THE Negros Occidental District Jail (NODJ) in Bago City created a giant wishing Christmas tree for its 650 inmates as a way of sharing this holiday season.
Chief Inspector Castle Masip, jail warden of NODJ, said inmates were able to hang their wishes on the 20-feet tree while other wishes were placed in a box under it.
On December 15, the Christmas tree was launched simultaneously with the Lights of Hope, wherein 12 walls of the main building were lighted by the inmates to show that there can also be brightness despite being in jail.
The Christmas tree is designed with yellow, blue, red, white, and green lanterns or parols, with a white giant star on top, facing the jail facility. It is also surrounded by Christmas lights that adds beauty during night time.
With faith and hope to bring the spirit of Christmas in the jail, all 52 personnel and inmates helped in putting up the Christmas tree to also encourage interested individuals and groups to visit the jail and grant the inmates’ wishes.
“This is to give happiness to the inmates,” Masip said.
The jail personnel can grant at least five wishes per inmate, if they can.
It can be bringing their loved ones to visit them this Christmas season or items that they can use inside the jail, Masip said.
“Christmas is sharing and we would want them to feel loved this Yuletide season,” Masip said.
The Christmas wish project garnered positive response from visitors, local government units, organizations, and some individuals.
One inmate wished to talk to his lawyer, and a day after they met, he was released after his papers were processed following a settlement of his case.
Masip said he believes that engaging persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in such occupational activities can assist them in their development and preparation for their reintegration to society which is essential in ensuring the safety of the public.
Masip said they are planning to continue the concept in the years to come, which they considered to be a way of promoting the welfare of the inmates.