Sunday, 20 December 2009

Health and wealth have missed me

Some good news for those in prison. The Jakarta Post reports on the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the Minister of Justice/Human Rights and the Minister of Health. This makes prison inmates eligible for the government-run health insurance scheme for poor people, known as Jamkesmas.

In the past, it has frequently been difficult for prison staff to arrange free health care for inmates, since they often do not have valid identity cards and have difficulty proving that they are poor (within the meaning of the act). Now, all that will be needed to access hospital services is a recommendation from the prison warden.

Except for "inmates assumed to be rich, like drug abusers," the Post reports the Minister of Justice/Human Rights as saying. Since something like half of prisoners are there for drug offences, this would seem to place a severe limit on eligibility. A similar limitation previously in place in Jakarta excluded the inmates of the Cipinang Narcotics Penitentiary from accessing the free health care which at least in theory was available to other inmates.

The Director-general of Prisons appears to be unaware of this. He is quoted as noting that 90% of prisoners will be included in the scheme. Let's hope the wardens ignore the oft-held assumption that all drug users must be rich to afford their habit.


1 comment:

Toyin O. said...

Great news for the inmates.