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Philippines drugs crackdown strains packed jails

Monday, November 07, 2016 - 01:29

President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown on drugs has led to thousands of arrests, putting the Philippines' already-packed jails under pressure. Paul Chapman reports.

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Jails in the Philippines were packed before President Rodrigo Duterte launched his crackdown on the nation's drug problem. In the three months since he came to power more than 20,000 people have been arrested. Quezon City Jail was built to hold 800 inmates. Its current population is 3, 400. It's so overcrowded the inmates are sleeping in halls and stairwells. Each toilet is shared by 150 people. Despite that some say prison is still better than becoming another victim of extra-judicial killings, now standing at nearly 2, 300. (SOUNDBITE)(Filipino) LONG ABUHAM, INMATE, SAYING: "I feel much safer here than outside because all the people involved in drugs are being killed outside, so it's better to stay here, inside." Prison staff say it's affecting the inmates badly. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PRISON OFFICER, LUCILA ABARCA, SAYING: "Inmates get sick because they do not get to sleep comfortably at night. Those other inmates who can't be accommodated inside the cell(s), they just sleep here in the courtyard." Jails in the Philippines rank as the most congested in Asia. Worldwide the Institute for Criminal Policy Research puts it in third place for prison occupancy levels, behind Haiti and Benin

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Philippines drugs crackdown strains packed jails

Monday, November 07, 2016 - 01:29