Study: Extremists Still Flourishing in Indonesia’s Prisons

Inmates attend a religious class led by convicted militant Arif Syaifudin, right in 2011 in Porong Prison in Sidoarjo, East Java. Photo: Achmad Ibrahim / Associated Press

JAKARTA — A new study has found Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons are ill-equipped to deal with Islamic militant inmates, hampering efforts to prevent the spread of violent radicalism.


The study adds to years of warnings by experts that the country’s prisons have become a jihadis training ground.

The research conducted by psychologists from the University of Indonesia found that prison staff lack the ability to identify high-risk inmates who could recruit others because they’re given limited information and little specialist training.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has arrested and imprisoned hundreds of militants in the crackdown that followed the 2002 Bali bombings. But many remained committed to violent extremism after release and while in prison radicalized others, who went on to commit acts of terror.