Senator proposes privatization of prisons

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2019 09:24 AM | Updated as of Oct 08 2019 09:40 AM

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MANILA - A senator on Tuesday proposed for government to tap the private sector in the construction and management of jail facilities for prisoners convicted of lesser crimes in a bid to decongest prisons in the country.

Those convicted of heinous crimes will, however, remain in jails managed by the Bureau of Corrections, Sen. Francis Tolentino said.

"I’m referring to offenses punishable by prison correctional and below, those below 6 years imprisonment to help decongest our jails would be placed in private jail facilities," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"The non-sovereign aspects would be run by the private sector but the management of the security would still be under the hospices of BuCor."

The senator said allowing private firms to step in would help government "save on expense, produce a more efficient jail management system, and enable convicts of lesser offenses to be reintegrated back to the mainstream society after they have served their prison term."

Tolentino cited other countries such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Thailand that allow private institutions to run prison facilities.

"I’m not saying this is the silver bullet. There are also failures but this has to be part of menu of public policy options that we have to consider if we really are serious in reforming our penal system," he said.

Three other senators earlier proposed heinous crime convicts to be separated from other prisoners by locking them up in a penal facility located in a secured area "preferably within a military establishment or in an island separate in the mainland."