THE country’s jail congestion rate went down to 348 percent in 2023 from 367 percent in 2022, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
In a report to Malacañang, the DILG attributed the decrease in the jail congestion rate to the continuous implementation of paralegal programs nationwide, which includes the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
Under the GCTA, being implemented by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), 20 to 30 days per month can be deducted from the possible maximum imprisonment of a detainee based on the length of incarceration.
The BJMP, which is being oversaw by the DILG, also implements Time Allowance for Study, Teaching, and Mentoring (TASTM), which offers additional 15 days deduction to qualified inmates or Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) engaging in 60 hours of study, teaching and mentoring services monthly.
Some 77,467 PDLs were granted time allowance since it was implemented, while 18,865 had qualified for TASTM.
The DILG also cited Special Time Allowance for Loyalty (STAL), which is being granted to PDLs who have chosen to stay in confinement even if they had the opportunity to escape during calamities, with deductions of one-fifth or two-fifths based on their choices during such events.
Meanwhile, the DILG recognized the BJMP for strengthening its Greyhound Operations amid the government’s call to eradicate drug abuse and the commitment to the holistic rehabilitation of PDL, which were conducted through the joint effort of all BJMP-manned jails, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies.
It said the agency’s relentless anti-illegal drug efforts led to the certification of 70.44 percent or 305 out of 433 occupied jails as drug-free and drug-cleared by the Regional Oversight Committee in Declaring Drug-Free and Drug-Cleared BJMP Jails composed of PDEA and BJMP.
The DILG said the BJMP is also continuously working with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), non-government organizations and private institutions that offer an array of livelihood and vocational skills training such as carpentry, masonry, electrical installation, food services, among other to PDLs on top of their access to elementary, junior, and senior high school education, as well as tertiary education through the College Behind Bars Program elementary, junior, and senior high school education, as well as tertiary education through the College Behind Bars Program which equips them valuable skills and opportunities for their eventual reintegration into society. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)