CPDRC: Restorative justice, rehab programs eyed for inmates
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - August 15, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial government is developing a long-term plan for the inmates' successful transition back into the community as a productive citizen.

A restorative justice and rehabilitation programs are being eyed for the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center inmates.

The Provincial Board, in a resolution passed last Monday, urged Governor Hilario Davide III to create the programs that would be designed not only to enhance the safety and order of the jail, but also to improve public safety by making inmates more productive upon release.

It includes intensive cognitive restructuring and skill building program wherein inmates can participate in wide array of opportunities, vocational and livelihood programs to prepare inmates for the life outside, among others.

"This will provide prisoners with appropriate skills and knowledge so that they will go back to the society and be treated equally in economic opportunities and in the services when they are released," read the resolution.

Board Member Miguel Magpale, author of the resolution, said the key concept of the program is aimed at "repairing the harm caused by crime, rather than pushing inmates into punishment."

Aside from that, the program would also address recidivism to reduce cases of prisoners being re-arrested.

Davide said a convention would be held to discuss how to decongest the jail and how to help the inmates who have pending cases.

However, it has yet to be scheduled. Invited are judges, lawyers, prosecutors, Philippine National Police, Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and other concerned agencies.

The said agencies will determine if there are overstaying inmates and how they can provide legal assistance to those who couldn't afford to hire the services of a lawyer.

IBP has a program dubbed as Integrated Bar of the Release Enhancement and Efficiency, which help expedite the disposition of cases of inmates, especially those who have been behind bars longer than the prescribed period as penalty for their offenses.

The jail decongestion program is part of the IBP-Cebu's thrust towards the improvement of the administration of justice and the empowerment of the accused whose right to speedy trial is violated.

Davide mentioned earlier that the measures they initially identified are also to expedite the inmates' cases, transfer them to Bilibid prison, and release them especially those who are done serving their jail time but have remained inside.

"We suspect that some of them have already served their time in jail, angay na buhian. Ang uban wa naatiman ang kaso because they don't have lawyers, so we will look into that," he said.

CPDRC currently has 3,008 inmates, which is beyond its capacity of only 1,600.  In fact, each 119 cell is being occupied by 30 to 40 inmates, exceeding the standard 12 to 18 capacity.

This has prompted the management not to anymore accept inmates from municipal jails starting today, August 15. Inmates with commitment orders from the court though will still be accepted.  (FREEMAN)

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