Sentence reduction for inmates’ good behavior
Detainees of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) are now allowed to file for sentence reductions if they comported themselves properly while serving detention.
More than 10 inmates who exhibited good behavior in prison were released by the CPDRC as of May 20 this year. This is in line with the penal institution’s provision on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
GCTA officer Jessie Castañares said good behavior includes attending religious activities, completing their assigned day chores and not initiating conflicts within the prison facility.
CPDRC granted this status to their detainees found guilty of petty crimes last April.
“We have to think more and discuss thoroughly if this will be applicable to those who committed serious crimes,” said Marco Toral, a CPDRC consultant.
Toral said 27 more inmates are awaiting approval of their release from the courts which have jurisdiction over their cases.
Republic Act No. 10592, also known as An Act Amending Articles 29, 94, 97, 98 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code, states that inmates behaving accordingly to the rules and regulations of the penal facilities where they are confined are given credits to reduce the sentences they served.
Memorandum LML – M – 18C14 – 366 was issued by former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima last March 2014 to reiterate and clarify the grant of GCTA in all penal facilities in the country.
The amended Article 97, Section three of the Revised Penal Code grants a deduction of 20 days each month to prisoners exhibiting good behavior within the first two years of their detention. Reduction of 23 days per month and 25 days per month are given to detainees when the said observation is evident within the third to fifth years, and within the sixth to the 10th year, respectively.
Thirty days per month of reduction will be granted to an inmate who showed no signs of misbehavior in a span of eleven years and beyond of his imprisonment.
Castañares said the Management Screening and Evaluation Committee (MSEC) was formed under the supervision of CPDRC to organize, monitor and initiate the GCTA provision.
Toral said members of this committee are assigned not only to compute the hours of good conduct observed, but are also tasked to file the approval of release to courts.
Castañares said providing this grant is not like the usual cases filed in courts. The CPDRC is limited only to giving advice to their detainees, making the process a tedious one. The institution sought paralegal assistance from barristers to facilitate prisoners’ approval of release.
He also added that the GCTA helps CPDRC address the issues of overpopulation, congestion and degradation of prisoners’ health./UP Cebu Intern Morexette Marie Erram
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