13 January 2010

Schapelle Corby's Prison Cell...

Here is a picture that allegedly shows Schapelle Corby's cell at Kerobokan Prison. This is the cell that Schapelle Corby shares with six others. This picture, and the accompanying video, has been made available as part of a media open day.

This picture certainly does not seem to fit the hell hole image of life inside Kerobokan as portrayed in the recent book, Hotel Kerobokan, by Kathryn Bonella (an interesting discussion of the book and its merits can be found here). Then again, maybe this is not the cell that Schapelle inhabits. I have never been there, Kerobokan that is.

The video can be found on the Herald Sun website (here).

On this particular post I am going to restrict my views to the comments section. Simply, if anyone comments, then I will respond with what I think. Otherwise, you are free to draw your own conclusions to the picture and the video.


anong said...

I notice that such cells are always so clean; spotless floors for example. Do you think they have maids?

Kay Danes said...

The conditions in Kerobokan can be improved if you have money. BTW Schapelle's bed is the one furthest on the left with the toy duck on the mattress.

A far cry from what the prisoners are enduring just north.... in Thailand.


Having said that, as I've said many times before, when you are denied your freedom, even a luxury hotel can seem unbearable stay.

One thing positive in all this that the media has failed to report on, is the willingness of the Indonesian Authorities to allow external agencies into their prisons with ease of access. This is commendable. We deal with many governments throughout the world who will not allow such open transparency. In these cases, prisoners and conditions are closed to external monitoring. In such cases, torture and violation of the UN Standard Minimum Treatment of Prisoners is prevalent. Whilst there may be some question raised that a prisoner's right to privacy is not being upheld with the media accessing prisons, the majority of prisoners detained in foreign jails, particularly in Asia, along with Embassies, Amnesty International, Prisoners Abroad and the Foreign Prisoner Support Service, have been begging for open transparency for years, for the benefit of ALL detainees!

Someone should explain this to Schapelle so she knows that even the worst that she is going through, its not in vain...she is still able to impact in a positive way for the benefit of others.

Katadia said...

Interesting timing given those images of ibu Ayin's prison 'room' that flooded my inbox recently.

Rob Baiton said...


I am not sure whether this is a serious question ;)

My guess is that they don't. My guess is also that they have plenty of free time in their cells with not a whole lot to do except tend to small Hindu shrines and read books (Long Walk To Freedom, for example). So, a clean cell is not that extraordinary in the big scheme of things, is it?

Rob Baiton said...


It is clear that the conditions in any Indonesian prison can be improved and made more accommodating for those with the cash to make it happen.

In fact, a government team just did a survey of a few prisons and found out that some cells are bigger than some of the houses that the poor build. One prisoner had even scored herself a bedroom and a guestroom (in this case a room to receive guests) which was equipped with a plasma TV and a baby cot.

Yep, I was just noting that there has been some talk on other forums that the cell is not even the one that Schapelle is housed in. Because, as the arguments go, the press is being fed a line and they are taking it with the hook and sinker as well. The rest of the argument goes along the lines of the cell looks nothing like what Bonella describes in her book, "Hotel Kerobokan", therefore the picture I have attached is not the cell.

However, I beg to differ, it is the cell. And, thank you for confirming that.

There are arguments about privacy rights. Prisoners still have rights, and one of those rights is to privacy to a degree. I would argue that sharing a cell with six others does not afford you much privacy in any event, but all the same, I think the press having access to the prison is a good thing. For the reasons you have outlined in your response.

Those that are arguing that this was an abhorrent abuse of the right to privacy have not thought about the idea that this kind of access allows the world to see a little bit of what the conditions are really like, and it also allows the world to make judgments as to whether prisoners are being abused or tortured or worse.

I wonder if anyone is thinking that perhaps the point of the media day was to counter the very ugly picture that Bonella paints in her book of the conditions in Kerobokan?

Nevertheless, the interview with Renae was interesting for her demeanour and manner. She did not look well with black eyes (at least they looked black to me) and slurred speech. The last time I saw her speak I do not recall her measuring and slurring her words like that.

