‘Department of Corrections Modernization Act of 2021’ introduced

Department of Corrections (File photo)

Senator Joe S. San Agustin together with eight other Senators introduced bipartisan Bill 153-36 (COR) after meeting with the Department of Corrections Leadership: Director Joseph Carbullido, Deputy Director Robert Camacho, and Major Antone Aguon.

The “Department of Corrections Modernization Act of 2021,” allows for the construction of a new prison which will resolve the lack of rehabilitation programs, overcrowding, and personnel issues of the agency.

Bill 153-36 (COR) aligns with the department’s plan to construct a STATE-OF-THE-ART Correctional Facility. The bill together with DOC’s plan ensures that all federal standards such as the National Prison Standards and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards are met by the agency.

“The Department of Corrections has been pushed aside for decades. A new and modernized facility not only ensures adequate housing and services for inmates and detainees, it also builds on the safety of our island and our people,” stated Senator San Agustin. “It is our duty to ensure our people are provided for, whether they are liberated or not, it is simply just and right for the Department of Corrections to have a modernized infrastructure that upholds security of inmates and detainees, as well as rehabilitative services to equip them with life and work tools so they may thrive once they are reintegrated into the community,” concluded San Agustin.

DOC’s growing population of prisoners and detainees has outgrown the agency’s ability to safely house them. The housing units are outdated, dilapidated, and overpopulated. As the agency reached its capacity, rehabilitation of the prisoners has been affected due to the lack of facilities that will provide work, self-improvement, and rehabilitative programs to the prisoners. DOC has also been found to be in violation of inmates and detainees’ constitutional rights pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C §1997; the United States and the Government of Guam agreed to a Federal Consent Decree that the Government of Guam will improve living conditions of the prisoners and detainees. DOC has been working to ensure their compliance with the Federal Consent Decree, which the bill addresses. Bill 153-36 (COR) further addresses the overall issues of the agency with a new and modernized infrastructure.

Bill 153-36 (COR) is the second bill introduced by Senator San Agustin to provide the people of Guam with new and improved facilities and services. In April 2021, Senator San Agustin together with Vice Speaker Muña Barnes introduced Bill 121-36 (COR) The Twenty-First Century Healthcare Center of Excellence, which provides a new healthcare campus for GMHA, DPHSS, and GBHWC.

(Senator Joe S. San Agustin Release)