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Teen Prisoners in Indonesia
Luh De Suriyani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Wed, 09/01/2010 9:20 AM | Bali
The Bali chapter of the Indonesian Commission for Child
Protection (KPAID) says that restorative justice must govern
local authorities when handling juvenile offenders implicated in
KPAID chairman Anak Ayu Sri Wahyuni said most of Balis underage prisoners are susceptible to violent physical, sexual and mental abuse.
Wahyuni added that most of the isles teenage inmates were currently suffering from depression that could lead to serious mental problems.
Wahyuni also said that local authorities have been denying the youths access to education and psychological therapy.
Balis legal authorities have been very slow in implementing restorative justice for teenage offenders, which is actually provided for in a joint statement of six ministers on handling of juvenile offenders, Wahyuni said.
In 2009, six ministers and high-ranking legal institutions comprised of the Supreme Court, the Justice and Human Rights Minister, the Social Services Minister, the Attorney General, the National Police chief and the Womens Empowerment and Child Protection Minister issued a joint decree on the juvenile justice system.
The decree stipulated that restorative justice must be applied to teenage criminal offenders.
According to the International Youth Justice Board, restorative justice addresses the harm caused by a criminal offence or a non-criminal incident.
Restorative justice stipulates that through structured communications, victims and perpetrators can discuss how they were affected by an incident and can explore what needs to happen to repair the harm caused.
The joint ministerial decree also urged local authorities to improve the situation and conditions of children and teenagers facing legal problems using formal legal justice and also social and moral justice.
Indonesia already passed the law on youth and child justice in 1997, though some experts said it was child-unfriendly.
Juvenile justice still falls under the nations criminal justice system, which has a general approach towards crime.
She said that young inmates and adult inmates at Balis Karangasem prison were treated alike.
According to Justice and Human Rights Ministry statistics, Indonesia incarcerates 5,760 children and teenagers.
Twenty-seven youth offenders are currently incarcerated in Bali: 14 at the youth juvenile detention in Karangasem, East Bali, and 13 in other prisons on the island, where they are imprisoned in the general prison population with adult offenders.
Bali Justice Office spokesman Sumanto said that juvenile detention has improved in Bali. We want to provide access to education but we still face obstacles from the social affairs office on minimum requirements for non-formal education, he said.