Urgent Call for Focus on Detainees’ Reintegration Programs

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A lawmaker has called on the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to prioritize the implementation of its reintegration programs for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), despite a small increase in its 2024 budget. The BJMP’s budget for this year has been raised to P23.87 billion, a 7 percent, or P1.54 billion, increase from last year’s allocation of P22.33 billion.

Bicol Saro Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan emphasized the importance of strengthening the BJMP’s reintegration programs as a means to alleviate the overpopulation in the district, city, and municipal jails under its supervision. Yamsuan believes that providing PDLs with opportunities to become productive individuals after their detention is crucial.

Approximately 85 percent, or P20.26 billion, of the BJMP’s budget is currently allocated for the custody, safekeeping, and rehabilitation of PDLs under its care. Yamsuan highlighted the significance of providing targeted and appropriate interventions to PDLs while they are in the custody of the BJMP, as this can help prevent them from becoming recidivists or repeat offenders. These interventions also aim to alleviate overcrowding in the BJMP’s jail facilities.

According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which supervises the BJMP, the bureau’s congestion rate from January to October 2023 was 348 percent, lower than the 367 percent recorded during the same period in 2022. Yamsuan emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to reintegration, describing it as a “whole of society” strategy that facilitates the assimilation and adjustment of PDLs in the community.

To address jail congestion, several plans are being considered. One of these plans involves assisting released PDLs in finding employment and temporary housing. Additionally, the efficient implementation of the “Single Carpeta Project System” is being prioritized. This nationwide comprehensive case monitoring and information system tracks the status and progress of PDLs’ cases as they move from one agency to another.

Yamsuan believes that a more sustainable and long-term solution to jail congestion and the welfare of PDLs is necessary. He proposes the unification of a fragmented correctional system, as outlined in his proposed House Bill 8672.

By focusing on reintegration programs, the BJMP aims to address the challenges posed by overpopulated jails and contribute to the successful reintegration of PDLs into society. Providing PDLs with opportunities for personal growth and development not only benefits the individuals themselves but also enhances public safety by reducing the likelihood of recidivism.

It is essential for the BJMP to collaborate with various sectors of society to ensure the effective implementation of reintegration programs. By working together, government agencies, community organizations, and employers can create a supportive environment that enables PDLs to reintegrate successfully into society, find employment, and lead productive lives.

In conclusion, Rep. Yamsuan’s call to prioritize the implementation of reintegration programs for PDLs highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to address jail congestion and improve the welfare of individuals under the BJMP’s care. By investing in targeted interventions and collaborating with different sectors, the BJMP can contribute to the successful reintegration of PDLs, reducing overcrowding in jails, and promoting public safety.

Source: The Manila Times

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