Two hundred seventy five inmates of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Tagbilaran City Prison and Correctional Facility in Cabawan are crammed into a 141 sq.m. cell space made for 30 while awaiting resolution of their cases in the courts.
With an ideal space of 3 sq.m. per inmate, the Tagbilaran City Jail has only .51 sq.m. of space per inmate, according to City Warden, Jail Senior Inspector Mark Anthony Omega.
Omega told DYRD “Inyong Alagad” that from 30 inmates, the jail population swelled to 275 resulting in an 817% congestion rate.
The 141 sq.m. is divided into 11 cells that is now housing an average of twenty inmates including two separate cells for women occupied by 14 inmates.C
Although, Omega did not admitÂ that the present overcrowding has not deteriorated into subhuman conditions for the inmates even as toilet facilities are provided for each of the eleven cells.
For the 275 inmates, daily food allowance is allocated at P50 per inmate.
Omega has requested city authorities to expand the detention area to 684 sq.m. from the present space to comply with the ideal detention space for the present number of inmates.
Congestion was blamed to the growing numbers of detainees awaiting and undergoing trial and awaiting decisions of their cases with an average waiting time of ten years.
The average national jail congestion rate is 1,700%, according to statistics from the BJMP based on the congestion rate of the 28 top congested jails as of September 15, 2015.
The Philippines penal system is considered the third most congested in the world, according to the University of London’s Institute for Criminal Policy Research. (Chito M. Visarra)