launched to help reduce jail congestion
June 9, 2015
MANILA – As part of
ongoing efforts to reduce jail congestion, an electronic system for
computing inmates’ good conduct time allowance will be rolled out by
the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in six pilot jails.
To support these efforts,
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today donated
seven computers to the BJMP for the deployment of the Electronic Time
Allowance Calculator (e-TAC) system.
“This software system will
help the BJMP improve the accuracy and speed of computing good conduct
credits. This credit system encourages good behaviour behind bars,
giving inmates the possibility of release before serving their full
sentence,” said Vincent Ballon, the ICRC delegate in charge of the
programme with the BJMP. “Its effective implementation will help
decrease congestion in BJMP jails by enabling jail staff to better
monitor inmate data,” he added.
The ICRC takes a holistic
and multidisciplinary approach to its work on behalf of people
deprived of their freedom. It works in various aspects of detention,
such as the detainees’ access to water and health care, living
conditions and judicial guarantees, and then works with the
authorities to bring about tangible improvements in the detention
system and detainees’ conditions and treatment.
Republic Act No. 10592 of
2014, an amendment to the Revised Penal Code, extended the good
conduct time allowance – “credit for good behavior” – to all inmates,
including those under trial. Currently, over 86,000 people are
detained in 459 BJMP jails, which have an actual capacity of about
20,000. The reduction of overcrowding is one of the priorities
outlined by the BJMP in its 2014-16 roadmap.
The e-TAC will first be
tested in Manila City Jail’s male and female dorms, Quezon City Jail
and Las Piñas City Jail (Metro Manila), and in Sta. Maria Municipal
Jail and San Jose del Monte Municipal Jail (Bulacan) before being
implemented in other BJMP jails.
The ICRC, a neutral,
impartial and independent humanitarian organization, has been visiting
detainees in the Philippines for over 60 years. Since 2007, it has
been supporting the detaining authorities, including the BJMP, in
reducing jail overcrowding by addressing its causes, and in
alleviating the consequences on detainees.