Tue, 25 Jan 2000

Prisoners told to go home

WAMENA, Irian Jaya (JP): The local penitentiary is allowing 64 prisoners to serve the rest of their terms at home with their families following a "heated atmosphere" in jail.

The chief warden, Idris, announced the controversial policy on Saturday, but refused to elaborate on his reasons.

"We have tried to keep them here, but conditions at the jail make it impossible for them to stay with the other inmates," Idris said.

He said he had reported conditions at the penitentiary to the provincial office of the Ministry of Law and Legislation in Jayapura, but had received no response.

Local police chief Lt. Col. D. Suripaty said he deeply regretted the policy.

"The penitentiary is fully responsible for the inmates, who are also in need of guidance. If it cannot function, law enforcement will mean nothing. What do we arrest criminals for?" Suripaty said. (eba)