Saturday, 9 August 2014

Punk rock in prison - children dream about life after detention in Klaten

by Lauren Rumble, Chief, Child Protection, Indonesia

In July, I travelled to Klaten district to visit children in prison.

I was impressed by their dedication to learning, even though the teachers allocated to the prison school often don’t come and health services are erratic. The children, all of them boys, dream of continuing their education and leading productive lives in their community upon release.

“I just want to go back to school when I get out,” said Hadi*. In prison, the boys have been learning art, music, drama and practical skills like printing. The boys are selling their work as part of an NGO-supported project to promote their return to community life.

“Children get arrested for crimes because of peer pressure,” said Armo*, “or because they are neglected at home. What we need is support, and the opportunity to become better citizens.”  

Artwork by the boys in Klaten prison, for sale
©UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Lauren Rumble

The boys have created their own song in punk rock about freedom and dreams.

UNICEF supports government and civil society partners to implement children’s right to protection and justice - including children in conflict with the law in Indonesia. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the Government of Indonesia, detention is the last resort for children who commit crimes.

UNICEF Indonesia advocates for full implementation of the new juvenile justice law which should enter into force in late 2014. The new law promotes community-based justice and access to legal assistance for all children in contact with the law.

In Klaten, authorities are working to reduce the number of children in prison. Numbers have decreased from 47 in 2012 to 5 in 2014. In the past, children could be imprisoned for petty crimes like minor theft but the new law is changing this practice.

Children in prison need their cases to be reviewed regularly by a lawyer, says the government authorities managing the prison facilities in Klaten. They also need their cases monitored upon release to make sure they are safe and contribute positively to their society.

The Child Forum in Klaten agrees about advocating for the rights of all children in detention to health, legal and education support. “They are children, too,” said Karina Faiz Hanifah, the Chairperson of the Child Forum.

Members of the Child Forum, Klaten
©UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Lauren Rumble

UNICEF thanks the Government of Norway for its generous financial support to this work.

*not their real names