"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, April 24, 2006

Concentrate on Prison Reforms

“A blanket commutation of the death penalty without a repeal of the death penalty law by Congress thwarts legislative policy and is an affront to justice, law, and order,” said Senator Richard J. Gordon. “It disturbs the balance of powers and unduly weakens coequal branches, while inordinately strengthening the Executive,” he added.

“It also affects the legitimate exercise of the Judiciary to deliver justice according to law and constitutes an intrusion on the separation of powers,” stated Gordon. He said that commutation of the death penalty should be done on an individual basis based on a specific rationale with fully justifiable grounds for each particular case.

“Before the President can be merciful, she must be just,” added Gordon.

“Rather than question the wisdom of the death penalty, the President must implement the law, give due respect to Congress and the Supreme Court, and focus on harmoniously promoting justice, law, and order,” said Gordon.

Gordon also called the President to concentrate on prison reforms. “We must focus on legislative measures that call for stricter accountability and promote better productivity.” He cited his Senate Bill No. 1953 or the proposed act to rehabilitate and reform prisoners through prison work and allow the productive engagement of qualified prisoners in reforestation, infrastructure and government projects.

The salient provisions of Gordon’s bill include voluntary prison work, compulsory prison work, secure work program for work outside the prison proper in reforestation, infrastructure, and government projects, the establishment of reforestation camps, and compensation and time allowance for prison work.

“A person who is committed to prison must lead a productive life and not be a burden to the State while in the process of rehabilitation and reformation into a law-abiding and responsible citizen. Prison work, which is the rehabilitation of a prisoner through work, aims to promote discipline and enhance the prisoner’s self-respect, self-confidence, personal dignity and sense of responsibility by allowing the prisoner to pay for his or her own keep while serving time in prison,” explained Gordon.

“With prison work, taxpayers will not be unduly obligated to pay for the maintenance of prisoners. While less public funds will be required to spend for prisoners, more resources will be made available for other productive uses of the government,” according to Gordon.