Prisonization: Causative factors and its impact in rehabilitating accidental offenders in Indonesia

Dr  A. Angkasa

Dean and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law Universitas Jenderal Soedirman, Purwokerto – Indonesia,

This research is about the causative factors of prisonization and its impact in rehabilitating the inmates, more specifically accidental offenders, who are currently imprisoned at selected prisons in Indonesia.  Prisonization means  the process of acculturation and assimilation which the inmate undergoes in becoming acquainted with the prison world.

Theoretically speaking, prisonization has distracted the objectives of imprisonment as rehabilitation and resocialization program.   Prisonization has negatively affected ‘first time offenders’ or accidental offenders, since the prison, in Indonesia, has been well-known as a place for dissemination and contamination of crime values. Not just as a place for rehabilitation. At prison, the recidivists easily interact with accidental offenders, mutually share and teach their personal knowledge and experiences.

Eventually, through acculturation and assimilation process, after spending certain time in prison as prisoner, instead of rehabilitation, the inmates have learned a lot about the crime, prisons’ customs and cultures.

This research was empirically conducted in six different prisons in Indonesia, which were purposively selected.  All of selected prisons are over-populated and inhabited by various inmates with various degrees of crimes and term of imprisonment. The research employs qualitative method.

The research found those prisonizations were really happened at the prisons being studied.  The forms of prisonization are bullying, categorization, group fighting, sexual attack, extortion, applying special languages, and tattooing.

Prisonization took place because of various severe deprivation experienced by the inmates. Those deprivations are deprivation of freedom, services, goods, heterosexual relationship and deprivation of security. These kinds of deprivations are experienced by all inmates, more specifically; the inmates who inhabited over-populated prison.

To overcome these matters, the researcher suggests that the legal authority should implement restorative justice, implement conditional imprisonment, and build more prisons with bigger spaces and better facilities as well as improving laws, law enforcement officers and legal culture related to penitentiary.


Prisonization, deprivation, Indonesia, over-populated


Dr Angkasa is currently a Dean and Assistant Professor at Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law Universitas Jenderal Soedirman, Purwokerto – Indonesia.  Obtained PhD (in Victimology/ Criminal Law) from Universitas Diponegoro, Semarang   –  Indonesia. Teaching subjects :  Penology, Criminology, Victimology and Criminal Law

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