Pimentel, the lone Mindanawon senator, filed the bill to "encourage convicted offenders to take advantage of educational opportunities, help enhance their sense of self-respect and dignity, and decongest jails.”
In his press statement, Pimentel said that 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 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.
The “good conduct time” allowance will 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.
“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.
This will not only “facilitate their reintegration into the mainstream of society as reformed and productive citizens” but also forestall jailbreaks, riots and other destabilizing activities, he said.
The bill is also in line with government’s duty to provide elementary and high school education to its citizens for free, Pimentel said.
“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,” he noted. (MindaNews)