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Jail congestion causes lung, skin diseases among inmates —BJMP

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology on Saturday revealed that the jail congestion around the country is causing infections among inmates, including skin and lung illnesses.

BJMP data from January to February 2018 show a 40-percent in medical consultations from the same period last year due overpopulation of jails, Senior Jail Inspector Xavier Solda, BJMP spokesperson said.

Diseases recorded during the January to February 2018 period include upper respiratory tract infection, hypertension, allergic rhinitis, influenza, abscess (pigsa), irritant contact dermatitis, scabies, acute gastroenteritis, asthma or bronchial asthma, and heat rash.

Solda said that in February 2018, the population of inmates in district, city, municipal jails, female dorms, special intensive care areas, and infirmaries under their jurisdiction was 145,476.

Most congested at the rate of 601.91% is the Manila City Jail.

Ideally, Solda said, the Manila City Jail could only accommodate 800 inmates, but as of the moment, it is housing around 5,400 to 5,600, blaming the snail-paced resolution of cases in trial courts.

According to him, the present intensive anti-crime operations have aggravated congestion in jails as inmates coming in outnumber those being released.

But the BJMP said they are prepared handle inmates falling ill during the dry season. 

Facility inspections were already conducted December last year, including the checking of ventilation and water lines, and the buying medical supplies. The agency said it has already coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection for possible water interruption.

Also, the bureau said it has  already identified the prisoners with illnesses, and monitored the conditions of pregnant and the elderly inmates.

Inmates with tuberculosis are also being monitored and isolation areas have been assigned to them.

The agency, with appropriate court orders, has also transferred prisoners to the Quezon City Jail annex and Manila City Jail annex as part of their solution to the congestion.

Roving doctors are needed, the BJMP said. However, volunteers from public facilities and NGOs have offered help to address inmates' health concerns. —Jamil Joseph Santos/LBG, GMA News