07 January 2011
Schapelle Corby Gets Another 45 Days in Remissions...
The Indonesian way of administering a prison sentence in many respects provides an outcome that ends up seeing a convicted person serving about the same length of time in prison as they would in Australia.
The Australian system usually involves the imposition of a "head sentence" and then a non-parole period. For example, a person convicted of a drug crime might be sentenced to 20 years in prison with a non-parole period of 12 years. After 12 years the convicted person can begin to apply for parole. Assuming that the person has been of good behaviour and are ready to be re-integrated back into the community, they will be paroled.
In the Indonesian context a person is sentenced to a period of imprisonment and then there is a system of remissions that may see a 20-year drug sentence reduced with remissions to a period of 12 years. A remission is generally granted for good behaviour and showing signs of remorse for one's conduct that lead to the prison sentence being imposed. In most cases a convicted person will serve about two-thirds of their original sentence. In some cases a convicted person may even serve less time than that.
Remissions in Indonesia are generally granted for Indonesian Independence Day and for the religious holiday of the relevant prisoner. A prisoner of Islamic faith may get two remissions a year; one on Independence Day and one at Idul Fitri (Eid ul-Fitr). For prisoners of the Christian faith a remission may be granted on Independence Day and on Christmas Day.
Schapelle Corby has just been granted a 45-day remission on her sentence. Corby has received remissions to date that now total 18.5 months.
Corby has a clemency appeal currently being considered by the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). The Supreme Court of Indonesia was tasked with making a recommendation to the president. If the Supreme Court recommends quashing the conviction or a reduction in the sentence, then the president then decides as to whether they will endorse the Supreme Court recommendation and grant the clemency appeal or refuse to sign-off on the Supreme Court recommendation. It has been reported that the Supreme Court recommended a significant cut in Corby's sentence. Although, the Supreme Court has not officially confirmed or denied the reports.
What does this mean for Schapelle Corby? Assuming the president rejects the clemency appeal, which is being made on humanitarian grounds relating to Corby's mental illness, then it would still be likely that Corby would serve approximately four more years and then be released. However, if the president was to affirm the Supreme Court recommendation which allegedly includes a sentence reduction then Corby may in fact be released and returned to Australia sooner than that. One might need to be a psychic to predict an exact date, but generally there is an expectation that Corby will not serve two-thirds of her sentence.
Irrespective of her guilt or innocence at this stage, Corby has done more than enough time for the crime she was convicted of. Personally, I would not be outraged if the Indonesian authorities decided that she has done plenty of time, she has suffered in prison, she has been suitably punished for the crime for which she was convicted, and that there is no longer any need to keep her in prison. Yet, many wonder whether Corby's steadfast belief in her innocence and the subsequent belief that she has nothing to show remorse for is providing Indonesian authorities with the necessary reason to ensure she serves the complete sentence in an Indonesian prison.
In the end, a 45-day remission is 45 days that she does not have to serve in Kerobokan.