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BJMP frees 74K PDLs in 10 months

A TOTAL of 74,590 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) were released from January to October this year, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said on Friday.

Of the total, around 10,000 were freed for having served their respective sentences; some 6,000 were transferred to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor); while the majority were released due to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), a sentence reduction provision afforded to PDLs who show good behavior, said BJMP spokesman Chief Inspector Jayrex Bustinera in a public briefing.

The rest of the freed PDLs, on the other hand, were provided with paralegal assistance, according to Bustinera, adding that the number of PDLs to be released is expected to increase before the end of the year.

Certain considerations must be met by the PDLs to qualify for the early release privilege offered by the government.

Despite the limited number of government lawyers, the BJMP paralegal officers were able to help the PDLs understand their cases, assist them in attending court hearings, confer with their lawyers outside the jail facility, and facilitate the court hearing of their cases for their possible early release from incarceration, Bustinera said.

Paralegal officers played important roles in helping the PDLs understand the legal complexities and processes involved in their respective cases.

Bustinera said that the government's move to resolve overcrowded prison cells will be given a big boost through interagency coordination among BJMP, the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Supreme Court, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the holding of the first-ever National Jail Decongestion Summit scheduled from December 6 to 7.

The BJMP has started the classification system to determine who among the PDLs have the propensity to be «recidivist» to allow the bureau to undertake measures to address their concerns inside the jail facility.

He added that the BJMP also has development opportunity programs that allow the PDLs to finish junior or senior high school via the Alternative Learning System (ALS), which will decrease their chances of going back to jail once they are released from prison.

The bureau