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Legacy of positive impact: HCPI strengthens drug diversion efforts in Indonesia's prisons

Last month marked the closure of the Australian Aid funded eight-year HIV Cooperation Program for Indonesia (HCPI), one of the main components of the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for HIV (AIPH). To celebrate HCPI’s legacy of positive impact, we will be releasing a series of stories over the coming weeks, each exploring key program components and achievements.

Approximately 60% of Indonesian prisoners are sentenced for drug related offenses. With poor access to health care in prison, their situation can be dire.

These young folks who have become drug addicts have lost their past and present, so we should not allow them to lose their future. We should guide them back. They don’t belong in a penitentiary, but in a rehabilitation centre’ – Indonesia’s then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Developing drug diversion policy in Indonesia
Approximately 60% of Indonesian prisoners are sentenced for drug related offenses. With poor access to health care in prison, their situation can be dire. In its eight years of activity, HCPI worked with a wide range of partners to develop a system for diverting people who inject drugs (PWID) from incarceration in prisons, to voluntary attendance at effective drug services. A PWID is more than twice as likely to contract HIV in a narcotics prison as when living in the community. HCPI supported study visits to Sydney and Portugal to help understand best practice diversion, the impact of decriminalizing narcotics, and increasing drug treatment access.

The study visits encouraged delegates from key government institutions including the Criminal Justice System, to develop a new model for diversion to resolve legal challenges. A breakthrough moment was in March 2014 when a joint regulation amongst key ministries and agencies was endorsed which determined that an assessment committee can decide upon the best course of action for drug cases. This advice provides judges with a basis to refer drug offenders to the most appropriate treatment services. In the past PWID had to be incarcerated or sent to compulsory treatment in government-run clinics, now they can attend community based services run by NGOs that are more likely to meet their needs and be able to provide effective aftercare – an essential aspect of the recovery process.

Download the Diversion Policy Overview to learn more about HCPI’s work in developing drug diversion policy in Indonesia.

About HCPI
HCPI has played a key role in the country's response to HIV. The eight year program partnered with the National AIDS Commission, Provincial AIDS Commissions, local health offices and civil society, to support Indonesia in planning, developing and implementing an effective and sustainable response to HIV in all provinces in Java, Bali, and Papua and West Papua. HCPI has also worked to foster leadership within government and civil society to address HIV and AIDS. While the closing of HCPI at the end of this month marks the end of the Australian Government’s current long-term investment in strengthening Indonesia’s response to HIV and AIDS through a comprehensive bilateral program, it will maintain support to HIV and AIDS in Indonesia through its ongoing involvement with the Global Fund and research in HIV treatment.

For more information about HCPI and its legacy of positive impact, please contact Jane Daniels, Palladium APAC Health Practice Director (Jane.Daniels@thepalladiumgroup.com).