Random drug tests in BJMP jails

Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. vows to conduct surprise drug tests in the jails managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

During his command visit at the BJMP-National Headquarters last Tuesday, Abalos discussed updates about jail congestion, the bureau’s manpower and drug testing in jails.

He warned he will personally visit the jails and conduct the surprise drug tests of BJMP personnel and persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

He said this will include urinalysis, too.

He warned each BJMP warden and personnel that when someone tests positive, it only means that drugs have entered the jail facilities.

Abalos issued the warning in light of the controversies arising in relation to the operations of drug lords in jails.

He said, “Sometimes there are rumors that some big-time drug lords are operating in jails themselves. The issue here is communication. How do they contact the outside? We need to cut their communication. They use phones to conduct their drug trade. So, we need signal jammers to stop their communication outside,” he explained.

Apart from random drug tests, he also wants all inmates to undergo a medical screening and physical examination prior to their admission to jails.

As of 30 June 2022, data shows the BJMP houses 131,193 PDLs in 477 jails nationwide. This translates to a 387 percent congestion rate, with 337 jails reported to be congested.

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