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Life on the Inside at Bali's 'Big House'

Warden of Bali's Prison Tells Local Seminar Some Hard and Disturbing Facts on 'Life on the Inside' at Bali's Kerobokan Prison.

(12/7/2006) Bali's Former Chief of Police and Now Head of the National Anti-Narcotics Squad, General Made Mangku Pastika, has praised the new "get tough" regime of the Warden at Bali's Kerobokan who is cracking down on illegal activities at the badly over-crowded prison facility.

Among the actions taken by Warden Ilham Djaya was the recent transfer from Bali to Madura of 10 convicts suspected of operating narcotics and extortion rings within the prison's walls.

Interviewed by telephone by the Bali Post, Pastika explained that he had long lobbied for "troublemakers" at the prison to be transferred to Indonesi's "hard-time" penal island of Nusakambangan. Those recommendations made by Pastika in 2004 were set aside in the face of assurances from the then Warden of the facility that those scheduled for relocation had seen the errors of their ways.

Pastika praised Bali's new prison warden, Ilham Djaya, for having the courage to be a man-of-action and take firm steps to curb the inmate-run narcotics trade and improve the image of the prison.

In November, Djaya undertook the transfer of ten of the most troublesome prisoners one week after attending a seminar in Bali at which Pastika spoke and reiterated his recommendations for breaking up narcotic rings by transferring suspected ringleaders out of the Bali prison system.

Despite demonstrations outside the prison by friends and families of the convicts who opposed the relocation of the prisoners, Djaya defended his decision saying the 10 prisoners moved to Madura were frequently involved in extortion, insubordination and suspected of involvement in narcotics transactions behind the prison's walls.

Life Behind Bars in Bali's Prison

Highlighted by a just published prison memoirs of Shapelle Corby, life behind bars in Bali's Kerobokan prison is no picnic.

In a separate article in the Indonesian language Bali Post, the prison's new warden Ilham Djaya has been outspoken and forthright in outlining the problems that plague the administration of Bali's over-crowded and under-funded prison facility. Speaking at a recent seminar in Bali on how to curb narcotics use in Bali's prisons, Djaya revealed some sobering facts about Bali's prison:

▪ The prison built in 1997 to house 300 inmates now holds almost 900.

▪ 60% of the convicts at the prison are serving time or awaiting execution for involvement in narcotics offenses.

▪ Of the 145 government employees working at the prison, only 45 are guards. Broken into three shifts, this results in only 15 guards watching over 900 convicts during any one 8 hour period.

▪ The honorarium paid to a guard at the prison is only Rp. 2,500 per day (US$0.27), paving the way for bribes between prisoners and guards.

▪ As confirmed by General Pastika at the Seminar, the high profits derived from the drug trade make law enforcement against the narcotics trade difficult not only in Indonesia, but everywhere in the world.