Monday, December 28, 2009

In Indonesia, prison resembles life: you get what you pay for

There's a great interview with an inmate at Jakarta's Cipinang jail in today's Jakarta Globe, which reveals the inner workings of the predictably corrupt prison system.

Rich inmates pay the guards for good-quality food, TVs, air-conditioning and, of course, access to prostitutes.

But even the guys at the bottom of the pile have to pay for their meagre rations and even their cells. The subject of the story, a hapless drug dealer named 'Bambang', paid 2 million Rupiah ($212) for his two-man cell in Block B. It doesn't come close to the creature comforts of the Block A cells but it's a damn sight better than sharing a hovel with 20 other inmates in Block C.

Even the Block C inmates have to pay for their own incarceration though and if they can't afford it, they're forced to borrow from a loan shark.

In jail, as in life in Indonesia, there is nothing that does not have its price. If you want to get out of jail, don't bother farting around with a lawyer, just pay a broker to get you out. Bambang says he can get out for just 5 or 6 million Rupiah.

Now that's what I call a monetocracy.


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