Congested inmates at Biñan City Police Station in Laguna.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
May 5, 2020

Philippines is currently facing a serious issue of congested jails. According to Commission on Audit (COA), 67% of jails across the country are overcrowded. It is said that 323 out of 478 jail facilities all over the nation are considered as heavily congested. This scenario has led to various problems and implications for the justice system and the inmates themselves.

Implication #1: Inhumane Living Conditions

The most apparent implication of congested jails is the inhumane living conditions that inmates are subjected to. With limited space, inmates are forced to sleep on floors or in cramped cells. This leads to poor hygiene and health conditions. Overcrowding also makes it difficult for authorities to provide basic necessities. These include food, water, and medical attention. These conditions violate the rights of the inmates and can lead to physical and mental health problems.

Implication #2: Slow Pace of Justice System

Another implication is the slow pace of the justice system. Congested jails mean that there are too many cases to be processed. It leads to a backlog of cases. This slow pace can mean that inmates are left in jail for prolonged periods. Though they are innocent or have committed minor offenses. This can lead to the loss of opportunities and a negative impact on their families and personal lives.

Implication #3: Increase in Criminal Activity

Moreover, congested jails can also lead to increased criminal activity within the prison walls. Overcrowding can cause tensions between inmates, which can lead to violence and riots. Additionally, it can pave the way for gangs to form and flourish within the prison walls. These lead to further criminal activities.

Implication #4: Spread of Diseases

Finally, the implications of congested jails extend beyond the prison walls. Overcrowding can lead to the spread of diseases. It can affect not only the inmates but also the prison staff and their families. There is also a risk of escape attempts, which can pose a threat to society.

Thus, the implications of congested jails in the Philippines are severe and far-reaching. The government needs to address this issue urgently. By providing more resources to the justice system and building new facilities to accommodate the growing number of inmates. In addition, some people commit crimes like robbery and snatching because of poverty. The reason why providing or creating programs about livelihood is also helpful. It is also necessary to ensure that the rights of inmates are respected. They should be provided with basic necessities and access to justice. As a society, we must acknowledge the importance of treating all individuals, including prisoners, with dignity and respect.

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