Acts of Violence and Adaptation Mechanism of Children in Conflict with the Law in Juvenile Detention Center

  • Sutinah, Bagong Suyanto, Ratna Azis Prasetyo


The involvement of children in various cases of law violation has been increasing in recent years. From a legal-punitive perspective, processing children in conflict with the law in accordance with applicable regulations and sending them to juvenile detention are inevitable steps. This article examined problematic situations that children in conflict with the law must face while serving time in prison. Broadly speaking, some of the problems examined are: 1) The discourse developed in juvenile detention center, and who is the dominant party behind the development of discourse according to the construction of children in conflict with the law; 2) The forms of acts of child abuse experienced by children in conflict with the law while living in the detention, including the perpetrators of child abuse to children while in the detention; and 3) Adaptation mechanisms developed by children in conflict with the law while living in the detention; and a description of the development of social cohesion among children in conflict with the law in the detention. This study used a perspective of poststructuralist theory, specifically Michel Foucault's thought, to understand the disciplinary practices developed in juvenile detention, both by senior inmates and wardens. This study was conducted at Juvenile Detention Center (LPKA) in Blitar, East Java. The total number of respondents interviewed included all children in LPKA Blitar as well as a number of informants from prison officers. This study found that children serving sentences in prison develop a code of ethics that applied in the prison environment, which was very typical and grew from the children themselves. The ethichs include solidarity, value of not being a traitor, maintaining solidarity of their group, and respecting more senior inmates. The warden's actions are always judged as a form of regulation, so that if there is an officer behavior that is considered to be out of line, the children then make a protest. If a child tries to betray, such as reporting to a warden, the child will be ostracized and become subject of bullying or violence from others. Violence occured to children living in prison includes physical violence (beating, bullied), economic (mugging), and verbal (threatened, cursed). Perpetrators of violence are more senior children, children living longer in prison, and officers / wardens.