What can be bought with the money in prison?

Three years ago, a photo of a man at an international tennis tournament in Bali surprised the public in Indonesia.

The photo published in a newspaper is a photo of Gayus Tambunan wearing thick glasses and a wig.

The former tax employee should be in prison in Jakarta, which is one hour by plane.

Gayus finally admitted that he did go to Bali because he was “bored in prison.”

Further investigation showed that he had left 68 times in prison between July and November 2010, even to China.

The case highlights how flexible prison is in Indonesia, for those who have money.

Prisons can issue temporary exit permits, which are permitted by law. But Neta S Pane, chairman of Indonesia Police Watch, said the exit permit was often only a “formality” and the cost depends on “the situation.”




Research conducted by IPW shows that inmates who are able to pay-on-demand fees can get out of jail for up to three days a week.

Problems in prisons are inseparable from the fact that prisons in Indonesia are overcapacity and underfunded as written by the Asia Foundation in its report two years ago.

According to the report, “the officers managing the prison did not get paid properly.”

In principle, there is nothing that money cannot buy Arswendo Atmowiloto, a former prisoner

So, in a system that is in chaos where comfort is very minimal and the officers who are less guaranteed by welfare, the money speaks.

“The principle is that there is nothing that money cannot buy,” said Arswendo Atmowiloto, who was jailed for three years for blasphemy.

The writer and former journalist who had tasted the Salemba and Cipinang prisons said that officers at the correctional facilities often called prospective residents to discuss room rentals.

“Usually I have ordered, what block or room do I want. Yes, of course you pay a down payment, like just checking in at the hotel, “Arswendo said.

Based on his experience, the administration of the room rent has already been arranged.

“When I used to pay around Rp. 300 thousand when I first entered, there was a security fee in the palace which was managed by the guards. As for security money, each block has a jeger or its owner who controls it, “he added.

Not everyone can be ‘jeger’ in prison.

“If you want to be jeger, someone must make an achievement such as killing police, security guards or soldiers.”

He also did not deny that “permission to see a doctor” was often misused by detainees.

“Permission to the doctor is in the regulations and does not violate, but you know the same. The fare depends on the morning to evening or even the night. If it’s late at night, it’s expensive because you have to pay the guards on different shifts, “Arswendo said.


It’s hard to eradicate


Gayus’s confession and Arsenio’s story shows that the practice of knowing the same tofu in prison has been going on for decades.

The Chairperson of the Indonesian Police Watch Presidium, Neta S Pane, said that this practice was indeed difficult to eradicate because there was no institution specifically monitoring it.

“Permission to leave prison for example, is only a formality, so the payment also depends on the situation. If the situation is hot, for example if there is a inspection, the tariff can reach 5 million once home from morning to evening and if from afternoon to morning the fare is 15 million, so if he is used to getting out he will get a discount, “he added


A number of cases of violations are in prison

A number of cases of violations are in prison

  • November 2010, corruption suspect Gayus Tambunan traveled to Bali while in detention in Cipinang Prison, Jakarta
  • In March 2011, a woman named Karni claimed she was paid Rp.8 million to replace prisoners of embezzlement cases named Kasiyem
  • July 2012, prisoner murder and terrorist suspect Badri fled when permission to leave to visit his sick wife

He said that a prisoner who has money can go out two to three days a week, especially if there is mutual trust between the prison and prisoners.

Responding to this, Minister of Law and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin said the monitoring mechanism had been carried out and carried out.

“The steps to control me are done so that there are officers who are dismissed from their duties, and inmates in particular corruption cases are collected in SukamiskinBandung Prison,” Amir said.

He believes that with integrated and continuous monitoring, regulations in prisons can be enforced.

Arswendo himself based on his experience, believes that the main thing that must be done by the government is to make sure the officers get welfare first.

“How can it be eradicated when the guard sees a prisoner who only has a lunch for a month? Well, the principle of buying and selling immediately applies. If you have money, here you have the goods,” said Arswendo.

“I feel sorry for the small criminals who have no money because living in prison is very hard. Even if you have money, staying in prison is not easy,” he added.