BJMP jails congested by 397 percent

Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2021 06:42 PM

Inmates lie to sleep in the crowded courtyard of the jail in Quezon City on April 10, 2020.
Inmates lie to sleep in the crowded courtyard of the jail in Quezon City on April 10, 2020. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) on Monday said its facilities remain crowded amid a lack of funds and resources. 

In a press conference, BJMP spokesperson jail chief inspector Xavier Solda said their jails remain inadequate to accommodate detainees, a problem that was recently cited in a report by the Commission on Audit (COA). 

Solda estimated the agency needs P14.2 billion to address the problem of congestion, which COA said was at almost 400% last year. 

Based on BJMP data, the jail population nationwide is around 119,692 with a congestion rate of 397%. There are 470 jails nationwide, and around 350 are considered congested, Solda said. 

This is far from the ideal capacity of less than 35,000. 

"Napakatagal na talaga ng issue sa congestion and dekada na talaga ito bakit di pa rin masolve ... ang issue ng kulungan ay hindi lamang issue ng BJMP kundi ng iba't ibang sektor," Solda said.

(Congestion has long been an issue and it's been a decade that it hasn't been solved ... the issue of jails is not just an issue of BJMP but also for other sectors.)

The agency currently has 29 construction projects, costing P2.3 billion underway, but has faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

COA earlier said the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) failed to utilize P639.211 million of its total allotment of funds worth P5.849 billion, which does not reflect “sound cash programming.

Its audit report also flagged the payment of catering services in 2020 totaling P176.314 million without complete documentation.


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