Lawsuit details ‘inhumane’ conditions at DOC

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DOC cells continue to be overcrowded.

Yesterday we shared with you that eight federal inmates filed a declaration alleging inhumane living conditions at the Hagatna Detention Facility, today we take a closer look at what inmates and detainees are subjected to on a daily basis.

The declaration filed yesterday lists ten areas that constitute inhumane and unconstitutional treatment, according to Federal Public Defender John Gorman who represents the eight inmates and detainees in the cases before the District Court of Guam.

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First, highlighting the medical and mental health deficiencies facing those incarcerated, the declaration states that there are unsafe and unsanitary conditions for special needs inmates and that one inmate who has a colostomy bag is not provided the supplies necessary for the upkeep and sanitation.

Out of necessity, he is forced to drain, clean, and wash the contents of the colostomy bag in the common shower area.

Atty. Gorman also says that there is no emergency or call system for inmates to contact officers. This prevents them from immediately notifying officers of medical issues when they arise. This is further aggravated by the substandard and nonexistent medical care and remedy requests being ignored.

Gorman also says that inmates and detainees are provided an inadequate diet. This has created medical issues such as constipation and intense hunger pains even after eating. Gorman points out that because there is no commissary, those in custody are completely reliant on prison food for their nutritional needs.

Inhumane living conditions are also present, according to Gorman, who wrote in the declaration that 4 out of 16 cells lack a working toilet, 11 out of 16 cells lack a working faucet, and in 5 out of 16 cells, the shower room, and day room all lack working light fixtures, and the shower room only has one functioning shower.

Pointing out unsafe living conditions, Gorman says that there is no working intercom system in the cells for emergencies, the entire facility is plagued by poor ventilation and mold, and there is cockroach and rat infestation.

Contributing to the prison woes is a lack of manpower. Gorman says that there are only 155 corrections officers when the need is for 350 officers to adequately staff DOC.

He says the gross understaffing leads to unsafe, inhumane and unsanitary conditions as required exercise time, attorney/client consultations and phone calls, as well as visitation, are curtailed because of the shortages.

The declaration also highlights that inmates are being denied privileges, and remedy requests are being denied or altogether ignored. According to Gorman, as a result of their efforts to brings these unconstitutional and inhumane conditions to light, DOC management has retaliated against the detainees/inmates.

He added that there have been attempts by DOC to coerce the federal detainees and inmates to withdraw their motions.

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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.