DAVAO, Philippines, Nov 24 , 2010 (IPS) - "I was shocked when I saw them," says 18-year-old detainee Chona (not her real name) of the first time she saw the duplex-style bungalows painted in pastel colours that make up her ‘home’.
There are windows to let sunlight into the bungalows and a veranda where the women residents can chat with each other while watering the plants. Others sit in the shaded part of the garden crocheting or sewing.
Here in the Davao City Female Jail in the southern Philippines, called the Ray of Hope Village, there are no cells.
"This is even nicer than my own home," explains Chona, who has been charged with possession of illegal drugs and has been in the jail for more than eight months. She is one of the 131 women detainees awaiting sentencing, a process that can take years in the Philippines’ slow justice system.