FROM a high 442% down to 200% congestion rate.
That is the target of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) officer-in-charge Chief Supt. Allan Iral as he ordered regional directors especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) to focus more on the paralegal (plea bargaining) program of the Supreme Court to decongest overcrowded jail facilities.
NCR’s congestion rate alone is at a staggering 608%, the highest among all regions in the country with the Manila City Jail (MCJ) and Quezon City Jail (QCJ) in the top two positions in terms of jail population with 5,731 and 5,296 respectively.
MCJ only has an area capable of accommodating 1,200 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) while QCJ is supposed to house 800 to 900 inmates only.
Apart from the paralegal approaches, Iral in coming out with his bold projection is banking on the yet-to-be approved P2 billion budget for 2019 which he said will be used in the construction of additional facilities.
The BJMP head also mentioned the ongoing construction of jails at the Payatas, Quezon City and in San Juan which he said would also help in the decongestion program of the government.
The projects which kicked off in 2017 and 2018 are expected to be completed in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Meanwhile, amid the scorching summer heat, Iral said he directed jail wardens to encourage the detainees to at least bathe twice a day by providing them enough water.
The BJMP, he added, has sought the assistance of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to address water shortage.
He assured the public that the bureau is keenly monitoring the health condition of inmates, stressing that hypertension and skin diseases are very common among the inmates during the hot months.
Iral assumed the top BJMP post last March 27 following the retirement of then Jail Director Deogracias Tapayan.
He introduced his 4Gs style of leadership which stands for Guard the Gate, Guard the Badge, Guard the Purse and Guard the Life.