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Yamsuan backs BJMP education plans

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Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan of Bicol Saro party-list group has backed efforts of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to facilitate the continuing education last year of over 19,000 persons deprived of liberty  (PDLs) in its detention facilities across the country.

Yamsuan said this holistic approach of ensuring the welfare of PDLs by providing them with useful skills and knowledge to aid in their reintegration into society will help in reducing the rate of repeat offenders in the country’s overpopulated municipal, city, and district jails.

Citing data from the 2023 accomplishment report of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Yamsuan noted that a total of 19,299 PDLs were able to continue their education  while in detention in BJMP facilities through the Bureau’s partnerships with private learning institutions, non government organizations and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)

Of this number, 5,927 PDLs were enrolled at the elementary level, another 9,549 in junior high school and 3,407 in senior high school. The enrollees were for school year 2022-2023.

“The BJMP’s  initiatives to improve the well-being of detainees through its continuing education programs  is a key factor  in reducing the reoffending or recidivism rate among PDLs. This, in turn, will  aid in the ongoing efforts to decongest overcrowded jails and unlock doors of opportunities for PDLs to become productive members of society,” said Yamsuan, a former Interior and Local Government assistant secretary.

“All PDLs deserve a second chance.  Under the leadership of BJMP
Director Ruel Rivera, we are confident that more PDLs under the
agency’s care would be inspired to  defy the odds and be motivated to change for the better,” Yamsuan added.

In the 21 BJMP jails offering the Bureau’s College Behind Bars
Program, Yamsuan noted that  416 PDLs were enrolled in college courses for school year 2022-2023, of which 24 were able to complete their degree programs last year.

Citing the DILG report, Yamsuan said 3,017  of the elementary level
enrollees for school year 2022-2023 were able to graduate.

Meanwhile,  6,739 of the junior high school  learners and 851 of the
senior high school students  also  graduated during the same school

Yamsuan said these learners were on top of the numerous PDLs who were able to enroll or complete TESDA courses in carpentry, masonry, food services, and electrical installation, among others.

A staunch advocate of prison reforms, Yamsuan  has long been pushing for the  unification of  the country’s fragmented correctional system, as proposed under his measure—House Bill 8672—which aims to create a Department of Corrections and Jail Management (DCJM).

Yamsuan said integrating  the BJMP of the DILG; the Bureau of
Corrections (BuCor),  Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP), and Parole
and Probation Administration (PPA),   which are all currently under
the Department of Justice  (DOJ); and the correctional and jail
services of the provincial governments under a single department will ensure the seamless coordination among the different agencies involved in  the administration of justice and the management and care of PDLs.


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