City jail logs zero heat incident amid El Niño

City jail logs zero heat incident amid El Niño
File photo

THERE have been no reports yet of heat-related incidents, such as stroke, in Cebu City Jail (CCJ) despite the rising heat indices, according to a city official.

Cebu City Councilor Phillip Zafra, who chairs the council’s committee on peace and order, said he was recently briefed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) about the conditions of its jail facilities in the city, saying it is doing what it can to manage the effects of the rising temperatures.

In an interview on Friday, May 10, 2024, Zafra told SunStar Cebu that the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and the jail management have adapted to the weather as best as they could, despite challenges caused by overpopulation.

He said overcrowding was already an issue within the facilities even before the El Niño phenomenon.

Zafra said the BJMP in Central Visayas manages two jail facilities in Cebu City: the CCJ Male Dormitory and the CCJ Female Dormitory. These facilities are beside the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which is run by the Cebu Provincial Government.

Cebu City also manages the Operation Second Chance, a rehabilitation center for children in conflict with the law.

Zafra said efforts have been made to reduce the effects of heat within jails, such as ensuring adequate water supply.

He said the Department of Public Services and Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) are responsible for managing the water supply in these facilities. He said rationing of water in the jail facilities happens three times a week. It started even before the onset of El Niño.

Water supply

In an interview over Facebook Messenger on Sunday, May 12, MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodias said the water district provides a total of 12 cubic meters (two tankers containing six cubic meters of water each) to CCJ every ration, which is scheduled every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Gerodias said each cubic meter of water supplied to the CCJ costs P171.

Heat index

The heat index, or the apparrent temperature, recorded by Pagasa Mactan in Cebu for the past two days, May 11 and May 12, have reached 38 degrees and 39 degres Celsius, respectively.

A heat index between these 33 to 41 degrees Celsius falls under the Extreme Caution category, wherein heat cramps and heat exhaustion are possible. Continuing activity could lead to heat stroke

Jail congestion

Based on the Commission on Audit’s 2022 report on the BJMP, Central Visayas has 36 congested jails, with a total jail population of 19,126 as of 2022, far from the total ideal capacity of 5,039.

The report, however, did not specify which of the jails in the region belong to the 36 congested jails.

The CCJ alone is home to almost 9,000 PDLs, based on the figure provided by Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival in an earlier report.

COA said the occupancy rate, or the population density in jail, is determined by calculating the ratio of the detainees present to the ideal capacity of the jail.

When the ratio obtained exceeds 100 percent, the situation is overcrowded.

Based on the BJMP Manual on Habitat, Water, Sanitation and Kitchen in Jail, the ideal habitable floor area per inmate is 4.7 square meters and the maximum number of inmates per cell is 10.

As of 2022, Dasmariñas City Jail-Female dormitory topped the most overcrowded jails, followed by San Mateo Municipal Jail-Male Dormitory and the Muntinlupa City Jail. / AML, WBS


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