Jail congestion down 21% in NorMin

By : Uriel Quilinguing Mindanao Today/07:50:35am 08/13/2021


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The number of inmates has gone up, but the congestion rate of 23 jails in Northern Mindanao has gone down by 21 percent, an official of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-10 (BJMP-10) said.

Jail Sr. Supt. Neil R. Avisado, regional director of BJMP-10, disclosed the reduction in jail congestion rate (JCR) in his report during the bureau’s 30th founding anniversary virtual program.

Avisado said the BJMP-10’s posted a 118 percent JCR for the second-quarter this year – a 21-percent improvement from the 139 percent for the same period last year.

The BJMP-10 head attributed the easing up of filled-up detention cells to the completion of seven new jail buildings, worth P108.2 million from the “Build, Build, Build” flagship program of the national government.

Several existing structures were also repaired and rehabilitated out of the P4.1 million that the BJMP released to the region.

“All these constructions lead to the massive decongestion of our jail facilities,” said Avisado, who highlighted the Malaybalay City Jail Rehabilitation Center project as “the first jail facility-based reformatory center of the BJMP” in the country.

It is situated at sitio Pal-ing, barangay Patpat of Bukidnon’s capital city.

The reformatory center, he said, is in an ideal setting, constructed based on Department of Health standards – in terms of design and set-up – for safety and convenience for those who wish to avail of the jail bureau’s rehabilitation program.

Avisado also credited the assistance of paralegal groups in the releases of 2,402 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in the past year, either on bail, parole or pardon, aside from plea bargaining.

These, he said, contributed to reduction in the number of persons in BJMP’s custody, awaiting for filing of cases, be heard and decided in judicial courts.

The jail congestion rate is computed from a formula spelled out under Sect. 7, Rule VII of Republic Act No. 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, where every inmate should be given a space of 4.7 square meters.

As stipulated in the same law, the detention cell size should be 48 sq. m. enough to take in at most 10 persons and that it be furnished with five double-deck beds, source of potable water, toilet and bath, and well-ventilated.

With the 23 jails in the region, under the BJMP 10 administration, the total floor area used to be 8,729 sq. m., hence the combined “ideal capacity” was 930.

With a jail population of more than 5,400, the JCR would be than 400 percent.

At the close of the second quarter, those temporarily detained in 23 city, district and municipal jails in Northern Mindanao totaled to 5,750.

In the first quarter this year, there were 5,567 in these detention facilities.

Meanwhile, at least 134 PDLs at the Cagayan de Oro City Jail in Lumbia had tested positive for coronavirus disease 19 (Covid-19), extracted, managed and cleared from infections from August to December last year.

As of Tuesday (Aug. 10), 45 PDLs and 16 BJMP personnel at Lumbia City Jail, who also contracted Covid-19, were still housed at the Department of Health-accredited Ligtas Covid-19 facility, Dr. Teodoro B. Yu Jr., a medical officer of City Health Office, said.

The 36-bed Ligtas Covid-19 facility is a three-storey building project that the city government constructed and donated to the BJMP, before the pandemic begun in March last year.

To curve the viral infections within the jail premises, a team from the CHO had given single-dose of Covid-19 vaccines to 1,691 PDLs during a three-day vaccine rollout that started August 2.

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