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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Warden at Jakarta’s Cipinang prison fired over ‘luxury cell’ scandal

East Jakarta's Cipinang Prison, Indonesia
East Jakarta's Cipinang Prison, Indonesia
Yesterday’s announcement by the National Narcotic Agency (BNN) that they had uncovered a “luxury cell” at East Jakarta’s Cipinang Prison, complete with AC, wifi and even an aquarium, received a wide range of reactions, with many — including some of our commenters — shrugging and asking “So what else is new?” (since this is far from the first time luxury cells have been discovered at Indonesia’s notoriously corrupt prisons).

Government officials, on the other hand, expressed the appropriate levels of shock and outrage (despite the fact the news probably didn’t surprise any of them either) and the decision to remove Cipinang Warden Petrus Kunto Wiryanto, as well as Prison Security Unit Chief Sugeng Hardono.

“Yes indeed (both were removed),” said I Wayan Dusak, director general of corrections at the Ministry of Justice and Human as quoted by Kompas today.

The warden and the security head were also questioned by authorities, and both claimed to have not known about the existence of the luxury cell which housed convicted drug dealer Haryanto Chandra.

Dusak said it didn’t matter if the two were unaware of the luxury cell (insert rolling eye emoticon here), they were still liable under the penal and would be held responsible.

Meanwhile, it looks like Haryanto will likely be transferred the to the high-security Nusa Kambangan penitentiary in Central Java, where it’s doubtful he’ll be able to get a similar cell upgrade.

Previously, BNN Chief Budi Waseso (who famously pushed for the creation of an island prison for drug dealers surrounded by man-eating crocodiles) said that his investigators came across the well-appointed cell while investigating a money laundering case involving Haryanto, who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2014 under Indonesia’s harsh drug trafficking laws. 

BNN found his cell at Cipinang to contain air condition, a WiFi internet connection, a laptop and iPad to utilize the WiFi as well as four mobile phones. It even included an aquarium and a special menu for ordering food.

Many Indonesians support the death penalty for drug dealers because they believe that they can simply continue to run their businesses from behind bars while still enjoy the perks of their profits. And for good reason, since it was proven that some, such as infamous drug kingpin Freddy Budiman who was executed last year, were doing just that.

Source: Coconut Jakarta, June 15, 2017

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