Press Release
July 16, 2006


Prisoners will have the privilege of having their jail sentence shortened if they enroll in schools within prison walls.

This innovative scheme, contained in Senate Bill 2022, was proposed by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) to encourage convicted offenders to take advantage of educational opportunities, help enhance their sense of self-respect and dignity, and decongest jails.

Under the bill, any prisoner who will take up a post-graduate, college, vocational skills or value development course, high school or elementary school shall be granted good conduct time credit towards the service of his sentence. The time credit shall not exceed 15 days for every month of study time.

The proposal unequivocally recognizes as good conduct the demonstrated courage, willingness and ability of a prisoner to increase his knowledge, develop his skills and strengthen his moral values while under detention, Pimentel said.

The bill also provides that prisoners who volunteer to teach in the special academic and vocational classes for fellow inmates will receive good conduct time credit equivalent up to 15 days for every month of teaching duties.

Increasing the literacy and skills standards and strengthening the moral values of prisoners will facilitate their reintegration into the mainstream of society as reformed and productive citizens, Pimentel said.

With the increasing literacy among prisoners, he said a jail management system responsive to current needs and problems can be implemented to forestall jailbreaks, riots and other destabilizing activities.

Moreover, Pimentel said this will enable the State to fulfill its duty to provide elementary and high school education to its citizens for free.

It is a fact that many prisoners are unschooled or illiterates which may be contributory to their transgression of the law. Ignorance costs more than education, and no better proof of this could be found than in jails where tangible returns on time and monetary investments are wanting, the minority leader explained.

The bill advances a dynamic implementation of the good conduct allowance under Article 97, Chapter II of the Revised Penal Code, Pimentel said.

On why the grant of the good conduct time allowance to inmates was made mandatory, he said this serves as an incentive commensurate to the rigors and the bliss of increasing knowledge, developing skills and strengthening moral values while under detention.

Under Senate Bill 2022, the good conduct allowance earned through the literacy, skills and values development programs shall be computed at the end of each calendar year, unless earlier required. The academic and values development programs for prisoners shall be implemented in coordination with the Department of Education, and the vocational skills program with the Department of Trade and Industry.

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