DILG, BJMP back proposed Alcatraz-like prison
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Director Allan Iral, chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), told senators on Monday that they would support the proposal to create a separate prison facility for “high-risk” and heinous crime convicts.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sen. Richard Gordon have filed separate bills that would establish a super-maximum penitentiary similar to California’s Alcatraz Island prison, which was in operation from 1934 to 1963.
“All high-risk convicts, together with convicted of heinous crimes will be placed there,” Zubiri said during Monday’s Senate budget hearing on the 2020 budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Año said the DILG “strongly supports” the proposal, especially since the facility aims to house convicted drug lords, rebel leaders and terrorists.
“Right now, they are all together in one dormitory,” Año, speaking partly in Filipino, said. “Instead of being deradicalized, the more that they are getting radicalized. The prison has become like a university, a university of terrorism.”
For his part, Iral said that the senators should also consider putting up a facility for those “high-risk” criminals still undergoing trial.
“The court may also be located right there so that they won’t have to be transported,” he said. “I hope those undergoing trial, which is under our [BJMP] care, would also have a high-risk facility.”
According to Zubiri, one of the proposals aims to put the maximum security facility on a remote island, which will also help with the government’s anti-crime campaign.
He added that the Senate was aiming to pass the measure by the end of the month.
“We want to put up this ‘supermax’ facility to help you in the clean-up drive against these criminals and put them in locations that are very well secured — no access to the internet, no access to cell sites. Even the visitation rights of the family, they won’t be face-to-face,” Zubiri said.
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