Manager Terry Francona said Reyes is not in any trouble with the team. But by not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask, he says Reyes exposed himself — and his teammates — to infection, and the team is being overly cautious. Francona said Reyes, who was traded to Cleveland last season from San Diego, will have to be re-tested for the virus “when it’s appropriate.” MLS says five Nashville players have received positive tests for COVID-19 since arriving in Orlando. Two players received positive results during the weekend, while three others got their positive results Monday night. Four other Nashville players need further testing after receiving inconclusive results.The league is continuing to evaluate Nashville’s participation in its tournament. FC Dallas withdrew Monday after 10 players tested positive for coronavirus.VIRUS OUTBREAK-WNBADurr will miss seasonNEW YORK (AP) — New York Liberty guard Asia Durr will miss the upcoming WNBA season after testing positive for the coronavirus on June 8. July 7, 2020 Jackson apologizes for anti-Semitic postsPHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has apologized after backlash for sharing anti-Semitic posts on social media over the weekend. In a video posted on Instagram, he said his post “was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community,” He added that he ”just probably never should have posted anything Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person.” The team and the NFL both issued statements condemning Jackson’s posts. NFL-BROWNS-VERNON Durr detailed her struggles with COVID-19 in a post on Instagram. The former Louisville star says she hasn’t fully recovered.The second pick of the 2019 WNBA draft averaged 6.7 points in her rookie season, starting 15 of her 18 appearances before being sidelined for the season with a hip injury.In other WNBA news:— Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler is not in favor of the WNBA’s social justice plans and has sent a letter to Commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the league’s initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement when the season begins in Florida. Loeffler is a Republican U.S. senator running for re-election in Georgia. She asked the commissioner to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.VIRUS OUTBREAK-RAVENS QUARTERBACK Associated Press DALLAS (AP) — Oklahoma and Texas officials are cautiously optimistic that their annual football showdown still will be played at the Cotton Bowl in the Fair Park in Dallas, despite the announcement Tuesday that the fair would be canceled.Oklahoma-Texas is one of the longest-running and most intense rivalries in college football. This year’s game is scheduled for Oct. 10.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOCCERMLS match postponedORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Major League Soccer has postponed Wednesday night’s match between Nashville and Chicago. Jackson to hold annual event amid Florida spikeBALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson announced he will hold his annual “Funday with LJ” event in Florida amid the state’s spike in coronavirus cases. A flyer posted on Jackson’s Instagram page Monday says the event will be held in a park in his hometown of Pompano Beach in Broward County. The city’s website says social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people are currently not allowed. The announcement comes more than a week after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people are driving the surge in confirmed cases. Florida’s Health Department says there are more than 21,000 positive coronavirus cases in Broward County.NFL-EAGLES-JACKSONcenter_img VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE BASKETBALL-LOUISVILLETwo in Louisville program test positiveLOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two members of Louisville’s men’s basketball program have tested positive for COVID-19 and the team has suspended voluntary activities for two weeks.A news release from the school did not specify whether it was players or staff members who tested positive. It added that those impacted are being quarantined and proper protocols are being followed.VIRUS OUTBREAK-WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN VIRUS OUTBREAK-NBABeal, Dinwiddie won’t playWASHINGTON (AP) — Wizards leading scorer Bradley Beal and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie won’t take part in the restart of the NBA season.Beal is out because of a right rotator cuff injury. Dinwiddie announced that he is still testing positive for coronavirus and won’t participate.Washington, Orlando and Brooklyn are the three teams left in the race for the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots. If the Wizards finish within four games of whichever club finishes eighth, then two games will be played to determine the No. 8 seed. But with Beal and Davis Bertans out, a Wizards team that has been without John Wall all season will have to replace more than 40 points a game if it is to somehow get into that postseason mix. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-MLBGiants suspend workoutsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants say they are “suspending workouts at Oracle Park, pending the results of tests conducted this past weekend.” Update on the latest sports Women’s British Open to take place without fansUNDATED (AP) — Organizers are going ahead with the Women’s British Open at Royal Troon without spectators.The Women’s British Open is set for Aug. 20-23 at Royal Troon along the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. It would be the first major on the LPGA Tour schedule that is played this year and it would be the week after the Ladies Scottish Open on the other side of the country just east of Edinburgh.Qualifying for the AIG Women’s British Open has been canceled. The field will be made up of leading players from the women’s world ranking and recognizing top performances at recent events on the world’s leading tours.VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE FOOTBALL-OKLAHOMA-TEXAS CLEVELAND (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations tells the Associated Press the Cleveland Browns have re-worked defensive end Olivier Vernon’s contract for next season. Vernon’s future with the Browns seemed uncertain as he was set to make $15.25 million in 2020. But the club reworked his deal and the source says he’ll earn $11 million. The 29-year-old Vernon joined the Browns last season after coming over from the New York Giants in the blockbuster trade involving wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.last_img read more