GovGuam, Federal Justice Department Move To End 25-Year Prison Consent Decree

Local Department of Corrections has improved facilities, police for detainees, inmates

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 11, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Justice and the government of Guam on Tuesday filed a joint motion to end a 25-year-old  consent decree that required the Department of Corrections to improve its facilities and policies for detainees and inmates.

Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the justice department signed off on the joint motion.

“Guam’s compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement means inmates and detainees are more likely to be housed in cleaner and safer conditions, and that they will have adequate access to vital health care services,” said Shawn Anderson, acting U.S. Attorney, in a statement.

In 1987, the justice department investigated the local prison and wrote to then-Gov. Joseph Ada about its findings. The prison “violated the constitutional rights of persons either confined or residing therein,” court documents state. A settlement agreement was entered into in 1991, after the justice department sued Guam.

The prison needed to install fire alarm systems, sprinklers, remove flammable mattresses and implement electronic locking doors, according to the agreement. A pest-control program for cockroaches, rats, mice and other sanitary improvements and a plan for improved health care was part of the consent decree.

In 2015, Judge Alex Munson issued a timeline to develop a plan for the two remaining issues at the prison — improved medical, dental and mental health care and the electronic locking system.

In the joint motion filed Tuesday, the federal government stated Guam now meets national health care standards for prisons.

DOC and the Guam Memorial Hospital also have an agreement that allows the hospital to help provide health care at the prison.

The prison has awarded a vendor the job of installing the locking systems and security cameras, and the project is scheduled to be completed by December 2017, court documents state.

Pacific Daily News
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