Nearly 10,000 inmates freed
MANILA: Nearly 10,000 prison inmates have been released in the Philippines as the country races to halt coronavirus infections in its overcrowded jails, a Supreme Court official said Saturday. The move follows a directive to lower courts to release those awaiting trial in prison because they could not afford bail, Associate Supreme Court Justice Mario Victor Leonen told reporters. “The court is very much aware of the congested situation in our prisons,” Leonen told reporters as he announced the release of 9,731 inmates. COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported at some of the country’s most overcrowded jails, affecting both inmates as well as corrections personnel. Social distancing is all but impossible in the country’s prison system, where cells are sometimes filled to five times their capacity due to inadequate infrastructure and a slow-moving and overburdened judicial system.