Friday, May 2, 2008

Privatize the Philippine prisons?

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has published a news report citing the paper I had written on the matter of the deplorable state of the Philippine prisons system and the matter of exploring the idea of privatizing the same. Please see "". Quoted in full below is the said news item.

Lawyers urge: Privatize RP jail system

By Tetch Torres
First Posted 02:54pm (Mla time) 04/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- A group of lawyers has called on government to privatize the Philippine jail management system.

The Las Piñas City Bar Association (LPBA) made its proposal to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), citing the ballooning population of the country’s jails.

The LPBA said data it has gathered showed that the national jail population increased by 260-percent. It also cited DILG reports showing the population of city jails in Metro Manila alone increased from 11,258 in 2000 to 21,733 in 2006.

The group called the current state of the country’s jails "a nightmare for penologists and jurists" and said privatizing prisons would decongest the country’s detention centers and ensure humane living conditions for inmates.

The LPBA also questioned the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology's (BJMP) definition of "ideal jail capacity," pegged at three prisoners per square meter.

"Even three veteran acrobats or gymnasts will have a difficult time comfortably sleeping within a one-square meter enclosure, which more often then not is also unventilated," LPBA founder Manuel Laserna Jr.

Under Republic Act 6975 or the DILG Act of 1990, the management, control and supervision of city and municipal jails are under the supervision of the DILG, through the BJMP.

Earlier, Senator Lito Lapid filed Senate Resolution 225 seeking an inquiry into the viability of privatizing the jail management system of the country. However, according to the LPBA, "nothing has happened to the resolution."