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Indonesian Prisoners Display Handicrafts in Bid for Rehabilitation

An exposition of handicrafts made by prison inmates in Jakarta this week may be a welcome break from the country’s moral panic and tougher sentences for drug and other sensational offences.

The respite will take place at Exhibition Plaza at the Ministry of Industry and is titled “Creativity Without Limits,” promsing a bazaar of woodworkings, crafts and fashion such as batik Antara News reported.

The show comes just as Indonesia’s justice policy becomes more reactionary under the administration of President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi. Mass executions for big drug offenders kicked off his presidency in 2015. Last year, following the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, the Jokowi administration doubled down on harsh sentences introducing chemical castration for sex offenders and pedophiles.

During the first two years of Jokowi’s presidency more people were sent to the gallows than in the decade of his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. All of these for drug offences.

In fact Indonesia is slow to jail, compared to its neighbours. Some 81 Indonesians out of 100,000 are behind bars, according to the World Prison Brief from the University of London. That’s compared to 222 in Singapore and 424 in Thailand.

Visitors to the expo will be treated to performances and a Q&A with inmates in an effort to help break the social stigma that tends to haunt ex-convicts in most places, according to the report.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Rantam Sariwanto Bambang said this exhibition makes good on a commitment by the industry ministry to help foster skills of prison inmates, helping hedge against the chance of recidivism when they hit the streets again.

“Hopefully people can realize and accept that prisoners also have a positive side of life and should be appreciated,” the report quoted Bambang as saying. The show runs until April 7.

See: Indonesia Considers Castration And Death Penalty For Rapists

Image credits: AllAfrica

 

 

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Jeff moved to Jakarta earlier this year after stints as a business reporter in Tokyo and Sydney. After more than a decade in newsrooms, he turned to freelance writing specializing on infrastructure, sustainable development and finance. http://www.jeffreyhutton.com/ Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffreyhutton