The perennial problem of congestion which has hounded the Bohol District Jail (BDJ), the province’s largest detention facility, for several years is seen to soon be addressed with the expected completion of a P10-million expansion project.
BDJ warden Jail Chief Insp. Reynan Torreon said the 10-cell expansion wing of the facility which is funded by the provincial government will be completed in mid-2020.
“Hapit na to kay ila namang gibutangan og grill, og paspasan mahuman siguro na sa April or May,” he said.
Each jail cell can accommodate up to 50 inmates, increasing the facility’s capacity by more than twofold.
According to Torreon, the BDJ’s supposed maximum capacity is at 400 people but jail population is at 587 detainees.
He ascribed the congestion to the national government’s continued intensified anti-drug drive, noting that around 80 percent of the jail’s detainees are facing drug charges.
However, the BDJ got reprieve from the Supreme Court-mandated plea bargaining framework which allowed small-time drug suspects to plead guilty to lesser offenses which could grant them reduced sentences or immediate release.
The SC’s framework was seen to ease backlog of small-time drug cases pending in courts and reduce congestion at detention centers including in Bohol where overcrowded jails have long been a cause for concern.
Through plea deals, population at the facility plummeted from 947 inmates in January 2019 to below 600 this month.
During the height of the national government’s so-called drug war in 2016, population at the BDJ skyrocketed to over 1,000. (R. Tutas)