Sunday, October 15, 2006

Schapelle - estimated date of departure

For some time I’ve been trying to work out when Schapelle might be released from prison if some sort of special deal isn’t done for her.

The reason that the answer isn’t 20 years from the date of her arrest is because of two elements of the Indonesian prison system; twice annual sentence remissions and a form of parole called conditional release.

Unfortunately there is no reliable information on the Internet about the application of these concepts. I’ve even tried translating from Indonesian sources without much luck. But I’ve put together whatever pitiful gleanings I could gather into a summary of what I think the answer would have been. I say would have been because there has been a news story indicating changes in the remissions system that might affect Schapelle – more on that in a future post – but ignoring that, my best guess is that:

Conditional release is available when well-behaved prisoners have completed two thirds of their remission reduced sentence. How that would affect a foreign prisoner such as Schapelle isn’t clear, particularly since foreign prisoners convicted of drug offences are no longer allowed to visit Indonesia. My best guess is that a reasonable lawyer would be able to have her sent home at that point.

The other sentence reducer is the remission system, whereby on each of two annual remission holidays, sentence remissions are granted to well behaved prisoners up to a month's remission for every year or partial year served to a maximum of 6 months each holiday. So:

- In the first year, 2 months max remissions (but Schapelle got 0 because she was appealing her sentence)
- In the second year, 4 months max remissions (Schapelle got 2)
- In the 6th year, and thereafter, 12 months max remissions.

It’s more complicated than that with some special remissions being available for being ‘extra good’; stuff like giving blood, helping the guards and one suspects the paying of bribes.

Anyway, ignoring the special remissions but assuming Schapelle’s behaviour is consistently excellent, this chart shows what might happen. And the spot when the two lines intercept is when I expect Schapelle to be released.

The complicating factors are the reported changes to the remission system which I’ll discuss later and the possibility of some form of clemency or a better outcome from the judicial review process.

So many guesses and assumptions, it’d drive you nuts, but my guess is end of 2013.


Anonymous Desert Rat said...

Thank you for estimating this for us, True Blue. We are all hoping for a better result much sooner of course, but someone has to gently remind us of the other possibility. I am glad I am hearing it from a Schapelle supporter I greatly respect and not from some time-serving bureaucrat or some sensationalism-mongering journalist. God willing I will be here that long if need be, as I know you will be also. I believe I read somewhere that the average longevity of a support group of the kind we are on is about five years; that people tend to lose interest after that. I don't see that happening in this case - I believe the thrill seekers, the camp followers, those morbidly attracted to tragedy are gone already. The case seems to me to be sufficiently out of the public eye to lose the casually interested but still famous enough to keep attracting new supporters. We've got some amazing people on that site, and on other web forums/groups as well, even if we attract a few strange ones. That's ok - rats are strange too - and slinky and scruffy and furtive. But rats are adaptable. Long after your declining western civilization has followed that of the Romans, we will still be here scurrying down the empty passageways and poking our furry noses through the ruins. In the meantime this in-ter-net thing is fun. All joking aside, thank you for spending your only irreplaceable resource - your time - the way you do. A blog like yours is very important to Miss Schapelle's supporters, even if it seems like no one else is reading it or that we are only suppporting each other. I feel that way sometimes, you probably do too. That's ok. It will be worth it all and we will have no need to count the hours behind us on that day we see the gallant and gentle one home in Queensland, happy and free. Stay strong until that day friend -- we're with you.

3:41 pm, October 16, 2006  
Blogger True Blue said...

Thanks again for that all important rat's-eye perspective. I hope my assumptions are right, but like I said it's really hard to know. I could find no guidelines on either remissions or conditional release, so I've been putting together any scraps of info I could find and doing a bit of reverse engineering. Anyway, glad your still reading and sticking by our girl.

5:00 pm, October 18, 2006  
Anonymous angel said...

Thanks Desert Rat,

You have just said exactly what I have been trying to tell Geoff for ages, but couldnt find the words. You guys are awesome :)


10:03 pm, October 23, 2006  

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