DOJ acts to reform Philippines jail system
MANILA, Philippines–Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has formed a technical working group to help draw up measures aimed at reforming the Philippines jail system.
De Lima made the move as an offshoot of the incident where inmate Antonio Leviste managed to sneak out of prison without authority. Levista was former governor of Batangas province.
De Lima heads the technical working group, with Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan as vice chair.
The other members include the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director, Parole and Probation Administrator Manuel Co, Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) Director Reynaldo Bayang, Department of Justice (DoJ) Technical Services Director Ma. Charina Dy-Po, New Bilibid Prison Chief Superintendent Ramon Reyes, Davao Prison and Penal Farm Superintendent Venancio Tesoro, Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) Superintendent Rachel Ruelo, three representatives from the non-government organizations and three representatives of the inmates.
Among the issues that the group will give priority are the following:
1. The worsening jail congestions in the NBP, CIW and the penal farms/colonies;
2. The planned transfer of the NBP to another site or regionalization of the prison system;
3. The modernization of the prison system;
4. The procurement system in the BuCor especially those related to food catering and supplies;
5. The prevalence of underground criminal syndicates run by inmates and presumably allowed by conniving prison personnels especially related to drugs;
6. The “kubol” system and other unusual arrangements including the living out and sleep out privileges;
7. The revision of the prison rules;
8. The call for an efficient and speedy processing inmate records for the purpose of granting parole;
9. The possible cause of graft and corruption inside the national penitentiary.
De Lima said they will invite experts in jail management and rehabilitation to give them suggestions.
The group has 30 days to complete its work, she added.
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