National Correctional Consciousness Week (NaCoCoW) is now on its 22nd year. This event draws interest from the residents and personnel alike, such that everybody in a jail unit awaits its annual celebration. This event likewise seeks to provide leeway, more on the part of the residents, as it encourages cooperation, genuflection, awareness of relevant legal matters, and other rehabilitative endeavor the Bureau has for them.
But even long before the week-long celebration of the NaCoCoW, Catarman District Jail has already undertaken activities sought to address the need for recreation among and between personnel and residents. It somehow temporarily unloads the burden of personnel resulting from heavy workloads, and provides enjoyment and temporary "freedom from within" on the part of the residents.
The initial steps this jail unit had initiated were, among others, to access government-related personalities that would significantly illuminate the residents of their respective roles, rights and privileges while behind bars, to seek assistance of whatever nature and of whatever form from benevolent individuals tending to improve the two-pronged ideals of safekeeping and development, and to foster camaraderie among inmates and personnel without necessarily sacrificing the caveat of familiarity.
Basketball has been observed to be the most shared interest in this jail unit, thus prompting the Jail Warden, SJO3 Arnel M Odtujan, to initiate actions that would realize the clamor of the personnel and the residents to hold an indoor 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament that would be participated by all those who may want to join. Linkages were immediately resorted to and two (2) sets of basketball jerseys were acquired not too much longer than a snap of fingers, which jerseys were distributed thereafter.
On the 23rd of October, NaCoCoW celebration was formally launched with Atty. Risty Tuballas Adarayan of DepEd Northern Samar Legal Division as the Resource Speaker. The lawyer discussed the Different Modes of Early and Legal Releases. He also conducted free legal consultation among inmates as part of the pro bono service required of every lawyer.
SSS Alkansiya Program aimed at encouraging the residents to save and invest money for their eventual release, was likewise introduced by the Social Security System (SSS) through its Junior Analyst, Mr. Jefrey D. Durango, on the 24th of October.
On the 25th of October, another personality from the field of academe shared his thoughts on the importance of education and how it works without restrictions. Education, as an unending process, does not look upon detention as a means that would put a bar to the process. Mr. Perry Lebeco of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) inspired the residents with his hopeful words, thereby providing an avenue for the residents to complete their education, albeit informal and alternative in nature.
SJO1 Samuel O Irinco Jr, Assistant Jail Warden of this jail unit, on the 26th of October, took the opportunity to render lectures on the rights and privileges of the residents pursuant to the BJMP Operations Manual. This is aimed at enlightening the residents of what they are entitled to, what they may demand as a matter of right, and what the jail authorities may curtail, if not revoke, on account of breach of policies.
On the same day, Public Attorney's Office (PAO) lawyers rendered legal counseling, updates of cases of inmates under their recognizance, and open forum to inmates. Atty. Charlie Quinones, Chief of PAO 1st District of Northern Samar, together with Atty. Nadine Dolon, Atty. Giselle Tobes, and Atty. Arlene Lucero exerted diligent efforts to contribute their part on the NaCoCoW Celebration.
Also on the same day, JO1 Ever Jane A Zaide, the unit's Inmates' Welfare and Development Officer (IWDO) and Unit Nurse had her turn in expounding matters related to the pernicious effects of illegal drugs. This information drive is significant to all inmates who, either those who may have been involved or no involvement at all, wish to get away with the dreadful substance.
Spearheaded by Mr. Jonathan Baldo, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) of Catarman, Northern Samar, on the 27th of October, shared their part by conducting First Aid and Disaster Management Awareness coupled with dry-run and actual demonstration of various life-saving measures. Bedding and other hygienic kits were distributed to the inmates thereafter.
Also on the 27th of October, the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), through Ms. Ziphura Pinote, does not want to be left behind and imparted much as regards the value of shared socio-civic efforts between the government and its stakeholders to uphold the importance of social development. The diligent employee endeavored to share what she is mandated to by enlightening the residents of how and for what purpose the office was created with relevance to the development of those who may be under its look out. A heart-to-heart dialogue was subsequently undertaken by Ms. Pinote which dialogue sank into the hearts and minds of the residents.
Each of the daily activities is reinforced with several parlor games, either before or after every engagement of the invited guests, as an additional motivation and to increase the spirit of cooperation.
Every beginning carries with it an end, as it is when there is launching, there is culmination. At last, the week-long, fun-filled and fiery activity, so to speak, has now come to adjourn…at least for this year. But this will never alter the fact that as long as the Bureau exists and continues to endeavor almost all reformative actions in furtherance of its avowed tasks, NaCoCoW will always be worth the wait.
At this juncture, the highest point of the celebration is marked with jubilation. To compensate every resident of their victory resultant of their cooperation, the personnel of this unit have instinctively implore almost from every individual and from among themselves all available resources sought to compensate the active participation of the residents: from parlor games, to basketball game, and to other relevant activities
The culminating activity is attended to by the key players: the residents and the personnel of this unit. An apparent evidence of oneness and unity, brotherhood and camaraderie, sense of belongingness and cooperation, without necessarily deviating from the basic tenets of security and safety and all in unison with the Bureau's thrust of safekeeping and development.
These painstaking efforts to maintain orderly condition among everyone inside the jail facility is one beyond chemistry; and not all is capable of undertaking the same. It takes the entirety of personnel who instill discipline and share common purpose to advance collective interest coupled with residents whose cooperation and willingness to abide by the policies to pursue a harmonious environment conducive to rehabilitation is constant and consistent.
And this is the epitome of a jail unit Catarman District Jail wishes to uphold.