National Penitentiary: When The Public Impression Is Wrong

Prisoners behind the high wall and sturdy bars of the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa are dangerous, right? So they must stay in prison, forever? They don’t deserve humane treatment after what they did to their victims? Worst, they must die to pay for the lives they have destroyed?

Adding insult to an injury, the correctional system is incompetent and corrupt. DSC09780

These are the common public perception about prisoners and the corrections service in the country based on what they see on media interviews. That’s because many are not able to witness what happens behind the wall of prisons.

So, if the public impression about the prison system in the country is wrong, definitely, it won’t help the prisoners nor the institution.

Admittedly, Bureau of Corrections Director Gaudencio Pangilinan pointed out what they called pain-points:

Overcrowding

Prisons are filled with inmates more than double of its capacity. And this has impacts on hygiene and sanitation. The national penitentiary has an average of one death a day due to illness and the leading killer disease is tuberculosis, followed by cardio-vascular related illnesses.

But this is what the BuCor has started to build. A more spacious and comfortable quarters for the inmates.

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Reformation and Recidivism

BuCor is considering potential destructive effect of incarceration to a person; of his concept of right and wrong and his view of a community. It is ensuring that released inmates are also productive, healthy, and less likely to be conflict with the law.

There are many ways to reform a prisoner.

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Let their artistic hands give them earnings.

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Livelihood projects.

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Giving them high morale upon speaking to their family & relatives abroad while in prison.

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Something to keep them busy but productive.

Personnel development

This has been a contentious issue. Reports about corrections officials and employees’ corruptions keep bothering the public. VIP treatments, illegal drugs and illegal gambling and allowing prisoners to go outside are unrelenting issues against the institution.

As a solution, BuCor is now focusing on promoting professionalism to motivate its employees. They are now focus on training and reorientation and giving justifiable benefits they deserve.

Maybe a one day tour inside the Maximum Security Compound at the New Bilibid Prison is not enough. But I discovered good reforms development that was lacking in previous administrations. And a hope for the Bureau of Corrections to achieve modernizations in the future and they would stick on their function – crime prevention and enforcement of social change.

And the bottom line here – prisoners are still human. If you consider them as dangerous and doesn’t give them a chance to change, then you are giving them the reason to remain as devil as they were.

1 comment for “National Penitentiary: When The Public Impression Is Wrong

  1. June 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    just a couple of days ago, I watched on GMA NewsTv, show featuring New Bilibid Prison and its inmates. Thru the documentary show, I was able to visit and discover how life it is to be inside the prison.
    I do hope that the current administration continues to give them the development and modernization program that they deserve. Yes, indeed, just like us, they are still human.

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