Press Release
August 20, 2006


Business firms that will employ former prisoners will be entitled to tax deduction privileges under a legislative proposal that aims to spare them from the discriminatory hiring practices of employers.

Senate Bill 2415, authored by Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel Jr., will allow business establishments that will hire former prisoners to get additional tax deduction from their gross income, equivalent to 15 percent of the total amount paid as salaries and wages to the ex-inmates.

Studies show that former prisoners have a slimmer chance of being employed after their release. Most, if not all employers, are reluctant to hire former prisoners, because of their criminal past. This makes it difficult for former prisoners to reform and reintegrate into society, Pimentel explained.

The bill mandates the creation of a committee on employment opportunities for former prisoners under the Department of Justice which is tasked to draft the implementing rules and regulations for the training and employment of former prisoners.

It also seeks to allocate an initial amount of P100 million for the first year of implementation of the proposed legislation.

Former prisoners are defined under the bill as those convicted by final judgment and who have been released on probation, pardon or after having served their jail sentences.

In a separate measure, Pimentel proposed that prisoners should be entitled to a reduction of their prison sentence for good behavior while their cases are on appeal with the courts.

He pointed out that Article 97 of the Revised Penal Code provides for the allowance for good conduct to prisoners in recognition of their ability to reform while serving their sentences.

This reduction of sentence is in consideration of the good conduct and diligence of a prisoner who does not violate the code of discipline or prison rules, and has shown fidelity to the tasks given to him while serving sentence, Pimentel said.

However, he said it is unfortunate that under present laws, prisoners are not entitled to good conduct allowance while their cases are on appeal.

This rule either discourages prisoners from complying with prison rules, or compels them to withdraw their appeals to qualify for good conduct allowance, Pimentel said.

Under Senate Bill 2410, the good conduct of any prisoner in any penal institution shall entitle him to the following deductions from his sentence:

1. During the first two years of imprisonment, a deduction of five days for each month of good behavior.

2. During the third to fifth year, inclusive of his imprisonment, a deduction of eight days for each month of good behavior.

3. During the following years until the 10th year, inclusive of his imprisonment, a deduction of 10 days for each month of good behavior.

4. During the 11th and successive years of his imprisonment, a deduction of 15 days for each month of good behavior.

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