Former inmate details ‘inhumane’ conditions at DOC

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DOC adjusted its operations to ensure the risk of infection does not make its way into the Mangilao and Hagatna facilities which house a total of 650 inmates and detainees.

Alleged inhumane and living conditions at the Department of Corrections Hagatna Detention Facility have been thrust into the spotlight as a result of a complaint filed by federal inmates in the District Court of Guam.

Those conditions, however, are also present at the prison’s main facility in Mangilao.

PNC shares the account of a former inmate who spent over a year in the main prison.

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PNC spoke with a former inmate who wishes to remain anonymous but says that he was incarcerated for 18 months in the dome housing unit which he says was packed like a can of sardines with 45 inmates and detainees.

He attests to the conditions being inhumane and unconstitutional, sharing with PNC that he spent his time at DOC without any treatment for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

“They denied me because I didn’t have proper documents stating that I am ADHD and I couldn’t get ahold of anybody outside DOC to let them know that I do need these medications,” the former inmate said.

He says that while he tried to be seen by the DOC medical unit, he was denied and was told DOC couldn’t do anything about it.

“I think I needed special medical treatment but I couldn’t get it because of the paper I was lacking. Also, they said they didn’t have the right, proper doctors to have me treated,” the former inmate said.

Inadequate medical treatment is not the only issue they were faced with. The former inmate said inmates and detainees were not fed adequately, too.

“The portions for the food is like for like something you would give a kindergartener. Yeah, cuz me myself I worked in kitchens and I know the right portion for it. And the portions they gave us was like way too little,” the former inmate said.

The only option he found was to skip a meal so he could eat better later. But mealtime isn’t the only area he says they were skimped out on. He says privileges such as recreational time and visitation were taken away as punishment for those incarcerated.

“If like the other posts get in trouble, they’ll just lock down the whole compound even if the incident is not related to any of the other posts,” the former inmate said.

He added: “That happened multiple times. If the other inmates get into trouble in the other side, we get in trouble here like we are on lockdown. It didn’t make sense to everybody else, but that’s what happens.”

He also attested to the mold build-up in the shower facilities which was pointed out in the declaration filed in federal court. However, he doesn’t place the entire blame on DOC, saying its also the inmates’ responsibility.

The former inmate says that expanding the island’s prison would be a step in the right direction towards resolving some of the inhumane living conditions but much more needs to be done.

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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.