Junaedi, Polewali Mandar – Riots broke out at the Polewali Mandar Class IIB Prison (Lapas Polman) in Polewali Mandar regency, West Sulawesi, on Saturday June 22 after prisoners rejected a new parole policy by the prison warden.
Prison warden Haryoto is requiring that all Muslim prisoners who are seeking parole must be able to read the Koran. Several inmates who rioted damaged fences and windows in the prison.
The situation only began to calm down after scores of police officers from the Polewali Mandar district police were deployed to the location to bring the situation under control.
“A prisoner with the initials 0 has not yet been released [on parole] because the person concerned can’t yet read the Koran. Meanwhile a prisoner with the initials R has been released because the person concerned was considered to have fulfilled the conditions [for parole]. Now, this is what became the trigger for the [prisoners’] anger which it is believed was provoked by another unscrupulous prisoner”, explained Haryoto on Saturday June 22.
Haryoto said that the Koran reading requirement for Muslim inmates seeking to be paroled has been applied since he was officially assigned as Polewali Mandar prison warden.
He said that the Koran reading competency is important because this knowledge will be useful in the future for them to socialise and reintegrate with society after they are declared free.
The tensions at the Polewali Mandar prison only began to be diffused after local police arrived and secured the prison.
Officials used a persuasive approach and inmates were asked to be patient and remain calm. Officials asked the inmates, who had gathered around the prison, to return to their respective cell blocks so that it would not further inflame the tense situation.
Currently the situation at the prison is gradually coming under control. In order to anticipate additional chaos, scores of police officers are still on standby.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Ratusan Napi Lapas Polewali Mandar Mengamuk, Pintu dan Kaca Dirusak”.]