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Community Service Act to decongest jails




The Senate on Monday approved Senate Bill No. 2195 or the Community Service Act – which promotes restorative justice and decongest jails by authorizing the court in its discretion to require community service in lieu of service in jail for offenses punishable by arresto menor and arresto mayor.

The measure – sponsored by Senator Richard Gordon — provides that community service shall consist of any actual physical activity which inculcates civic consciousness and is intended towards the improvement of a public work or promotion of a public service.

Gordon said that the passage on third and final reading of the bill would decongest the jails and avert the humanitarian crisis triggered by the congestion.

“An investigative report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in 2018 showed that the Philippines has the most overcrowded jails in the world, with a congestion rate of 605 percent that is far ahead of Haiti’s 320 percent, the second most crowded. The Philippine National Police detention centers, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and provincial jails, and the Bureau of Corrections prisons are not only full to the brim, they are teeming with emaciated and disease-carrying bodies,” Gordon noted.

“This measures aims to address that. This will also help in preventing the humanitarian crisis that the present congestion in our jails brings,” he added.