DILG wants more prison space for drug offenders
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) wants more room in the country’s jails for inmates charged with drug offenses as the war on drugs intensifies.
Prisons nationwide are bursting at the seams, with over half of nearly 150,000 current inmates, or around 84,000, charged with drug offenses.
Speaking on Monday’s change of command ceremonies at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), DILG officer in charge Catalino Cuy admitted that jail congestion worsened when the all-out campaign against illegal drugs was initiated last year.
“Congestion is a real concern since the number of inmates swelled when the drug campaign started,” said Cuy.
“We encourage (our personnel) to have extension of jail facilities, provided there is available space, as a way of addressing congestion,” he said, adding: “By this time, we should be aware that hard-core inmates should be segregated from those who are not.”
Cuy cited the case of drug convict Kerwin Espinosa, who learned the ropes of the drug industry while in prison, to underscore the necessity of giving enough room for drug inmates.
Cuy warned newly installed BJMP acting chief Deogracias Tapayan, who replaced retired director Serafin Barretto Jr., and jail personnel against any prison breaks or flourishing of the drug trade in the 466 jails supervised by the agency.
“We have initiated steps within the bureau to make sure that we play our role in the government’s antidrug campaign,” he said, adding that the BJMP played a vital part in the war on drugs, particularly in reforming detained drug offenders through the rehabilitative aspect of the country’s penal system.
He expressed confidence that the BJMP, under Tapayan’s leadership, would be able to help curb the drug trade.
For his part, DILG Assistant Secretary Nestor Quinsay Jr., BJMP and Bureau of Fire Protection overseer, said that aside from efforts to decongest prisons, welfare programs for inmates and BJMP personnel were being implemented.
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