Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Schapelle - EDD and the new regulations

In my previous post, I estimated that with maximum normal remissions, Schapelle Corby could be released on parole near the end of 2013. About the time that I completed that analysis, The Age published this article about new regulations that would require terrorists and Australian drug offenders to spend more years in jail with Indonesia deciding to curtail their sentence remissions.
Indonesia lengthen Jail Terms

The article makes the following points:

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has approved regulations forcing prisoners convicted of serious crimes to serve at least two-thirds of their original sentences.

They will not be eligible for regular remissions issued to other prisoners until they have served at least a third of their jail terms.

Until now, all prisoners have automatically received sentence reductions at least twice a year, which can halve their jail terms.
The new guidelines are likely to apply to convicted marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby.

1. I think the change is wrong and have written to SBY and our PM to say so. The remission system is fair and sensible, and never more so than for long term prisoners.

2. It is not clear that the new regulations would apply to Schapelle since the article also states that the regulations will not apply to prisoners who have already received remissions (which includes Schapelle). It is also possible that that quote from the Indon Justice Minister means only that those prisoners will not lose the remissions they have already received but will not be eligible for more until one third of the original sentence has been served. Who knows.

3. Although the article indicates that the new regulations will require prisoners to serve at least two thirds of their sentence that statement is not consistent with the paragraph that follows it and in my view is an incorrect assumption by the journalist.

So, I've redone my analysis, using the same methodology as in my previous blog.

So under the new regulations, Schapelle would be released in mid 2015 just 16 months later than I had estimated previously. The reason is that although Schapelle would lose 36 months from 2007 to 2010, she gets back an additional 12 months in the first extra year of sentence. The net increase of 24 months is further reduced by the conditional release formula down to 16 months.

A bad result, no doubt. But could be worse.


Anonymous Catherine said...

I also welcome the estimated departure dates you have attempted to work out for different scenarios. It is something that is difficult to deal with when both sentencing and releasing appears somewhat random and as humans I think we tend to want to apply order and structure to things. Knowing what we are dealing with somehow cuts it down to size and helps us to find coping strategies. I remember when I looked up something to do with Nick Baker's sentence once (in Japan) and read definite things like: Nick will be due for a prisoner transfer to England in 2008, he has served 4 years ... he is due for release in 2012 (don't quote me on it). The point being I remembered thinking that, given it seemed unlikely in this case that an early release was going to granted, it was at least good to have definite time frames in place.

9:47 pm, October 20, 2006  
Blogger True Blue said...

Thanks Catherine. I guess there's two ways to look at it. Some people might not feel so sympathetic knowing that the 'real' sentence is likely to be well short of 20 years. On the other hand some will feel more willing to commit themselves to supporting Schapelle for the duration if the sentence isn't so impossibly long. I'm in the second camp. I need to know it's possible.

I should say too, that I'm very hopeful for some form of clemency at some stage. But I did need to work out some sort of upper limit.

8:08 pm, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous angel said...

Hey Guys :)

Are the changes in remission going to affect Schapelle? Is this constitutionally viable at all? I would have thought that at the time of sentencing the constitutional law in Indonesia would have stated what remissions were available to each prisoner, and this would be upheld as law in each individual case. Am I wrong?

Hope you are both well :)


9:56 pm, October 23, 2006  
Blogger True Blue said...

Hi angel,

As I understand it the remissions system is the result of a regulation created by 'presidential decree' and is easy to alter. But how a change to the regulation would affect Schapelle's status is only guesswork at this stage.

The Age article ( quotes an Indonesian Justice Ministry official saying that "the guidelines would not apply to prisoners who have already received remissions, but how they would be applied to foreign prisoners, such as Corby, would become a "political issue". There are two possible escape clauses here for Schapelle.

1. The ‘political issue’ clause suggests that it is possible that the Indonesians might be willing to find a mechanism for the regs to not apply to Schapelle.

2. It’s clear from the article that the Age journalist didn’t realise that Schapelle has already received a remission, which on the face of it would put her in the category of prisoners to whom the guidelines would not apply. My concern is that the quote from the Indonesian Justice Ministry might involve a minor translation problem and that it might mean that previously granted remissions would not be lost but that no other remissions would be granted until one third of the sentence has been completed. I have no particular grounds for thinking that – the quote certainly seems clear enough – but it does seem a tad unlikely to me that determination of rights to future remissions would depend on whether one had previously been received.

But the real answer is that no one knows, and that we’ll have to wait and see. But I am at least hopeful that the new regs will not affect Schapelle.


11:48 am, October 24, 2006  

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