MARCH 7, 2014

NR # 3398B

Solon opts for community service in lieu of detention to decongest jails
A lawmaker has proposed to decongest the country’s cramped jails by imposing community service in lieu of imprisonment. House Bill 39 3 authored by !ep. "ark #illar $%one &istrict' %as (i)as *ity+ said the measure provides rendition of community service in lieu of detention for prisoners who are serving sentences ranging from one day to si, months and those with si, months or less remaining to serve. #illar said the life of a prisoner serving sentence inside a prison camp can be very frustrating' unproductive' unhealthy or even harmful. -"ore than serving the sentence' what is more punishing to the inmates is e,treme overcrowding' which may pose danger to life and health'. #illar said. #illar cited a / 0 report of the (hilippine 1tatistical Authority 2ational 1tatistical *oordination Board' which showed that there were 39'/49 inmates in the Bureau of 5ail "anagement and (enology $B5"(+ jails. 6f this total' #illar said 37'899 or 93.3: were detained and /'40 or 8.9: were sentenced. ;n addition' 0'089 were in jails of the (hilippine 2ational (olice $(2(+ on a temporary basis' an increase of 3. : from / 9. #illar added that the ideal jail density per inmate on the average of these 8/3 B5"( jails' which have a total cell area of 3 '330 s<uare meters' is 8.9 s<uare meters. However' B5"( jails house more than four inmates too many. According to the lawmaker' the national jail congestion rate' which is the number of e,tra inmates over the jail capacity in &ecember / 0 ' was 887.0:. =urther' he added that the total number of prisoners in the Bureau of *orrections $Bu*or+ penal institutions was 33'939. >nder the measure' *ommunity ?ork *amps are created so that these individuals can take an active role in the development of communities and in the protection and rehabilitation of the environment. @he bill also provides for a preparatory rehabilitation phase for prisoners before they rejoin society. *ommunity service shall include tree planting' building artificial reefs' and participating in farm projects demonstration or other livelihood projects. &epending on their good behavior and performance' a part of the sentence can be reduced. @he bill mandates the &epartment of 5ustice $&65+ to issue the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act in coordination with the 1upreme *ourt and the &epartments of ;nterior and %ocal Aovernment $&;%A+' Agriculture $&A+' Bnvironment and 2atural !esources $&B2!+ and 2ational &efense $&2&+. $3 + lvc

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