Efforts are being made to reform practices at Bali’s notorious Kerobokan prison after the recent violent revolt that saw a number of prisoners and police injured as inmates took complete control of the prison for nearly five days.
Kompas.com reports that repair work is gradually getting underway to renovate burnt-out office space, repair windows, whitewash soot-covered walls and replace broken lighting.
Of equal importance to restoring peace to the facility are steps also underway to eradicate illegal levies demanded by prison guards from prisoners and those visiting them. I Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, the man drafted to take over command of the prison during the recent riots, confirmed that he has been ordered by his superiors to stop all illegal levies and, to that end, has posted signs asking visitors not to make payments of any kind to prison guards,
Said Wiratna, “If there are requests for bribes, report it. This is not an easy job, but I am sure with support from all sectors we cab stop this practice.”
A banner reading “Help us by not giving anything to guards” is now displayed at the visiting room of the Kerobokan prison. In the past, the payment of bribes to officials controlling access to prisoners on during visiting hours was essentially de rigueur.
Describing past practice for those wishing to visit prisoners at Kerobokan, a source that did not wish to be identified told Kompas.com: “When we entered we were given a form to fill out stating whom we will visit. That cost Rp. 5,000. After that we were required to store our hand phone with a guard and that cost Rp. 5,000. Then there was another Rp. 5,000 to have the prisoner called to the visiting area. At the very least we had to pay Rp. 15,000 every time we visited a prisoner.”
As separate report in The Jakarta Post listed an entire range of illegal fees and levies in place at the Kerobokan prison prior to the recent riot.
Among the illegal fees listed were:
- Rp. 20,0000 (US$2.25) paid by prisoners each month in the women’s block to use a clothesline.
- Rp. 100,000 (US$11) paid to prison guards to deliver 100 grams of drugs to a prisoner.
- A Rp. 15,000 monthly fee (US$1.65) to be allowed to carry a hand phone for several days.
- Rp. 10,000 per day (US1.10) to rent a telephone that will not be disturbed by a jammer installed to thwart the use of hand phones in the illicit drug trade inside the prison.
- Rp. 10,000 (US$1.10) paid to permit a visit between a male and female inmate of the prison.
- Rp. 150,000 (US$16.60) to Rp. 1 million (US$111) to be moved from an overcrowded 5 x 5 meter cell shared by ten prisoners to less crowded accommodation with sufficient space to lay down.
- Rp. 850,000 (US$94) that must be paid to prison officials to have a parole application processed.
- Various sums paid in protection to end beatings, abuse and victimization by vicious prison gangs.
- Fees of various amounts paid to prison guards to be allowed carry weapons inside the prison.
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