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Indonesian official says overcrowded prisons turns inmates ‘homosexual’

Indonesian official says overcrowded prisons turns inmates ‘homosexual’

Picture: Matthew Ansley / UnSplash

As overcrowding in Indonesia’s penitentiary system enters crisis levels, one government official has said prison overcrowding will result in ‘homosexuals and lesbians.’

Liberti Sitinjak, an official from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (which oversees the country’s penitentiary system) claimed inmates have been doing ‘deviant’ acts to one another.

Sitinjak spoke of the prisons in West Java, a province of Indonesia on the western part of the island of Java, Detik reported.

What did he say?

‘It’s like this, [the overcrowding] results in feet touching feet, head meeting head and bodies meeting bodies,’ Sitinjak said in Bandung today [8 July].

‘The result is the emergence of homosexuals and lesbians.’

According to Liberti, the province’s prisons have a capacity to hold 15,658 inmates. However, 23,681 are currently incarcerated.

Why are Indonesia’s prisons so overcrowded?

Many lawmakers and analysts point to the country’s penal code as the reason.

In 2009, the government introduced mandatory three-year prison sentences for using narcotics. The relatively light crime has resulted in heavy prison population numbers.

In fact, around 60% of the province’s prison population are drug offenders.

Sitinjak, too, agreed. The lawmaker said those carrying out sentences for drug-related crimes should instead be rehabilitated rather than incarcerated.

Moreover, nearly 29,000 Indonesians are serving drawn-out sentences for nonviolent crimes, such as pick-pocketing and gambling, according to data from the Directorate General of Corrections.

While the idea of a hammock may sound relaxing to some, it’s the daily reality for some inmates.

Earlier this year, photographs of inmates sleeping suspended off the ground of Bagansiapiapi Detention Center in Riau, offered a grim glimpse into just how severe the overcrowding issue is in many Indonesian prisons.

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