A lawmaker is eyeing the creation of a separate government department that will take over the major functions of the prison system in the country now being handled by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
According to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, the sharing of responsibility between the two agencies under the Department of Interior and Local Government has resulted in inefficient management of the country’s jail system and caused jail congestion and delays in the delivery of justice.
The BJMP manages detention and jails holding suspects accused of a crime, while the DOJ through the Bureau of Corrections is in charge of national penitentiaries holding convicted individuals.
Pimentel, who chairs the Senate committee on justice believed that a single department will more efficiently manage both.
This move, he explained, will help government decongest BJMP prisons and dispense justice to overstaying prisoners.
Pimentel explained that 97 percent of BJMP detainees “are not yet convicted.” Justice dictates that “if a detainee has already served the maximum prison term for his alleged crime, then he should be set free.”
BJMP data record more than 37,000 inmates in various facilities all over the country.
On the other hand, the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City that has a capacity for 9,000 persons holds more than 21,000 prisoners.