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BJMP sees declining trend in 'overstaying' inmates

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has seen a decline in the number of “overstaying” detainees, who were imprisoned longer than they should have been.

“Pababa na ang trend ng mga taong nakapiit na sobra sa preventive [imprisonment] ang pagkakakulong,” BJMP chief Jail Director Ruel Rivera said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

Overstaying detainees are those who are in jail or prison while awaiting trial or final judgment.

Rivera said those preventively detained for over five years are now down to 9,000, while those detained for a maximum of six months increased to over 40,000.

“Previously baligtad, ‘yung five years and above ‘yun ang mas marami kumpara sa zero to six months [detained],” he said.

“Ngayon nabago ang trend… ibig sabihin nagtatagal sa loob,” he added.

The BJMP chief said the development could be attributed to the passage of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law as well as the introduction of paralegal officers.

GCTA is a privilege granted to a prisoner, whether detained or convicted by final judgment, entitling the prisoner to a reduced jail or prison term for every month of actual detention or service of sentence as a reward for good conduct and exemplary behavior.

Rivera said educational programs such as the “Read Your Way Out” also helped reduce the number of inmates.

“Mabilis na ang paggulong ng batas at marami na ang programa ng BJMP upang matulungan sila,” he said.

The BJMP chief disclosed that jails under its jurisdiction have a nationwide congestion rate of 358%.

He said there were 122,000 PDLs under the BJMP’s watch, but the bureau could only handle an average of 56,000 PDLs. — DVM, GMA Integrated News