Inmates of Bagansiapiapi prison in Riau enliven Ramadan spirit

Internal Affairs

Hundreds of inmates of Bagansiapiapi Penitentiary in Riau Province continue to enliven the Ramadan spirit by performing Islamic rituals despite limitations to the prison condition at the prison with the highest density in Indonesia.

Besides conducting a congregational Tarawih evening prayer, the inmates also take turns reciting the Quran together, Head of the Bagansiapiapi Class IIA Prison Wachid Wibowo was quoted as saying here Sunday.

Every evening, up to 90 inmates join the evening prayer, while around four- five inmates take turns reciting the Quran at several areas under officers’ supervision, he said.

“We also organise religious lectures, congregational daily prayers at the prison mosque, Quran classes, and morning and noon Quran reciting assembly. All Muslim inmates have equal opportunity (to join the assembly) yet they must wait for their turn due to limitations on the facility capacity and number of prison officers,” Wibowo remarked.

Meanwhile, Riau Province’s Law and Human Rights Office Regional Office Head Mhd Jahari Sitepu said that the prison, located in the northern part of Riau Province, and was initially readied only to accommodate up to 98 inmates, is currently having a 990-per cent overcapacity with 970 inmates incarcerated in the prison by April 2022.

“Due to the increase of inmates population, Bagansiapiapi Prison was elevated to Class IIA Prison in 2020,” Sitepu said.

Despite the overcapacity issue, the monitoring process and daily activities in the prison remain normal, he highlighted.

Sitepu said that inmates are enthusiastic to attend religious activities at the prison, and unhealthy inmates are barred from joining congregational activities.

He pointed out that the key to success in maintaining prison conditions, despite the discrepancy between prison officers and inmates, is by enhancing camaraderie between officers and inmates, as well as by encouraging the prisoners to improve their religious faith.

“I always remind prison officers to respect the inmates as their own brothers. I also told the inmates that the prison is our home, that security and order must be maintained, and that they must respect prison officers,” he noted.

The office head added that to alleviate Bagansiapiapi Prison overcapacity, the Law and Human Rights Ministry would commence the construction of a new prison in Ujung Tanjung region this year on a land plot acquired in 2021.

Source: Antara News