The arrest of a Banceuy penitentiary guard caught red-handed with more than 16 kilograms of methamphetamine and several hundred ecstasy pills in Bandung has highlighted once again the core problem of Indonesia’s war against drugs. It’s the corrupt officials, rotten penitentiary system and of course the judiciary system as a whole rather than just foreigners smuggling drugs into the country.
First of all, Indonesia’s prisons must be reformed, its personnel re-educated or relocated. So many wardens, guards or even the chief of the country’s correctional facilities have for years taken bribes from drugs inmates. These drugs kingpins so easily run their business from their cells, often cooperating with guards and wardens.
Jailing drug dealers and traffickers has failed to create deterrent effect. With so much cash in their hands, these drug lords can always buy the guards and live like kings. Some even welcome their “punishment” as the prison protects from police investigation.
The fact that the prison guard, Dedy Romadi, was arrested with so much drugs in his possession just after the execution of 15 drugs convicts must remind the government that capital punishment doesn’t deter drug dealing. The megaphone policy of killing so many people proved useless. The only way of lessening drug circulation is by making sure that law enforcers, including prison guards, don’t take bribe. Those who are caught receiving hush money should be heavily punished.
Finally, the state must start to differentiate between drug users and drug dealers or traffickers. At the moment, they are treated the same and given the same form of punishment. It’s time for the country to build and encourage the development of drug rehabilitation centers.
Source: The Jakarta Globe, Editorial, May 25, 2015
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