New chief bares plans for prisons | Inquirer News

New chief bares plans for prisons

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 05:12 AM August 05, 2011

New Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gaudencio Pangilinan on Thursday bared his reform plans for the country’s penitentiaries.

As for the plunder charge hanging over his head, “I’ve said enough about that. I will only answer the charge before the Ombudsman and it’s up to the court to decide. I’d rather talk about my vision for the BuCor,” Pangilinan told the Inquirer in an interview.

For a start, Pangilinan said he planned to execute immediate, short-term, medium-term and long-term reforms to address the problems in the penitentiaries.


He said immediate reforms would be implemented in one to three months; short-term, within a year; medium-term, in five years; and long-term, following road maps.


Immediate and short-term reforms, he said, would include the improvement of facilities, security, visitation, food provisions, hospital services and, more importantly, a reformation program. The rest, he said, were still being finalized.

“They’re all the same—soldiers, inmates. They’re all human beings. How we behave as soldiers is the same as how they behave as inmates. But militarization is precisely what we’re going to avoid here because it can lead to authoritarianism which, in a certain form, is oppressive,” he said.

He said his “mission” would be “safekeeping,” which means keeping the inmates in detention, and “reformation” which means preparing them to rejoin society.

He also wants to address the spiritual, psychological and mental needs of each inmate and attend to their livelihood projects.

“When you put somebody in prison, he only loses his liberty. I believe his dignity must always remain intact.”

To address the problem of congestion where some 35,000 inmates are crammed into seven prisons nationwide, Pangilinan said he would retain the “living out” privilege of some inmates despite its abuse.


“It’s a very technical thing here,” Pangilinan said. “I will need to adjust very quickly.”

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