JAKARTA: Indonesia is set to release about 30,000 prisoners early as the country seeks to avoid a possible surge in COVID-19 infections in its overcrowded prisons.
A document issued by the law and human rights ministry reviewed by Reuters stipulated that adult prisoners would be eligible for parole if they had served two-thirds of their sentences, while children would be eligible if they served half of their jail term.
Official data shows there are 270,386 prisoners across Indonesia, more than twice the official capacity of its jails, as a war on drugs has led to a surge in the number of people locked up. Many centers also lack proper sanitation, which makes inmates particularly vulnerable to the spread of diseases.
Other countries including Iran and the United States have also released prisoners early in a bid to stem the accelerating spread of coronavirus in jails.
In a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak, President Joko Widodo on Tuesday declared a national public health emergency and the government has reported 1,414 infections and 122 deaths from the virus so far.
Widodo also said he would impose stricter rules on mobility and social distancing as a study presented to the government warned that more than 140,000 people could die from the coronavirus by May unless it takes tougher action.