Death row inmates 'burdening' Indon jails

There's fresh discussion on the death penalty in Indonesia where 118 people are on death row. (AAP)

There's fresh discussion on the death penalty in Indonesia where 118 people, including two Aussies, are on death row.

Indonesian officials are debating the nation's death penalty, as they count 118 prisoners awaiting execution in overburdened jails.

Two of them, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, are Australian, and desperately hoping for a second chance.

Indonesia's Law and Human Rights director-general Wicipto Setiadi on Wednesday told a public forum the death row inmates were becoming a burden on the state.

But his hands were tied, because his department couldn't order the penalty to be carried out.

"We in the Law and Human Rights Ministry just happen to be a passing room," he said as quoted by Indonesian news website

"For executing it, it's up to the prosecutor." Chan and Sukumaran, members of the Bali Nine drug smugglers, have had a clemency request before the president for more than two years.

Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo, will now decide on it.

He will likely take advice from his Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly.

He recently told AAP that while his department must uphold laws that still contain the death penalty as a sentencing option, he personally did not support it.

The public discussion held by the National Law Commission also involved Supreme Court judges.

It comes after a lawmaker from the parliament's justice commission on the weekend met Sukumaran in jail.

Aziz Syamsudin said he was concerned the cost burden of feeding so many prisoners had now reached five trillion rupiah ($A477 million) annually.

The death sentence is reserved in Indonesia for what are considered "extraordinary" crimes like drug smuggling and murder.

On death row are Ryan, a serial killer who took 10 lives, and Baekuni who killed 14 children, Detik reported.

Meanwhile in the prison art studio he helped establish, Sukumaran told reporters on the weekend he was using what time he had to better himself.

"I'm trying to be a better person," he said.

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