Nearly 10,000 inmates freed as Covid-19 hits Philippine jails


This photo taken on March 27, 2020 shows prison inmates sleeping and gesturing in cramped conditions in the crowded courtyard of the Quezon City jail in Manila. Guards and inmates at a notoriously overcrowded Philippine jail tested positive for the coronavirus, officials have said, sparking urgent calls for the release of some prisoners. Nearly 10,000 prison inmates have been released in the Philippines on Saturday (May 2) as the country races to halt coronavirus infections in its overcrowded jails. - AFP

MANILA: Nearly 10,000 prison inmates have been released in the Philippines as the country races to halt Covid-19 (coronavirus) infections in its overcrowded jails, a Supreme Court official said on Saturday (May 2) .

The move follows a directive to lower courts to release those awaiting trial in prison because they could not afford bail, Associate Supreme Court Justice Mario Victor Leonen told reporters.

"The court is very much aware of the congested situation in our prisons," Leonen told reporters as he announced the release of 9,731 inmates.

Covid-19 outbreaks have been reported at some of the country's most overcrowded jails, affecting both inmates as well as corrections personnel.

Social distancing is all but impossible in the country's prison system, where cells are sometimes filled to five times their capacity due to inadequate infrastructure and a slow-moving and overburdened judicial system.

Overcrowding has become an even greater problem since President Rodrigo Duterte launched a drug crackdown in 2016 that has seen thousands sent to prison.

Among those which have reported outbreaks are the Quezon City Jail in the capital Manila, a facility so crowded that inmates take turns sleeping on staircases and open-air basketball courts.

The worst outbreaks so far are at two prisons in the central island of Cebu, where two city jails have announced a combined 348 infections among more than 8,000 inmates as of Friday.

The outbreaks have fuelled calls from rights groups for the early release of prisoners charged with non-violent offences as well as the sick and elderly.

The Philippines has reported nearly 9,000 coronavirus infections and 603 deaths. - AFP
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Regional

Those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will enjoy more benefits, says Health DG
Challenges in maintaining economic recovery
Covid-19: 15,573 new cases, Selangor the highest with 7,672
Pharmaniaga can sell Sinovac vaccine to private sector as it has fulfilled its commitment to govt, says KJ
Citi best bank for corporate responsibility in Asia
Covid-19: 21 Indian nationals died in Malaysia, says India's Foreign Ministry
Thai June exports at 11 year high as global demand rebounds
Three Covid-19 self-test kits available for public, says Dr Adham
Covid-19: 119 new cases involving variants of concern identified, says Health DG
Contract doctors to get two-year extension, paid study leave, says PM

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers