Corby 'struggling' with Xmas behind bars

KARLIS SALNA
Last updated 16:54 18/12/2012
Schapelle Corby.
Reuters
STRUGGLING: Schapelle Corby.

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Schapelle Corby's health has deteriorated, with the convicted drug smuggler becoming more withdrawn as she prepares to spend another Christmas behind bars.

The governor of Bali's Kerobokan jail, Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, confirmed on Tuesday that Corby had been recommended for another sentence cut of two months as part of an annual Christmas remission program.

The Bali Nine's Renae Lawrence is also in line to have her 20-year sentence for drug smuggling shaved by two months.

"The suggestion has been submitted to the central office and it is the maximum that could be given for special remission," Mr Wiratna told AAP.

But Mr Wiratna also revealed that Corby's mood has slumped in the wake of a suspension on parole applications for all foreign prisoners.

The ban was imposed last month after authorities discovered new immigration laws did not contain adequate visa provisions for foreign prisoners, creating a loophole that would have made it possible for Corby to return to Australia if granted parole.

Corby, who was convicted in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag, is already eligible to apply for parole even without the latest possible sentence cut.

The 35-year-old's lawyers had been preparing an application when the suspension was imposed but have now put their plans on hold indefinitely while a review of the immigration laws is carried out.

Mr Wiratna said Corby had become reluctant to take part in prison activities or to even venture out of the cramped women's cell-block at Kerobokan, which could also affect her chances of parole.

"The trouble with Corby is that she was rarely going to church as usual," he said.

"When she had a meeting with me, she said that she's still depressed. She's afraid in situations when there is a crowd, traumatised ... and that's why she stopped going to church."

Under the Indonesian prison system, prisoners applying for parole are required to demonstrate moral development, such as taking part in religious activities.

Mr Wiratna has since taken the extraordinary step of ordering church services be conducted in Corby's cell block, to ensure she continues to receive religious instruction.

"Because of this, I asked the reverend to come to the women's cell to do their service," he said.

It is likely to be many months before the suspension on parole applications is lifted.

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Authorities have also said the law will be amended to ensure foreign prisoners granted parole would have to serve out the period of early release in Indonesia.

Corby had her 20-year sentence slashed by five years when she was granted clemency by President Yudhoyono in May on humanitarian grounds, after claiming she was suffering from a mental illness that could endanger her life.

- AAP

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