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Church prison ministry welcomes Senate passage of Community Service Act

Church prison ministry welcomes Senate passage of Community Service Act

By CBCP News

May 5, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church’s prison ministry has lauded a proposed new approach on treating minor offenses.

The Senate on Monday approved a bill seeking to authorize the court to impose community service for minor offenses instead of jail term.

Voting 19-0, legislators passed Senate Bill 2195 or the Community Service Act, which is also meant to decongest jails in the country.

The church’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) have been advocating for such measure as part of its campaign for restorative justice.

“We laud this act of the Senate and we pray that the Lower House and the President will follow this move,” said Rodolfo Diamante, ECPPC Executive Secretary.

Under the bill, the offender will also undergo counselling under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Once the community service has been completed, the court can order the release of the offender unless there is a need for detention for some other crime.

The measure also states that an offender who violates the terms of the community service can be rearrested and will be sent to jail to serve time.

Since 1990, the United Nations had urged its members countries to consider non-custodial measures in the treatment of offenders.

Also known as the Tokyo Rules, Diamante said it seeks to alternative to imprisonment like community service, work and study furlough.

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