Iligan, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima opposes on the idea to house hardened criminals in an Alcatraz like supermax prison system as it does not conform to the United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of the Prisoners.
The Senator’s statement came after Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto lll’s Senate Bill No. 1 which was filed at the onset of the 17th Congress desires to isolate convicted and high-profile inmates in an island prison early this month.
The famous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (supermax-prison prototype) holds Americas notorious convicts such as Al Capone, among others, became operational since 1934. Its isolation from the outside by cold, strong, hazardous currents of the waters of San Francisco Bay, made it more favorable to house hardened prisoners even as early as 1861.
De Lima, who expresses her disagreement told that she agrees on the construction of a maximum prison to secure “high risk” convicts but shuns on the idea of a supermax-style facility.
She was quoted saying, “I agree that there be a facility that will ensure that our prisoners, particularly the high-risk which includes drug convicts, are guardedly well.”
Citing the UN Standard Minimum Rules also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules under Rule No. 58 which states that “Prisoners shall be allowed, under necessary supervision, to communicate with their family and friends at regular intervals.”, the Senate Bill No. 1 would most likely ban the visitation of a love one.
De Lima further added that there were researches made that shows extreme isolation doesn’t restore the person, instead becomes “more hardened” and that there were up-to-date correctional systems being implemented, the reason why the US shake off from using Alcatraz prison.
“That is why the US no longer has Alcatraz,” she said.
Returning Senator Miguel Zubiri, who also expresses his intention to file a similar bill, saying earlier this month that he believed that the idea of being confined in a solitary unit would be much more horrifying than the death penalty.