Commission on Audit flags congested PH jails | Inquirer News
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Commission on Audit flags congested PH jails

/ 05:12 AM July 01, 2022
Seventy-one percent or 337 out of 474 jail facilities are heavily congested by as much as 2,696 percent, leading to unhealthy living conditions for the country’s persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

File photo of a jail facility in Quezon City under the supervision of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). INQUIRER PHOTO /NINO JESUS ORBETA

Seventy-one percent or 337 out of 474 jail facilities are heavily congested by as much as 2,696 percent, leading to unhealthy living conditions for the country’s persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

This is as the population in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s (BJMP) facilities rose from 115,336 in 2020 to 125,247 in 2021.

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Although efforts in constructing new jail facilities and decongesting jails were noted, state auditors lamented that congestion of jail facilities has always been one of the BJMP’s challenges.

In its 2021 audit report on the BJMP, the COA found that there are 474 jail facilities with a population of 125,347 inmates as of the end of 2021.

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Of these facilities, 337 are “heavily congested with occupancy rates ranging from 101 to 2,796 percent, or congestion rates of one to 2,696 percent.”

The average congestion rate of the 337 jails is 254 percent, or an occupancy rate of 354 percent—which means that there are four PDLs in every 4.7 square meters.

Worse than minimum

These do not conform with the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the BJMP’s Manual on Habitat, Water, Sanitation and Kitchen in Jails.

The BJMP’s manual prescribes an ideal habitable floor area of 4.7 sqm for each inmate.

With a maximum congestion rate of 2,696 percent or an occupancy rate of 2,796 percent, it would mean that there are 28 PDLs occupying every 4.7 sqm.

The San Mateo Municipal Jail male dormitory topped the list with a congestion rate of 2,696 percent, followed by the Dasmariñas City Jail male dormitory with 2,283 percent, and the Muntinlupa City Jail male dormitory with 2,146 percent.

Among the regions, Calabarzon had the most number of congested jails at 61, with a total jail population of 24,551 and an ideal jail capacity of 4,901.

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Metro Manila came in second with 36 congested jails, with a jail population of 27,507 and an ideal capacity of 7,547.

RELATED STORY:

BJMP sees drop in jail congestion rate with new facilities

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TAGS: Audit, BJMP, COA, congestion, jails
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