CBCP calls for jail decongestion amid dangerous heat indexes

CONGESTED. Jail management is challenging with meager resources for expansion, leaving inmates in difficult situations.
CONGESTED. Jail management is challenging with meager resources for expansion, leaving inmates in difficult situations.SunStar File/Alan Tangcawan

AMID the dangerous heat indexes being recorded across the country, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) renewed its call on Friday, April 26, 2024, for the immediate decongestion of jails and prisons.

In a statement, the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said it would be best for all persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) if the jails and prisons will be made "more habitable."

"We are very much concerned with the condition of our inmates in the light of the very intense atmospheric humidity caused by the El Niño phenomenon," said CBCP-ECPPC chairman Bishop Oscar Florencio.

"We believe that the best and long lasting solution to this problem is to work towards decongesting the jails and prisons," he added.

The prelate said the call is particularly directed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which exercises supervision over the jails under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Department of Justice (DOJ), which oversees those under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

He said decongestion may be implemented through the immediate and proper implementation of the laws on bail and release on recognizance, the pre-trial release program, as well as the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) privilege, even to those who have committed heinous crimes.

"We call to make the PDLs’ plight a priority concern and come up with the necessary steps in order to expedite the release of the PDLs, who should benefit from the aforementioned laws," said the bishop.

"With these, we believe the jails and prison facilities will become less congested, hence more habitable," Florencio added.

For weeks, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has been recording dangerous heat indexes ranging from 42 to 46 degrees.

To note, the extreme heat and overcrowding pose health risks, such as skin diseases and hypertension, for PDLs across the country's jails and prisons. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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