Federal Official Tours Guam’s Correctional Facilities

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Bureau of Prisons to help improve facilities, procedures

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 23, 2015) – The director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is on island this week for a series of meetings with Guam's leaders about the island's correctional facility's handling of federal detainees.

Yesterday morning, the Guam Department of Corrections gave Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels a tour of four facilities that house federal detainees, said DOC Deputy Director Carla Borja.

The tour also included representatives from the Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Lieutenant Governor and federal stakeholders, such as the U.S. Attorney's office, federal public defender, District Court of Guam and U.S. marshals.

Borja said the tour also included representatives from the National Institute of Corrections, which has been guiding the agency about potential improvements at the facilities.

The department gave a tour of the Hagåtña Detention Facility as well as the women's facility in Mangilao, and two other housing units for federal detainees.

Samuels' primary interest, Borja said, is in the processes Guam uses for federal detainees.

She also said they toured the prison's new clinic, which stakeholders appeared content with.Because Guam doesn't have a federal prison, inmates sentenced for federal crimes must be transported off island to a mainland facility. Borja said federal stakeholders are looking at the processes involved in moving federal inmates and how long it takes to have them moved to the mainland.

Yesterday's tour is just the start of a series of meetings and forums with Samuels and the National Institute of Corrections.

Borja said Samuels would be meeting with the executive branch in a closed-door meeting and, for the rest of the week, would be meeting with individual stakeholders.

Last week, she said, the department met with the National Institute of Corrections, which has been providing guidance as to how the agency can improve its facilities.

The department has been involved in a federal lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice for more than 20 years over a lack of services and facility maintenance at the department.

The department has spent the last several months working toward a finish line in the case, improving medical and mental-ealth services at the prison.

Earlier this month, prison leaders asked senators for an extra $5 million at their annual budget hearing to pay for improvements related to the lawsuit. Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz, D-Piti, postponed the hearing to today and asked the agency to determine where the extra $5 million was going to come from.

About 20 percent of the $5 million is intended to pay for pharmaceutical services for inmates, which are provided by Guam Memorial Hospital. The rest of the money will go toward other services mandated by the settlement agreement, such as mental-health care and dental services.

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