Court Monitor Bradley Klemm says despite a growing prison population, the number of corrections officers is on the decline.
Guam – There’s a severe shortage of corrections officers at the Mangilao prison compound and Court Monitor Attorney Bradley Klemm is not happy about it.
During a recent trip down there, Klemm says he was dismayed to learn that one of the units where level one offenders are being kept is only being monitored by one corrections officer.
Klemm, in court papers, says he felt obligated to write a report on his most recent visit to the prison compound and turn it over to the District Court of Guam, which has a 20 year old stipulated order on the Department of Corrections. Klemm says he filed the report because of what he recently discovered.
In one of the units, Post 17, Klemm says “I noticed that there was only one security guard for the entire facility.” Post 17 houses up to 60 inmates, which include level 1 offenders, such as murderers.
Klemm also notes that despite an increasing prison population, the number of corrections officers has remained the same. For instance, in 2011 there were approximately 585 inmates staying in 14 housing units. At the time there were about 192 corrections officers.
Today the number of inmates has increased by nearly 200 with now 780 inmates staying in 18 housing units. But the number of corrections officers has not increased. In fact it’s gone down to now just 190 officers.
“Apparently,” Klemm says, “the number of security officers has not kept up with the growth at the facility for the number of inmates and detainees.”
What makes things worse, Klemm points out, is as much as 13 corrections officers have been removed from their regular job duties so that they could work on construction for the upcoming Festival of Pacific Arts in Paseo.
Klemm says it is his opinion that “there is a shortage of security guards at the present time at the Department of Corrections, Mangilao Facility and that this problem is aggravated by certain officers leaving the facility and going to work for the Government at Fest Pac.”
Klemm also obtained letters from Commanding Officer Mae Quitugua dated February 15, 17 and 18, in which she lists the names of 13 corrections officers who have been assigned to work on Fest Pac construction.
“FESTPAC shall be supported by the … officers 7 days a week until completion of FESTPAC and the officers are cleared to return to platoon duties via the appointing authority’s directive,” the letter states. “Duty officers are to support … and adjust duty rosters if necessary to ensure mandated requirements are being met.”
DOC Spokesperson Capt. Jeff Limo says the memorandums have been updated since February and there are now only 10 officers working at FestPac. He also says they only work 5 days a week and not 7 days a week.
Limo says that even with 10 officers on FestPac duties the department is continuing to maintain civility of operations.
A plan of action was taken prior to the officers being assigned to FestPac, he says, and that includes using auxiliary support, such as internal affairs and transport, to fill the duties of the FestPac officers.