Life Inside Kerobokan

Life Inside Kerobokan

2017, Crime  -   12 Comments
Ratings: 8.25/10 from 53 users.

For many, Bali, Indonesia represents a tropical paradise. Tourists from all around the globe are drawn to its sun-drenched beaches, mountainous ranges and vibrant coral reefs. But not far from these alluring vacation hotspots is the infamous Kerobokan jail. The dichotomy between these two vastly different environments is striking. For the first time ever, prison officials have allowed a news crew unfettered access into their facility. "Life Inside Kerobokan", produced by ABC Australia, is the stirring result.

The vast majority of inmates at the jail have been convicted on drug charges. The film profiles five of these prisoners as they vividly articulate their unique points of view. Arrested in 2005, Matthew and Si Yi are serving life sentences for drug trafficking. A war correspondent for Reuters, David is spending the next seven years of his life in the facility for possessing a small amount of hashish. Heru is serving four years after getting caught using a small dose of methamphetamine. Finally, Bagus is a professional chef serving seven years for fraud.

Collectively, these inmates speak of their regrets, the string of unfortunate choices that led them down a criminal path, their tarnished dreams, and hopes for the future. Above all else, they speak of daily living inside this exotic fortress.

The jail is severely overcrowded, and prisoners must conjure the mental stability to exist in living quarters that are several times more populated than their intended capacity. The ensuing claustrophobia can be taxing, but the jail offers many activities to keep the mind occupied in the face of these adversities.

Prisoners are free to roam the grounds for ten hours a day. They are tasked with the upkeep of the immaculately manicured greenery. Some choose to indulge in their creative side, and partake in screen printing from the facility's bustling art studio.

Once a month, they are granted visitation with family members. These are the most treasured moments for each of the profiled inmates, though the periods of time in between visits can feel particularly hollow and harrowing.

Bali is paradise to some and hell for others. "Life Inside Kerobokan" provides a snapshot of imprisonment in an environment unlike any other.

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Jack O
4 years ago

What a cop out 'documentary'!
Why didn't you talk about the corruption - and outright hypocrisy - of people doing time (or facing the Death Penalty) for drugs, when there are more drugs supplied by the guards inside the prison than easily available outside? Or the 'sex nights' organized by the same guards? The prison's own ecstasy factory? The murders that are listed as 'suicides'?
You spend most of the 'documentary' on either superficial fluff/puff stories or The Bali Nine...
If you really wanted to do a truthful expose of this dirty, violent, dysfunctional shithole you could have done so; starting with how the prison is just a reflection of the overall dangerous underbelly and rampant corruption rife in this part of Bali.
The message to tourists should be: know what can happen to you in this supposed 'paradise' before you even think of coming here!

Glen Hale
4 years ago

The cops can stitch you by planting drugs on you..the Place is haven for all scammers in the World.

Gary Steven Bate
4 years ago

Two things to take away from this excellent video, don't do, or be involved with drugs in Bali and if you are incarcerated it's probably one of the better places to be in jail. But prison is still prison.

4 years ago

Wow I had always thought the worst prison to be locked up in would be a Bali prison. While the infrastructure isn't great, the gardens and space they have to move around in and the good relationships they all seem to have with each other makes it look better than most American prisons!

Roger Andout
5 years ago

Clearly the Bali authorities view drug dealing seriously, be that buying or selling. Equally clearly those two men appear genuine. And it's appropriate that they changed since their incarceration. But involvement in drugs at any level has its consequences and this documentary reflects that reality.

5 years ago

This is a great documentary that should be viewed by as many Americans as possible...absolutely amazing in so many ways – it's just 32 minutes, so watch it if you haven't already!

Rajashekar Balu
5 years ago

This two guys i truly believe are a changed lot. They certainly will be a asset to the world in the future. I just pray to the almighty and the INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE THEM ASAP.

sandra dow
5 years ago

Why is Matthew who was imprisoned for drugs a victimless crime, at 18, not even an adult, still in prison? That's a brutal punishment as it is for perhaps the majority of inmates. Though the ten hours outdoors makes sense, how is keeping them for decades reform?

Merrill or John J Miller
5 years ago

Boy oh boy does America have a lot to learn about humane incarceration and rehabilitation from a prison system such as this. I'm just glad they are not in prison here.

Linda I Dadey
5 years ago

Excellent video. Prisoners keep the gardens meticulous. I'm glad the inmates get to look at the sky and are treated well by the guards in their interactions; very positive communication. Only problem is the overcrowding yet they look relatively content.

5 years ago

What an amazing documentary. One hears how draconian the far east is with criminals, especially when it comes to drug offenders. This documentary is a real eye-opener. It's so peaceful. Inmates have issues, but there is a lack of violence and sense of co-operation that is astounding to anyone used to seeing the inside of US prisons. In this Bali jail, inmates retain their health and humanity, rather than coming out with raging anger at what the prison system has done to them. A documentary well worth seeing.

5 years ago

You expect a totally different crowd. For example, Thailand is all fighting, killing and drugs. These guys seem incredibly nice and disciplined people that wouldn't ever start a prison brawl and have respect for the other inmates.