Jail congestion eases, but remains a challenge

(File Photo)

THE congestion rate in jails under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Davao Region (BJMP-Davao) has gone down to 275 percent, or a total of 4,463 inmates as of December 31, 2019 against total capacity of 1,191.

BJMP Davao spokesperson Jail Inspector Edo Lobenia, however, said although there was a significant decrease in the jails’ congestion rate, the population of the inmates still exceeds the ideal population capacity of their jails.

With this, Lobenia said overcrowding remains to be a challenge in 12 operating jail facilities in the region although it can be noted that the congestion rate is gradually decreasing.

In a previous report of SunStar Davao, BJMP Davao recorded a 358 percent congestion rate in their jail facilities as of August 2019.

Montevista District Jail has an ideal population capacity of 57 but its population reached 224; Panabo City District Jail has an ideal population capacity of 59 but currently has 308; Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) City Jail should only have 19 inmates but has 75 instead; Tagum City Jail should only have 193 but has 241; Tagum City Jail-Female Dorm with only seven but has 35.

On the other hand, Digos City District Jail has an ideal population capacity of 112 but it houses 701 inmates; Digos City District Jail Female Dorm should only have 21 but has 36 jail population; Davao City Jail with 460 as ideal population but has 2,117 jail population; Davao City Jail Female Dorm has 81 ideal capacity but with 302 jail population; Davao City Jail Annex should only have 144 but has 377 inmates; and Lupon District Jail has 31 as its ideal population capacity but has 47.

The downtrend of congestion rate is attributed to the newly-completed facilities in entire region.

Lobenia bared that Montevista District Jail, Panabo City District Jail, and Tagum City Jail are 100 percent complete while Davao City Jail in Calinan is already 50.85 percent completed; Digos City District Jail is 60 percent completed; Igacos City Jail 75.18 percent done; and Tagum City Jail Female Dorm is 15 percent completed.

“These are aimed to decongest our facilities in the entire Davao Region to pave way for the rehabilitation process of our persons deprived of liberty (PDLs). These are proactive actions of the government especially realized because of the thrust of the President,” Lobenia said.

Lobenia added that when President Rodrigo Duterte visited Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, he saw the need to construct new facilities in the entire country.

“We thank the President for this initiative to really take good care of the least and the last of our facility,” Lobenia said.

The intensified campaign in cracking down illegal drugs by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies is seen to have contributed to the growing number of detainees.

BJMP Davao recorded about 61.35 percent of the jail population are those involved in the illicit drug trade.

Based on the data, 2,738 from the 4,463 total jail population are facing drug cases. In Montevista, 101 are facing illegal drugs cases; Panabo City Jail with 189; Island Garden City of Samal 36; Tagum City Jail 194; Tagum City Jail –Female Dorm 31; Digos City Jail – Female Dorm 24; Davao City Jail 1,417, Davao City Jail-Female Dorm 256; Davao City Jail Annex 237; and Lupon District Jail 26.


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