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Bill granting good conduct time allowance for inmates OK’d

November 7, 2008 5:25am
MANILA, Philippines - A bill granting good conduct time allowance to prisoners who participate in literacy, skills and values development programs has been approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 4925 provides that a prisoner can earn time credit for satisfactory progress towards earning a post-graduate or college degree, high school or elementary grade diploma, vocational or technical skill or values development certificate.

The bill also covers prisoners who get credits for teaching subjects or courses in the mentioned programs, according to a press statement posted on the House of Representatives website.

Under the proposed measure, participants in the program will be provided a maximum time credit of 15 days for every month of study time.

The measure covers prisoners in detention facilities and those who are serving their sentences by virtue of final judgment.

Prisoners whose sentences are under appeal could also be entitled to a good conduct time allowance.

The approved measure is a consolidation of bills authored by Reps.
Raul Gonzalez Jr. (Iloilo City), Teodoro Locsin Jr. (Makati) and Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City).

Gonzalez said increasing literacy and skills standards and strengthening moral values of prisoners would facilitate their integration into mainstream society as reformed and productive citizens.

"The granting of good conduct time allowance will result in the reduction of their incarceration period. This translates to a decrease in the overall cost of correction through jail decongestion," Gonzalez said.

He added that aside from decongesting the prisons, it would prevent jailbreaks and riots as prisoners devote their time and energies in productive endeavors.

For his part, Locsin said the bill can turn reformed and rehabilitated prisoners into productive members of society again.

He said giving prisoners an incentive to lessen their sentences by showing that they are capable of and willing to consistently behave humanely in a prison environment is a giant leap towards the goal of total reformation.

The bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and other recognized institutions and organizations, to conduct such programs. - GMANews.TV