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BJMP To Intensify Jail Decongestion Program

With the ballooning jail population nationwide and lack of capital outlay for the repair and construction of additional new jail facilities, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has urged all its wardens and para-legal officers to intensify jail decongestion program to avert possible adverse jail security-related incidents and outbreak of disease brought about by the inconveniences of a highly congested facility.

In a memorandum dated January 15, 2003, BJMP chief of directorial staff Sr/Supt. Antonio C. Cruz said that there are several laws and modes of releases that would benefit prisoners for their early release without necessarily completing their sentences which could significantly reduce jail population specially in urban areas.

Cruz said that the success of this program relies mainly with the wardens and their para-legal officers who should regularly monitor the cases of their wards, review and update their carpetas, determine their qualifications, and apply for their release with the proper court or authority.

He particularly cited the indeterminate Sentence Law that extends benefits to city or district jail prisoners or to prisoners with a prison term of not more than three years pursuant to Republic Act 4103 as amended by Republic Act 4225. It is however, unfortunate, that this law is usually overlooked and rarely availed of by jail officials, he noted.

Upon serving the minimum term of their sentence, prisoners are qualified for parole and the wardens or para-legal officers should prepare the necessary documents and take initiative in processing of such with the proper court for the release of prisoners.

This law aims to uplift and redeem valuable human material, and prevent unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness of prisoners.

To facilitate the processing of parole, the warden should furnish a photocopy of the prisoners carpeta or prisoners record, duly authenticated by the warden to the Executive Director or the Chairman of the Board of Pardons and Parole of Department of Justice which is located in Diliman, Quezon City.

Other modes of releases provided by law are Release on Recognizance (RA 6036), Full Time Credit (RA 6167), Parolel Probation (PD 968), Child and Youth Welfare Code (PD 603), Preventive Imprisonment (BP 85), Released on Bail, served sentence and dismissal or acquittal of cases.

Meanwhile, Sr/Supt. Manuel B. Duka, BJMP Bicol assistant regional director, has ordered all the wardens to maintain a carpeta for each minute within their jurisdiction. He warned that the bureau has given them up to March 31, 2003 to complete the inmates' records or face immediate relief from their designation should they fail to comply.