PCIJ audit finds PH prison system gaps: Congestion, kids in jail
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on Tuesday revealed the shortcomings of the Philippine prison system discovered during a journalistic audit.
The PCIJ found that certain children in conflict with the law (CICL) continue to be housed in detention centers and jails rather than juvenile rehabilitation facilities.
The predicament of women in jail, who sometimes live in overcrowded cells without access to basic necessities, is also detailed in a PCIJ report, while another case illustrates how education for persons deprived of liberty (PDL) can assist ex-inmates to succeed in society once they are released from prison.
HAPPENING NOW: The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) holds the forum “Life Inside: Confronting the Humanitarian Crisis in Philippine Jails and Prisons”, which tackles the documentation of the Philippine prison system. @inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/nkKBzT55hI
— Jean Mangaluz (@JMangaluzINQ) November 15, 2022
Prison system challenges were also discussed at the meeting, with speakers representing a wide range of fields. Social worker and Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation member Wendell Manaloto raised the issue of a dearth of post-release reintegration services for PDLs.
Another speaker, Executive Director of Center for Women’s Resources Cham Perez said that most women in prison lack access to basic essentials such as sanitary napkins.
The wife of a PDL and Karapatan member Mary Ann Dollete Forro, also spoke about her husband’s arrest. She says her husband Elmer was helping people affected by the lockdown, but he was detained in March and has been in prison since.
The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology spokesperson Xavier Solda was present in the forum, responding to the presentations before him. He acknowledged the gaps within the prison system, adding that the agency had certain limitations.
Nonetheless, Solda said that they are serious about addressing these concerns.
The country’s penal system has come under heavy scrutiny after a string of controversies, such as the discovery of 176 PDL corpses in a funeral home and the death of the alleged middleman in the Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa slay case while inside the prison.