De Lima pushes for ‘medical parole’ for terminally-ill inmates

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure granting medical parole that would allow terminally-ill inmates to serve their sentence under the care of their families or seek better medical care outside the correctional facilities.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, filed Senate Bill No. 2084 which seeks to grant medical parole, also known as “compassionate parole,” to qualified inmates on humanitarian or medical grounds.

“The grant of medical parole presupposes that the conditional release of a prisoner will not constitute a threat to the safety of the society,” she said.

Medical parole is defined under the proposed measure as the “conditional release of a prisoner from a correctional institution on the ground that he is suffering from a terminal illness or an incapacity that renders him incapable of managing his own affairs.”

De Lima, an active advocate of prison reform, explained that establishing the medical parole not only provides for a humane treatment of terminally-ill or permanently-incapable prisoners.

It will also rationalize the correctional practice by allowing the conditional release of prisoners who are no longer capable of serving their sentences within the correctional facilities due to their conditions, she added.

“This bill is meant to allow prisoners to serve out their sentence under the care of their families or seek better medical care outside the correctional facilities,” the former justice secretary noted.

De Lima also pointed out that her proposed measure provides a mechanism for citizens and interested parties to oppose any application as a matter of check against any improvident or even fraudulent grant of medical parole.

Under SBN 2084, also known as Medical Parole Act, the grant of medical parole may be opposed depending on the severity of the inmate’s illness, or his release will be a threat to public safety or the inmate is likely to commit an offense while on medical parole.

Last July 21, De Lima has filed Senate Bill No. 1879 which seeks to integrate the management of the country’s jails and prisons under one agency tasked to provide better treatment and rehabilitation program for all detainees and prisoners.

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