My final point would be that Schapelle seems to be taking her medications. She did not seem to be a person who had regressed to a child like state. There are a couple of things that point to Schapelle being in a better place mentally. She is reading (Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - this is not light reading, and definitely not something that a person with serious mental health issues or insanity issues would be reading) and she had the presence of mind to scarper to the bathroom and fill a glass with water and toss it at the camera person (a couple of times).

It certainly was an interesting news bite. I am sure that others have different interpretations to the one I have made.

Rob Baiton said...


Indeed! Ayin is certainly living in the lap of prison luxury, isn't she?

I was thinking of making a post on that as well.

The rumours that Tommy lived in the lap of luxury on Nusakambangan cruising in his yacht and making weekend trips to Singapore and the like. Would have featured in there somewhere as he seems to be the standard bearer on the prison luxury front.

Kay Danes said...

It's all survival mode... improve your conditions as you can so that you can survive the duration of your sentence. There's nothing wrong with this. Typically, where there is a foreign presence in an Asian, you will begin to see improvements. Whether that be in standards of conditions or simple things, like Schapelle does.... gets food brought in and shares with other prisoners. Whilst she most certainly would not appreciate her situation... other prisoners, while sympathetic to her plight, would appreciate the fact that her presence has benefited them to a degree... with food, gifts she has been given by her supporters that she shares with them.... the down side being the media attention that has, as we know, made some things less certain and other things more difficult because of the way its been done... but overall, transparency is always a good thing.

I dare say that there may have been some thought given on Indonesia's part to dispel some of the allegations raised by third parties.

Rob Baiton said...


Even though I am a voracious reader and have read pretty widely on this subject recently, I will still defer to your greater knowledge and experience in this field.

I understand survival mode. I understand that improving your conditions in manners such as this are part and parcel of this survival mode kicking in.

I am merely highlighting the discord between the idea that Kerobokan is a living hell and the pictures that have been posted of some prisoners living conditions.

Having read the reviews of Hotel Kerobokan I was partly expecting to see rats running across the floor and some pretty serious filth littering the cell.

The cell might not be 5-star or even Australian standard, but in the big scheme of things it did not look too bad. Now, if this is a result of Ms. Corby paying a little bit extra for an upgrade, then so be it. I have no beef with that.

Nor do I have a problem with people bringing food in and sharing it around.

I agree, in the big scheme of things other prisoners have benefited from Ms. Corby's presence and her (and her family's) generosity. Once again, I have no beef with that either.

The way her case has been played out in the media is a lesson, at least in my opinion, on how not to go about things. I appreciate the arguments that some people form some quarters make that if the Corby's did not go about it this way Schapelle would fade from the public consciousness and be forgotten.

I, however, think that a certain degree of fading would be a good thing in terms of allowing a different strategy to be formulated, perhaps even enlisting some additional support on the diplomacy front.

But that is just me. What I would say, and what I can say, with some degree of certainty is that if it was me or a member of my family in this predicament then things would have been done differently on a lot of fronts. Whether the result would have been any different is hypothetical and conjecture, but I hope that I do not need to find out.

Sarah said...

Schapelle Corby is currently in the jails best cell. A former Mexican prison paid cash to have it tiled, painted etc. The women schapelle is sharing with now, are obviously keeping it clean. But there are plenty of hellish cells in Kerobokan Jail. Photos in Bonella's book showing the rat cell and filthy toilet were taken late last year.

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Comments are always appreciated.

Yes, there are nasty cells. However, the question is do any of the Australian prisoners inhabit these rat infested nasty cells?

Anonymous said...

"Do you think they have maids?" Yes Anong, the inmates with money hire the one's without money as a 'Pemabantu' (Helper). Only problem is that your helpers keep getting released :) My last Pembantu before I was released was a police officer serving 6 months for 'corruption' which if you know anything about Indonesian police is hilarious.

Zimbowellwisher said...

Out of curiosity how easy is it to go and visit Schapelle

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www.segovia-3d.com said...

This will not have effect as a matter of fact, that's what I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Really you are using the herald sun as a reference? The herald sun is owned by fairfax media a corporation that owns hundreds of magazines, papers and radio stations under different names. They are apart of the huge smear campaign against corby. If any research is to be considered reliable it should be done using objective sources. Herald sun is a bias subjective resource.