No gifts

By: Editorial December 12,2017 - 10:09 PM

It may be downright tightfisted and Scrooge-like, but the Provincial Warden’s decision not to allow families of inmates to bring gifts during their annual holiday visits on Dec. 25 and 26 is not only practical but necessary in light of the recent Operation Greyhound operations that yielded stashes of drugs, cash proceeds and other contraband items.

Acting Warden Audesti Miguel proposed this as an extra security measure and even with the recent raids that showed no drugs and only a few contraband items, the provincial government has no choice but to ban gifts to inmates during the Christmas celebration even if it does go against the holiday spirit.

In fact we may hazard a guess that the inmates may have conspired not to procure and distribute drugs among themselves if only to persuade the warden to go easy on them especially during the holidays.

But the more plausible reason is that, the inmates may have consumed the drugs and not sold them outside to augment their meager income if only to ease the pain of being locked up in a dingy, foul-smelling stinkhole, that is prison.

This early, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III is amenable to Miguel’s proposal and it isn’t hard to see why, as he authorized the Oplan Greyhound that resulted in the confiscation of millions of pesos worth of drugs even if it raised the hackles of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

In friendlier times, the inmates were allowed to have their families stay over on Christmas eve, so they can celebrate Christmas together. But the raids had changed the atmosphere and it remains to be seen if they will be allowed to stay over again.

It also doesn’t help that there were incidents in which jail guards caught drugs being smuggled into prison by the inmates’ loved ones. And who knows whether or not drugs continue to flow under the noses of jail guards or they conspired with the inmates to do so or both? Its likely both.

In any case, Miguel proposed that the inmates cook their own meals with their loved ones during Christmas Day and it is a reasonable compromise. The inmates must realize that, owing to their status, they have lost certain rights enjoyed by those in mainstream society.

In recent years, the provincial government had been generous in allowing the inmates to organize a cooperative and a bakery that helps them achieve a semblance of livelihood and normalcy in an otherwise inhuman, hostile and congested environment.

But such is the price they pay for committing crimes and due to recent shocking discoveries that uncovered the extent of the drug trade within prison, their already constricted activities inside the prison have been clamped down further and the no-gifts policy is but a manifestation of this restriction.

Still, material gifts don’t constitute the Christmas celebration as these inmates know so well by now, but the limited time they spend with their families who they hope to join sometime in the future, depending on the gravity of their crimes and on their decision to whether or not continue in the path of reform.

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TAGS: again, celebrate, Christmas, drugs, extra, gifts, Like, No, smuggled

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