DOC working to fill staff shortage

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According to an anonymous letter, DOC Director Samantha Brennan "has no trust in any of the employees of this Department other than a certain few who are advising her."

Following an extensive oversight hearing, the Department of Corrections is working to rectify its manpower shortage, which has contributed to various issues at the agency such as faulty releases, overworked corrections officers, and prisoner assaults on corrections officers.

This year, the Department of Corrections has experienced 4 erroneous releases, 15 resignations from corrections officers, prisoner assaults on officers, and the escape of two inmates from a halfway house the same night that an oversight hearing was being held for the agency.

With only 164 COs in service, DOC Director Samantha Brennan, Major Antone Aguon and Warden Alan Borja attribute these issues to a lack of officers.

“To run our prison using a National Institute of Prisons formula I would need about 320 officers to run my facility the way the SOP mandates,” Aguon said.

“If we are going to adequately function on a daily basis we need about 70 officers this is just units for the posts…it lessens in the evening shift,” DOC warden Alan Borja said.

And while DOC is hoping to hire 35 additional officers this fiscal year, the shortage has resulted in visitation being canceled, galley detail cut out, and current officers being overly worked.

But Brennan says that new officers can be integrated more quickly into the system if elements in the hiring process are expedited such as background checks, polygraph testing, and psych evaluations.

While it was mentioned that the issues facing DOC could lead back to federal receivership, or a state of emergency declaration, Committee on Public Safety Chairwoman Telena Nelson says she is closely monitoring the department’s operations.

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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.