Have Been Imprisoned 8 Times and Create a Streetwear Brand, The Story of Heri Coet Part One

What comes to mind when you hear the word recidivist? For some people, this word will make them frightened and worried. A recidivist is a convicted criminal who reoffends the crime repeatedly. This recidivist label was once attached to Asep Djuheri also known as Heri Coet.

 

Heri was a well-known recidivist in Bandung because of his criminal history. He was involved in motorbike thefts and also fallen into heroin. His comes and going out of prison up to eight times suffocated him.

 

“I went in and out of the prison 8 times. The last time I completed my sentence was around 2002,” said Heri to the Second Chance Foundation via a phone call.

While serving his eighth sentence, Heri felt bored and wanted to change. Behind bars, he promised not to repeat his crimes or use the heroin that landed him in prison. For Heri, this promise become his struggle to avoiding doing crime and drugs use.

 

Out of prison, the challenges were not becoming easier. Heri had to face the negative stigma that was always attached to him as a recidivist. He was not only trusted by his family but also other people around him.

 

However, Heri did not give up and made the stigma from the environment as motivation to drive the change.

"So that if I succeed, I will prove to them that I am a former recidivist but I can work better. At that time, I always prayed to God to be given a good path and solution. So I could prove it to my relatives, my friends, or my family who didn't trust in me," said Heri.

 

He decided to lock himself in his room for two months for introspection. In the silence, he thought about what steps to take? Where should he go? Heri was faced with two choices, dead or alive.

 

"I want to have a normal life, I want be able to socialize again, I want to be in society again. If that doesn't work, maybe it`s better to die. So I have two choices, dead or alive?. If I can be useful and beneficial to someone else, to society, to my family, I will choose to live and not using drugs or doing crimes anymore,” he said.

 

On the last night of his own isolation, Heri gained a strong courage to promise himself to never going back to the dark world of crime and narcotics. He chose to live better, focused on being a useful person and beneficial to his family and society. 

 

At first, he chose trading. He set up a small shop on Dewi Sartika Street, Bandung, to sell pins with various designs, stickers, cell phone cases, and posters.

 

“In 2014, I got an order to make pins, 1 million pieces. And I was surprised when I got such a big orders. The price for the pin at that time was Rp 1,000 per unit. For large quantities is Rp. 600 per unit. My production capital is Rp 400, that means I have a profit of Rp 200. Multiplying it with 1 million pieces means Rp 200 million, right? That made me feel extraordinary. During my crime or drug activities, I never got hundreds of millions of rupiahs. At most Rp 10 million, Rp 7 million, Rp 8 million, or Rp 12 million is the biggest number.

“So it's better to do the honest business, right?" Heri added.

Continue to Part 2......

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