Zubiri calls for Alcatraz-like prisons for convicts of heinous crimes

"Heinous crime convicts and high-risk prisoners belong to maximum security prisons in isolated and uninhabited islands, far from their victims and society at large. Alcatraz-like prisons will keep us safe. They suffer the punishment and we are kept safe far away from their clutches," said Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri as he filed Senate Bill No. 1004 (AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SEPARATE PRISON FACILITY FOR THOSE CONVICTED OF HEINOUS CRIMES) in the wake of the near release of convict Mayor Antonio Sanchez.

"Jails keep our society safe as we punish criminals by restricting their liberty, including totally taking away their political rights. In contrast, Mayor Sanchez was living luxuriously and enjoying privileges as in a gangland where inmates like him intimidate jail guards as proven by actual videos taken in Bilibid."

"We know recidivists and incorrigibles will claw their way out of prison if given the chance through brute force or influence. This is what faces us today. A celebrated crime's infamous author nearly got total liberty which he does not deserve at all. Convicts like Mayor Sanchez belong to the proposed Heinous Crimes Penitentiary to be run by the Bureau of Corrections. I propose that personnel of the Bureau build and operate several HCP facilities in several regions to be identified by the Secretary of Justice."

"Within one year after these new facilities are established, the prisoners serving their sentences in the National Bilibid Prison and other jails of the Bureau of Corrections shall be transferred to the new HCP facilities most preferably in solitary confinement.

"Nonetheless, I support the government's move to improve the conditions in all jails around the country. The overarching principle should be to render justice to victims, protect communities and allow certain basic rights to prisoners such as nutrition and hygiene.

"Modern times have reformed society. No self-respecting country will resort to cruel and inhuman punishment. We don't have a Gulag. We don't whip the lash like Centurions did. We even have the fenceless Iwahig penal colony where escape is rarely heard of. We even hear of escapees returning and those freed would themselves build their homes nearby. Our prisons are also reformative in nature. We offer education and livelihood training to prepare them for meaningful albeit restricted life and for those set free within the provisions of the law. However, convicts of heinous crimes will just have to live their life out under maximum security or total isolation, as needed."

"The capital outlay budget of the Department of Justice may have to be increased to allocate funds for the construction of maximum security facilities under the Heinous Crime Penitentiary system. I anticipate the swift passage of this bill and the inclusion of the budget in the 2020 National Government budget," Zubiri concluded.

Source: Senate of the Philippines