Reading as inmates’ rehab program slated

The National Library of the Philippines was also included as part of the TWG for the purposes of providing their technical expertise in terms of library management

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on Tuesday kicked off the “Read Your Way Out: Advancing Prison Reform through Libraries for Lifelong Learning in Places of Detention” Program at Monet Ballroom, Novotel Manila at Araneta City in Quezon City.

The project will support the creation of new jail libraries and the provision of books and equipment with the overall aim to provide learning opportunities for personal development, well-being and rehabilitation of persons deprived of liberty.

It also aims to incorporate reading activities as one of the options for PDLs to earn Time Allowance for Study, Teaching and Mentoring. Time allowances reduce time in sentences and facilitate decongestion through early release coupled with rehabilitation grounded in improved education and vocational skills.

Jail libraries shall be composed of 20 percent legal resources, 30 percent vocational resources, 40 percent fiction and non-fiction and 10 percent children books for family visitors.

To implement the said project, a Technical Working Group was constituted composed of officials from the BJMP and the UNODC, which also includes the National Library of the Philippines for the purposes of providing their technical expertise in terms of library management.

The TWG have identified 13 jail recipients from all over the Philippines. They will be provided with books and the necessary basic equipment to build their respective libraries and to complement if one is already established.

These libraries are scheduled to be launched in March 2023.

The creation of libraries in jails and prisons is inspired by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which ensures the right to freedom of opinion and expression and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

It is also stated by the Nelson Mandela Rules — particularly Rule 64 which specifically states that every prison shall have a library for the use of all categories of prisoners, adequately stocked with both recreational and instructional books, and prisoners shall be encouraged to make full use of it.

The ceremony was participated by key government officials and stakeholders through knowledge-sharing sessions by experts in the field of establishing jail libraries as well as by advocates for lifelong learning in jails.

Read more Daily Tribune stories at:

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial