Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm, Occidental Mindoro (Sablayan PPF-PIO Facebook)

MANILA – Department of Justice (DOJ) and prison officials are finalizing the design of a 2,500-bed penal facility that will serve as a super maximum jail in Occidental Mindoro province.

The prison is planned for construction this year in Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro, where the minimum-security compound Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm was opened in 1954.

"We met for the presentation of the design of the Sablayan maximum supermax facility. It’s a preliminary presentation. We are finalizing the design," DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told the media Tuesday after a meeting with Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang Jr.

The country's largest penitentiary, the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, has long been eyed for reforms due to overpopulation, currently hosting 29,000 inmates for a facility designed for only 6,000 persons deprived of liberty.

After four years of construction, NBP started operations in 1940 after prisoners from the “Old Bilibid”, which later became the Manila City Jail, were transferred to the then-unpopulated area south of Metro Manila.

Remulla first bared the plan in November last year.

He said they hope to complete the facility within 18 months once construction begins, saying they already have an agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Meanwhile, the DOJ said 3,476 inmates were released from June 30 to Dec. 22 last year.

Of the total, 1,840 were released following the expiration of their maximum sentence; 1,030 were released on parole; 532 were due to acquittals; and the rest were on probation or by other modes, including modified sentences.

A total of 1,063 were aged 30 to 39 years; 1,033 were aged 40 to 49; and seven were between 80 and 89.

The NBP accounted for 1,608 of the released inmates. (PNA)