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Officials mull rehabilitation over incarceration for drug offences following fire at Indonesian prison

Jack Arthur

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PHOTO: -gregg-/Flickr

Yesterday, the Thaiger wrote about a fire at an Indonesian prison that killed 41 people. Now, the death toll has risen to 44. Prison officials have declared that they will look into whether more inmates could receive rehabilitation for drug related offences to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

The death toll, originally placed at 41 lives, saw 3 more people who had severe burns die overnight, says Rika Aprianti, a spokesperson for the prison department at the Indonesian justice ministry, today. Reuters says Wednesday’s fire at the Tangerang penitentiary took place in a prison block that held 3 times the number it was designed to house. Specifically, the prison block was intended for 38 inmates but held 122. Most of the prisoners were incarcerated for drug related offences.

The tragedy has kicked-off an outcry for Indonesia to rethink its stringent narcotics laws, which places a high number of inmates in prison for drug related offences. Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD, says that out of the 200,000 incarcerated people throughout Indonesia, over half are imprisoned for drug charges. Mahfud adds that these high rates necessitate a re-evaluation.

“But the victims, the users who become victims, we will think about whether they should all be sent to prison or not. Is it better to rehabilitate them?”

The cause of the fire, while speculated to be an electrical fault, has not been revealed.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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