The national government will organize the National Jail Decongestion Summit in a bid to address the pressing overcrowding issues in the local jail facilities, the The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) disclosed on Monday, Nov. 6.
In a statement, the BJMP noted that the planned summit cropped up following the visit of Supreme Court (SC)Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo at the Pasay City Jail, in celebration of the National Correctional Consciousness Week.
Gesmundo said the summit will be participated in by the major stakeholders and players led by the High Court, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the BJMP.
DILG Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos Jr. expressed confidence that the perennial problem of overcrowding of jails throughout the country will soon be addressed once the National Jail Decongestion Summit pushes through.
He described the summit as a significant step towards addressing the persistent issue of jail congestion in the country.
The DILG chief also noted that the summit is a promising opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and chart a course towards a more effective, humane and equitable incarceration practice that could lead to meaningful and lasting reforms.
“Our department sincerely appreciates the Supreme Court’s commitment to help us address and reform the conditions of persons deprived of liberty” Abalos said.
“It is a significant move towards achieving a fair and just criminal justice system. The DILG stands ready to collaborate and contribute to this important initiative,” he added.
For his part, BJMP Director Ruel Rivera emphasized the urgency of addressing jail congestion noting his agency’s continuing efforts to address the situation.
“In 2018, our facilities were operating at an alarming congestion rate of 600 percent, posing serious challenges to the well-being and reformation of PDL,” Rivera bared.
“Today, we are proud to report that we have successfully reduced the congestion rate to 351% in 2023, thanks to various innovative programs and collaborations,” he continued.
The ongoing initiatives by the BJMP include the establishment of additional jail facilities, the enhancement of the PDL (persons deprived of liberty) Welfare and Development Program and the enhancement of Jail Paralegal Programs that assist inmates in the speedy disposition of their cases.
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