Correctional House is not a Prison but a Building Institution

Ilustrasi LP

Andawat – Since 1 May 2012 to 7 May 2012, Abepura Level II A Prison, Jayapura had been ‘closed’ for public. Although there are no legal grounds for the closing of the prison from public access, specifically family, religious figures, medical practitioners a,d legal advisor, it was what happened at the prison.

The order to close Abepura prison for a week was made by the prison chief, Drs. L.Sitindjak MM,Msi following the incident on 30 April 2012 when Selfius Bobi, one of the political prisoners for KRP III (Papua Grand Convention) refused to enter the room when locked out. Selfius Bobi  was moved to Papua Police Headquarter since then.

Disturbance, torture, or other types of violence at a correctional house particularly between prisoners and officers are regular views in Indonesian, especially in Papua. For example, the action led by Buktar Tabuni and Philep Karma in December 2010. The incident caused damages to the prison facilities such as chairs, tables, and computers. Buktar is then transferred to Drugs Correctional House in Doyo Baru to his release later.

Previous clash between prison officers and prisoners happened on 16 March 2006 that caused one of Ferry Pakage’s eyes injured and become totally blind. At that time 5 prisoners, including Selfius Bobi were transferred to Drugs Correctional House in Doyo Baru in September 2008 to their release in the end.

So, such cases are consistent with the statement made by special report from the the UN Anti Torture Special Reporter when visiting Indonesia in 2008. The reporter categorized the prisons as one of law enforcement institutions full of torture practices, discrimination and other types of crimes suffered particularly by political prisoners. Some of the privileges they should enjoy have been ignored.

Although government to date have not admitted that there are political prisoners and convicts as referred by Minister of Politic, Law and Security in his visit to Jayapura in the beginning of December 2011 and a visit by Minister of Law and Human Rights in March 2012. However, in practice certain types of scrutiny were employed to certain political activists in prison that is those who have been charged of being subversive (Article 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code and now supplemented with Article 160 of the Criminal Code on instigation). Certain attentions were also applied in the way their visit hours are limited and with tightened procedures or by locating special security personnel. This process has been maintained since police investigation level.

To prisoners accused and treated of being subversive (politic), it is very clear that they are not treated as regular prisoners. These prisoners have been labeled certain predicate and honor since they show their responsibility to other prisoners. This certainly makes them figures to prisoners in the prison. They have groups, followers, and ‘self-organization’. They keep updated intensively to outside world using different kinds of facility for example by reading newspaper or having friends or relative visit.

They also take the role as mediator to discuss prisoners or convicts’ needs to prison officers. For example, they mediate prisoners and convicts rights which include extension of sentence period, parole, assimilation, etc. At times, some officers refuse such ways and ask questions. “They are not officers, so if it is about parole or other stuffs, let the prisoners ask the things to us by themselves. If it is only reporting someone’s sickness it is fine, but they tend to intervene with administrational matters,” an officer said.

They hope whatever they may do at prison still valuable for political realm to maintain their existence and the system prevails in the prison is used to be sensitive to such condition. Actually, it is not only prisoners and convicts who refuse to enter a room during lock out or refuse to attend worship or ask for permission to leave prison, but such desires really attract special attention when performed by political convicts and prisoners.

This fact shows that it is necessary for government to decide and apply standard regulations along with all consequences. So it necessary to find whether no political prisoners and convicts have been treated differently since police investigation, attorney proceedings, litigation, certain types of security procedures up to permission to check up health. Ironically, government imposes stagnant regulations that there are no political convicts and prisoners while special regulations and treatment are still applied to them.

Such obscurity has been an entrance for violence and other institutions to intervene the legal process. In prison, such way is seen in special security procedure or transfer of prisoners to other prisons or correctional houses.

This regulation should have to be defined from police investigation in the first place. How government respond to different kinds of public actions such as a number of demonstrations and other types of freedom of expression as part of free democracy, good governance improvement or a resistance to government.

Correctional system at a prison has to be improved toward more of a building and humane institution. If not, a correctional house will be “victim” of ambiguous government policy since the house is where political activists go through hectic internal adaptation and interaction. Besides, physical and symbolic frictions are vividly seen between those guilty against NKRI (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) and those loyal to NKRI in their long and tedious days and years. This is absolutely a complex matters to deal with both to the prisoners and prison officers.

Work system and relation between the regional office and prison officers as well as assignments and behaviors should have to be improved in order to organize better internal dynamic. A clean, good and well-organized correctional house would create a comfortable place to work for prison officers. They will feel that going to prison for work is not ‘going to a prison’ preoccupied with burdens which weaken quality work and lead to using violence to compensate solving problems. (Andawat/ALDP)