End Severe Overcrowding in Philippine Jails

President_Rodrigo_Duterte

Target: Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines

Goal: End Duterte’s overzealous “war on crime,” which has exacerbated the conditions of already severely overcrowded jails.

The Philippines’ jails have suffered from overcrowding for the better part of a decade, but the country’s recently elected President, Rodrigo Duterte, has only managed to make matters worse. These unsanitary and inhumane conditions have been responsible for a number of health problems for inmates, including a series of tuberculosis outbreaks. Now, under President Duterte’s rule, the country’s most notorious jail, Quezon City Jail, is more crowded than ever before, and concerns are rising internationally.

This particular jail is only equipped to safely house about 800 inmates, but a drastic increase in arrests coupled with a flawed legal system has packed the jail far beyond capacity with an astounding 3,800 inmates. A recent report on Quezon revealed the extent of the jail’s deplorable conditions.

Due to insufficient room in the cells, inmates are forced to sleep in hallways and outdoors on damp, cracked cement, often with not even enough room to fully stretch their legs. Access to food and clean water are severely limited due to a lack of funding. Healthy inmates are forced to share quarters with sick ones, increasing the likelihood of becoming ill.

These inmates are suffering. Rather than fight to improve their conditions, however, President Duterte has sanctioned an ill-advised “war on crime,” which led to the arrests of thousands and the killings of hundreds by police within the span of just one month. Many of those arrested have been charged with petty, non-violent drug crimes. Many more prisoners are still awaiting trial for charges made long ago.

What these people have been forced to endure because of President Duterte and the Philippines’ flawed judicial system is wholly unjust. Sign our petition to demand that this preposterous war on crime end and non-violent offenders be released to help relieve conditions in overcrowded jails.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Duterte,

Your nation’s jails were already suffering from overcrowding long before you ruled it. However, since your election, conditions in Philippine jails have only gotten worse, and your overzealous and misguided war on crime is to blame.

The Philippines’ jails are overflowing with non-violent drug offenders and those awaiting trial. These thousands of new detainees have come under the state’s care when the Philippines is already at a critically vulnerable financial state. Taking on the expenses of more inmates than the prisons can hold is not only fiscally irresponsible, but incredibly inhumane.

Around 3,800 prisoners are languishing in detestable conditions at Quezon City Jail, a structure built for only 800. Rather than using the prison’s funds to fix the decaying buildings and provide better nutrition for its prisoners, the jail’s funds are being stretched as thinly as possible to accommodate nearly five times more inmates than it was designed to hold. These inmates are sleeping on floors, packed tighter than sardines, and their health is in peril. Their suffering is completely unjustified, regardless of what kind of crime they may or may not have committed.

Your war on crime has only managed to exacerbate a serious humanitarian crisis, and it must end now. All non-violent offenders and those who have already completed their sentences should be promptly released to help relieve the burden of the Philippines’ most overcrowded jails.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Davao Today

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