Every year, more than 2,000 Indonesian children are being put in jail (Ditjenpas Kemenkumham: 2017). Some of the children are jailed for minor crimes such as theft or narcotics use in small numbers, and more than 60% of children are held/ sentenced along with adult prisoners. During the pending investigation process until the trial, more than 20% of children were held beyond the maximum period of detention and only a small proportion of them were accompanied by legal counsel (PUSKAPA: 2014).
Indonesia had already enacted Law No. 11/2012 on Juvenile Justice System (JJS Law) that emphasizes restorative justice principles, mandates imprisonment as an ultimum remedium, and promotes diversion and protection of the rights of children, including separation from adult prisoners, to ensure the best interests of the child. After 5 years of the enactment of this law, there are still many things to be improved in the implementation level.
In response to the challenges above, the Ministry of National Development Planning (PPN/BAPPENAS), together with relevant ministries and institutions, UNICEF, and PUSKAPA, held a series of multi-stakeholder meetings to evaluate the implementation of UU SPPA and steps needed to strengthen the law.
Started with the meeting on August 31st 2017, BAPPENAS declared its full commitment to improve the implementation of JJS Law. The meeting was followed by a discussion on “Education and Training on the Implementation of JJS Law” on October 16th 2017, “Rehabilitation and Reintegration of JJS” on November 1st, and will be immediately followed by the discussion on planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation of JJS Law. In parallel, the Human Resources Development Board at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights also held a series of meetings to evaluate the implementation of training and capacity buildings on JJS, while making improvements to the JJS integrated training modules.
Not just the Government, CSOs also collaborated to support the process. PUSKAPA along with Sahabat Kapas, Rifka Annisa, PKBM Aceh, RJWG Aceh, LPA NTB, BAHTERA, LAHA Bandung, LBH Bali, LPA Klaten, Departemen Psikologi Binus, Fakultas Hukum UNPAR, ICJR, PKBI Nasional, PKBI DKI, MaPPI FHUI, Criminology Department at Universitas Indonesia, LBH Masyarakat, RWI, TAF, YKAI, CDS, RTJ, Sustain EU – UNDP, and IDLO held a workshop on October 10th 2017. During the workshop, PUSKAPA facilitated the discussion to identify the challenges, opportunities, and advocacy plans for better and stronger law implementation.
Overall, the CSO workshop resulted in several agreements to monitor and support the JJS Law implementation: (1) the implementation of the JJS Law should enforce the important principle of the act itself, which is to prevent children from entering the judicial system, (2) preventing children from detention, (3) preventing children from being tried, (4) imprisonment, (5) effective rehabilitation of children to return to the community immediately, and prevent children from tackling unlawful acts. Of course all of these principles would only work by continuously strengthening the collaboration between civil society, community and government organizations.
We need to appreciate the series of meetings that have been done by the Government and other stakeholder, in which the Government can sit with civil society organizations and have a healthy discussion to determine the best way to improve the handling of children in JJS. All issues, reports and research submitted by SPPA implementers and civil society organizations will also be used by the Ministry of PPN / BAPPENAS to map priorities of the Government Work Plan (RKP) of 2018 and 2019, and to formulate the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) Year 2020 - 2024.