Davao councilor proposes law penalizing visitors bringing contraband inside jail facilities

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Jan) – Davao City’s 1st District councilor Mabel Sunga Acosta will propose a measure on Tuesday that seeks to prohibit and penalize visitors who “sneak, use and carry any forms of contraband inside the jail and detention facilities” in the city.

A five-page copy of the proposed ordinance released to the media on Monday stated that there are still violators who would sneak contraband in the city’s jails and detention facilities despite the rigid campaign against it and that the most effective way to address it is “to penalize the act of sneaking, possession, or entry of contraband.”

The proposed measure lists down contraband as any “items specifically prohibited by the jail and detention management” that include deadly and bladed weapons, firearms, improvised explosive device and any possible components such as electric wires, batteries, fertilizers, ammunitions.

It also prohibits carrying into the jail facilities items such as metal cutting saw or blades, digging tools not permitted by the jail, cigarette and other tobacco products, liquor and other intoxicating beverages, prohibited drugs and paraphernalia, cash and checks more than the prescribed allowable, mobile phones and electronic communication devices, pornographic materials, gambling paraphernalia, and other items or products that prescribed by the Jail and Detention Place Management.

“Contraband do not only compromise the security of the jails and detention places but also to the safety of the personnel, inmates or prisoners, visitors, complainants, witnesses and its general public,” it said.

The proposed ordinance will penalize violators for the first offense with P5,000 and 24-hour community service with subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-compliance of the community service; P5,000 and 120-hour community service with subsidiary imprisonment in case of non-compliance for the second offence; and, P5,000 and imprisonment at the discretion of the court and perpetual ban of visiting privilege.

It said the community service will be under the supervision of the Talomo Police Station and City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) that would issue the certification upon completion.

The passage of the ordinance seeks to strengthen the implementation of security measures inside the jail facilities and prevent the occurrence of deaths, riots, hostage taking and escape inmates.

It also seeks to prevent inmates from coercing, intimidating, threatening complainants and witnesses or order retaliation, orchestrate crimes and organize rescue plan by prohibiting the possession and entry of cellular phones and other electronic gadgets for use for communication.

It also wants to prevent inmates from bribing jail officers or custodians by prohibiting the possession of excessive amount of money in cash or check inside the jails or detention places and to safeguard public health and well-being of the inmates by penalizing the possession and entry of illegal drugs, cigarette and tobacco. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)