Jail congestion major cause of the spread of infectious diseases among inmates

Louella Tangpuz, Trainee
PUBLISHED March 12, 2018 09:43 am
Photo Courtesy of Noel Celis

(Inside Manila) Due to jail congestion in the country, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) admitted that crowded jail facilities are the major cause of the spread of infectious diseases among inmates.


BJMP spokesperson Senior Inspector Xavier Solda said Manila City Jail is the most congested with a 601.91 percent congestion rate.


Solda explained that ideally, the Manila City Jail could only accommodate 800 inmates. At present, there are 5,400 to 5,600 inmates. He blamed the slow resolution of the cases in trial courts.


He said that in February 2018, the population of inmates under their jurisdiction in district city, municipal jails, female dorms, special intensive care areas, and infirmaries is at 145, 476.


Solda also noted that the anti-crime operations also magnified the jail congestions. Inmates coming in outnumber those being released.


BJMP chief Director Deogracias Tapayan said in January to February 2018, records show a 40-percent rise in medical consultations from the same period last year due to overpopulation in jails.


Diseases recorded during January to February 2018 period include upper respiratory tract infection, allergic rhinitis, hypertension, influenza, boils, irritant contact dermatitis, scabies, acute gastroenteritis, asthma, or bronchial asthma, and heat rash.


Solda added that the BJMP already listed the names of the prisoners with illnesses, and monitored the conditions of pregnant and elderly inmates. Those who have tuberculosis are also being monitored and placed in isolation areas to at least minimize the spread.


As part of the solution to the congestion, prisoners are being transferred to Quezon City Jail annex and Manila City Jail annex with appropriate court orders.


Solda said volunteer doctors from NGOs and public facilities have offered help to address the health problems of the inmates.

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