Guam – The Department of Corrections is not denying there’s an overcrowding issue at its prison, particularly within its female housing unit, and that many of DOC’s prisoners eat their meals inside their cells next to the toilet.
This matter has all come to light after an assault took place there last week following an assault on female prisoner Katlyn Breanne Scully.
Her legal counsel, Attorney Curtis Van De Veld was granted an urgent hearing to discuss the safety of his client. Scully was attacked at the female detention unit at the DOC last Friday.
At the hearing this morning, Van De Veld says he was informed that measures were taken to separate Scully from the alleged attacker, Innocencia Nemeisa, who has been in and out of prison on burglary and assault charges.
“[U.S. Marshal] Marcel Punzalan indicated that DOC had moved the person who assaulted my client to a separate cell area in a different wing, indicating somehow that that was the intended remedy, however he did not completely advise what his report, which I later obtained, that that is only a temporary measure and that it won’t be long term,” Van De Veld told PNC.
According to Van De Veld, Scully was submitting information into the phone log which was located next to Nemeisa’s jail cell. The phone log is where prisoners are required to log down their request to make phone calls.
As Scully was jotting down her phone log, Nemeisa allegedly reached through the bars of her jail cell, grabbed Scully’s hair and then attempted to knee her in the face. Van De Veld says a corrections officer nearby failed to immediately stop the attack.
“Basically she stood there and told the one lady to release her hair but didn’t do anything and that went on for about five minutes,” noted Van De Veld.
The Special Operations Response Team or SORT was later called to assist.
“Now why they put the log in front of the cell of somebody who has been known to have disruptive and potentially violent behavior, there’s no answer about that,” said Van De Veld.
DOC Director Tony Lamorena corroborated most of what Van De Veld shared with PNC and noted that DOC has launched an internal affairs investigation into the assault. Part of that investigation will include finding out why Nemeisa was placed in the cell next to the phone log despite her history of violent behavior.
Lamorena is, however, denying claims that an attempt was made to prevent Scully from contacting her attorney or reporting the crime.
Meanwhile, Lamorena acknowledges that there are certainly improvements they can make, especially in addressing overcrowding. Van De Veld told us that in some instances, cells are so packed that inmates are forced to eat their dinner next to the toilet inside their cells. In response, Lamorena said all cells have toilets and “where they want to eat is up to them, they can eat by their bed if they want.”
Although DOC has a dining area in the female housing unit, only certain prisoners can use it depending on their classification which is separated by level of crime and temperament.
Another hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 2:30 pm inside U.S. Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan’s courtroom.