Crime & Justice

Jakarta prison fire death toll rises to 44

Jakarta, Sep 9 (EFE).- Indonesian authorities Thursday raised to 44 the fatalities from the fire that devastated a block of a prison on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital the day before, and which has drawn attention to the overcrowding of the country’s penitentiaries.

Rika Aprianti, the Justice Ministry’s Corrections Department spokeswoman, said that three people died in hospital and added to the 41 deaths confirmed Wednesday, the Republika news portal said.

In addition, some 30 prisoners were injured by the flames and have been transferred to different health centers.

Those responsible for Tangerang prison in Jakarta said the fire started Wednesday at dawn, supposedly as a result of an electrical failure, in Block C of the penitentiary, designated for drug crime inmates and where there were at least 122 people at the time of the incident.

Authorities recognized the problem due to the saturation of the prison, built in 1972 to house some 600 inmates and which currently houses more than 2,000 prisoners.

The event has also prompted authorities to reconsider tough narcotics laws, which punish even self-use with jail terms and which causes a disproportionately high number of inmates with drug offenses in the country’s prisons.

Mahfud Md, Political, Legal and Security Affairs, said Thursday after visiting the prison that they are considering reforming laws that would send drug users to rehabilitation centers instead of prison. EFE


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