More accusations of poor conditions at the Department of Corrections were brought to light Tuesday morning as a K57 caller airing concerns prompted DOC’s director to explain the situation.
Early this morning, an anonymous caller spoke out on K57’s Patti Arroyo claiming that she received a tip from a person incarcerated at the Department of Corrections, complaining that the living conditions at the prison compound are substandard.
“I got a tip from somebody in there that there is no washer that is working, no fan, no air-conditioning, inmates have to wash by hand, it’s on 23 hours lockdown and just 1 hour of sunlight,” the caller who requested anonymity said.
The caller also said that inmates and detainees are not able to receive incoming personal hygiene products.
“Now, incoming has been postponed for the longest time and they never lifted it. I’m just calling to see if there is anybody any Senator who can help with DOC because they all need help up there,” the anonymous caller said.
DOC Deputy Director Robert Camacho responded to the allegations. He, too, called into K57 this morning confirming some of the anonymous caller’s claims.
“Initially, we had some problems with the air conditioning. At times, the power surges and have to reset and it takes a while to kick back to a cooling stage. We do have federal funding for the replacement of the aircons … so that is being worked on right now to replace the entire thing,” Camacho said.
Camacho said that because the facility is old, they are working on addressing all the issues. He says they also had problems with the water at the Mangilao facility and they managed to find a water leak and made the necessary repairs.
“As far as the washing machine is concerned, we did have it for procurement and it took several months. But then the vendor came back and said that they couldn’t provide it. We waited almost three months for it to come in and then it was canceled,” Camacho said.
Camacho said they had to re-bid and DOC is now working with another vendor. He stated that DOC has working washers. However, some 600 inmates and detainees utilize the appliances so the longevity of the appliances is reduced as some prisoners don’t handle the appliances with care. The department is now looking at plans for creating a centralized laundry area.
As for the 23-hour lockdown and 1-hour free outdoors time, Camacho says that is the standard for maximum security inmates but for the rest of the population, that is not the case.
This is not the first time claims of this nature regarding the conditions at DOC have been aired, PNC has received tips from inmates and detainees since the beginning of the pandemic. The main complaint — not enough cleaning supplies being provided to the units.
According to the anonymous inmate, with the suspension of incoming packages, cleaning supplies and hygiene products once provided by family members have run low, indicating that pre-COVID it was family members who maintained an adequate supply.