Kerobokan Cleans Up After Days Of Rioting
Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. The recent rioting at Kerobokan Prison in Bali caused at least Rp 1.2 billion ($133,000) in damages, officials estimate.
“That’s just from the burned-down building,” Priyadi, chief of Bali’s justice and human rights office, said on Sunday. “We haven’t accounted for the prison guards’ equipment, computers, documents, etc.”
For the first time since the riot started last week, journalists on Saturday were allowed inside the prison, providing a glimpse into the true extent of the damage.
Officials and inmates were piling up burned mattresses and rubble. Others were fixing damaged water pipes.
Priyadi said a private auditing firm had been appointed to assess the damage, and more details were expected by Tuesday.
Prisoners overwhelmed the 20 guards on duty on Tuesday night, forcing them to flee. The inmates then set fire to prison offices, including the armory.
Police and military fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to quell the violence, injuring three prisoners.
The riot was triggered by the stabbing of an inmate during a brawl two days earlier. Lax security was blamed for allowing a knife into the facility.
Two prison officials — warden Bowo Nariwono and chief of security Anang Khuzaini — lost their positions on Friday because of the days-long rioting.
Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, the new warden, began the daunting task on Saturday of calming the still simmering tensions among the prison’s 1,000 inmates, most of them drug convicts and hardened criminals.
One of his first initiatives was to hold a team-building exercise for some of the prisoners and prison guards.
“This is important and has become a priority. We want to eliminate the feeling of distrust and fear between guards and inmates,” Gusti said. He added that the effort got off to a good start on Saturday, with the inmates appearing eager to take part.
Officials also provided counseling sessions for female and juvenile prisoners who were traumatized by the rioting.
Bambang Krisbanu, the security director at Bali’s justice and human rights office, said that the authorities were working to reduce overcrowding in Kerobokan , which was designed for just 300 inmates.
Eighty-four inmates, he said, have been transferred to jails in Bali and neighboring East Java, and another seven were paroled.
Bambang Daranindra, the chief consul at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, visited the prison on Sunday to ensure that all 60 foreign inmates were safe after the rioting. He said most of the foreigners had refused to be transferred to other prisons.
“They feel at home [in Kerobokan],” he said. “They have made friends with the local prisoners, and moving to a new place would require some adjustment. They’re at ease here and their families can visit them without hassle.”
For security reasons, prison officials have not allowed inmates to have visits from family members and friends since the rioting began.
Daranindra said diplomats from 17 countries had expressed concern about their citizens locked up in Kerobokan.
“We will meet them and tell them they have nothing to worry about,” he said.
Badung Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Beny Arjanto said that the police would deploy 90 officers to guard the facility.
“We will return our officers only once we’re sure the situation is under control,” he said.
The police handed over security to prison guards on Wednesday, but that prompted another round of rioting that evening and the prison guards were once again overwhelmed.