DOC rejects federal public defender’s claims; says all pandemic guidelines were followed

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Department of Corrections (PNC file photo)

The Department of Corrections has rejected claims from federal public defender John Gorman who has accused DOC of a lack transparency when it comes to COVID-19.

DOC released a statement today, saying they have followed Public Health’s protocols and recommended procedures in dealing with the pandemic.

Gorman sent a letter to District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on July 9th.

The letter raised concerns over DOC’s precautions and procedures pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also accused the department of unnecessarily causing anxiety amongst the prison population.

“This complete lack of transparency on such an important health issue has unnecessarily raised everyone’s anxiety levels,” he stated in the letter. “We also remain very concerned that our clients say they have never been tested despite exposure to the infected officer.”

According to Gorman, prisoners were not informed about the DOC officer and recruit who tested positive for coronavirus, and instead, they found out through media reports. He also raised concern over no COVID testing being provided to inmates or detainees at the prison’s two facilities.

DOC, in its statement today, said although no tests have been performed on the prison population, that is being planned.

“DOC has and continues to work with DPHSS and are working on plans to test all inmates detainees and employees. DOC is confident in its stringent policies and procedures and continues to be vigilant on the fight against COVID-19,” stated the release.

With regard to the two positive cases, DOC Major Antone Aguon stated that Public Health conducted contact tracing and the employees who were tested all came back negative for the virus. Those officers went through the quarantine period and were cleared by Public Health to return to work.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.