Jail project molds PDLs to become bakers

BAKERY BEHIND BARS All six bread varieties prepared by persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the Roxas City Jail are sold out every day. (Ernie Olendo photo/PIA Capiz)

By: Alex Lumaque

Correctional breakthroughs have made prisons give opportunities to persons who went astray but are aiming to make amends.

For one, the newly opened “RCJ Bakeshop” project at the Roxas City Jail of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Barangay San Jose, Roxas City is part of the jail’s skills and livelihood training program.

It was conceptualized and pursued by Jail Chief Insp. Abner Zamora, RCJ warden, to instil in persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) the entrepreneurial mindset as a strategy to facilitate their smooth future integration into society in the future.

The “bakeshop behind bars” was realized thru the support of Technical Education and Skills and Development Authority, Mayhekz Culinary Arts and Restaurant Services Institute (MCARSI), and Saint Joseph Vocational Training Institute (SJVTI).

“This keeps us happy and gives inspiration,” said 29- year-old Joyce, who was among the 50 PDLs trained on Bread Making as well as Bread and Pastry Production last September in preparation for the bakeshop operation.

In 2018, some 25 PDLs were also trained on Bread and Pastry.

Botsoy, another inmate, shared the same reaction noting that he was happy that their bread products are patronized by their fellow PDLs and BJMP personnel, visitors and service providers at the jail.

At least six bread variants like Filipino bread roll (monay), pandesal, panso, and Spanish as well as ube rolls are produced daily, except during weekends, in the bakery.

SJO2 Ernie Olendo. RCJ Welfare and Development Jail Non-Officer, said the PDLs involved in the bakeshop are earning a little income from the project but above all is their reformation and how they changed for the better to earn a living in legal and just ways.

“They are all at the RCJ for illegal drugs – related cases,” he noted, referring to those involved in the project.

These PDLs also underwent a briefing on accounting and a seminar on entrepreneurship.

RCJ also produces products like refrigerator magnets, key chains, desk organizers, coin purses, coin banks, pen holders, paper maches, bonsai plants, lanterns and fabric and cement pots aside from table top flowers and orchids in driftwood out of recycled materials.

Soon, these renewed and reformed PDLs will leave the confines of the cold steel bars to show that jails are also a training ground for transformed and responsible citizens. (AAL/PIA Capiz)