Jakarta – National Police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan has said that 135 prisoners, who were released early in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, are back to committing crimes.
"A total of 135 convicts were rearrested by the police after receiving parole from the Law and Human Rights Ministry due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Ahmad said in a statement on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
Ahmad said most of the offenses committed by the prisoners were theft, robbery and vehicle theft.
"The prisoners' crimes also included murder, rape, gambling, child sexual abuse, assault and drug abuse," he said.
The 135 recidivism cases were reported in 23 regions, with Central Java and North Sumatra recording the most cases, each having reported a total of 17 cases. Riau province reported 12 cases and West Java reported 11.
Ahmad said the motive behind most of the crimes was economic hardship. "Some cases were also linked to grudges, especially for assaults and murders," he said.
The Law and Human Rights Ministry has released more than 37,014 convicts and 2,259 child detainees under the COVID-19 assimilation and integration program, with the government planning to release a total of 50,000 prisoners.
Official data show that Indonesia has a total of 270,386 inmates and that it has exceeded more than twice the official capacity of its detention facilities. With overcrowded cells and unsanitary environments, prisons are considered in great danger of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said the assimilation program for prisoners and juvenile inmates is part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 behind bars. (nal)