Honofre Chargualaf has spent 25 years and six months in prisons and detention centers across the United States. He also spent some of that time at the Department of Corrections. in this exclusive interview he provides a first-hand look at how DOC stacks up to prisons in the mainland.
Incarcerated in 1996, Honofre Chargualaf has spent half his life in a prison setting. Upon conviction, he spent about a year and a half at the Department of Corrections before he was transferred to a Bureau of Prisons facility in the mainland. He even spent about five months last year at the Hagatna Detention Facility.
So how does DOC stack up? Chargualaf says DOC could be better.
“In terms of being home on the island and being close to family that’s a plus. The food is not so healthy as far as portions. Just from what I gather and what I know with my experience in the Bureau of Prisons, there is misappropriation of federal funds that go to that facility in terms of the BOP section,” Chargualaf said.
He added: “I don’t know what’s happening there. You know, it’s beyond me but that’s what happens when there is lack of oversight. You know, I mean everything just vanishes in thin air.”
Chargualaf was held at the Hagatna Detention Facility last year from April until about August. He spent his time in the federal detention and says DOC’s spending of federal dollars is questionable.
“That’s about $10,000 by me just being there at that facility that the BOP, you know, appropriates to them. I didn’t see a thousand dollars worth of food or hygiene items while I was there. There is just mismanagement of funding going there,” Chargualaf said.
He says being incarcerated at the DOC Mangilao Compound in 1996 and shares that when he returned last year, he didn’t see any improvements, even after 25 years.
“There’s a consistent pattern there. There hasn’t been any improvements when there should have been. There needs to be some changes within the DOC because what’s going on down there, it’s left up to DOC to manage those places. But the US Marshals need to step it up and do their job,” Chargualaf said.
He believes an oversight committee should be formed to keep checks and balances. After over 25 years, Chargualaf said DOC should be up to speed with mainland prisons, pointing out that Guam inmates and detainees don’t have access to legal resources other than their attorney.
“Here in the United States we have a computer system called Core Links where we can do legal research online. Guam doesn’t have it….they’re supposed to have it. They should be equipped with all of that,” Chargualaf said.
He also points out that like the US prison system, Guam has fallen victim to overcrowding. He says that while in the custody of DOC, he saw many individuals of Micronesian descent who he believes could be sent back to their home countries and in turn redirect the funding spent on them to educational initiatives for inmates.