PJ wants inmates database to aid decongestion of jails, transfer provincial jails to BJMP

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - CDN Digital | September 28,2020 - 01:48 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu third district Representative and Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia has filed a bill in Congress seeking to establish a centralized system for the monitoring of inmates nationwide in aid of decongesting penitentiaries in the country.

Garcia’s House Bill No. 7703 wants a digital network that will be the database of the information of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) as well as the pending arrest warrants, ongoing cases and the length of time they have spent behind bars.

The centralized monitoring system will aslo connect the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the Board of Pardons and Parole, and the Parole and Probation Administration Board.

In a statement on Monday, September 28, 2020, Garcia said the updated and centralized information of the inmates will make it easier for authorities to identify the PDLs who are already eligible for parole, probation, and release, hene pave the way for the decongestion of the jails.

Garcia cited the 2018 data on the congestion rate of the jails in the country which was at 582.37 percent or over 120,000 higher that the population that the jails can ideally hold. 

“Our criminal justice system must be compassionate and ensure the proper reintegration of rehabilitated persons into society. Lives must be redeemed to pursue their social and economic potential—lives must be empowered so that all Filipinos may attain a law-abiding and fulfilling existence,” Garcia said.

Amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country at the end of the first quarter this year, the congested jails proved a challenge in observing health protocols, especially social distancing.

In Cebu, both the BJMP-run jails and the Capitol-run Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) were inflicted with the viral disease.

In April, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order providing for the protocols for the release of inmates from CPDRC and other jails in Cebu in order to decongest the facilities.

The release of the inmates from the jail is pursuant to the 2014 jail decongestion guidelines, which qualifies for release of persons deprived of liberty who have served the minimum imposable penalty for their cases and those whose cases are already provisionally dismissed.

Rep. Garcia, in another note, expressed support for provincial jails, such as the CPDRC, to be transferred to the management of BJMP.

He said the jails are a “huge drain on the resources of provinces” and that Transferring them to BJMP would lessen the burden upon the provincial governments and facilitate the monitoring system for the PDLs.

/bmjo

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TAGS: and the Parole and Probation Administration Board, Board of Pardons and Parole, Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu Third District, Congress, Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia, House Bill No. 7703, Pj garcia

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