Can an inmate hold a job as a trainer? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Can an inmate hold a job as a trainer?

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Some major concern has been raised about an instructor for the Guam Office of Homeland Security's Community Emergency Response Team Training event. And it seems several of those attending the course are not too comfortable with this instructor being an inmate with the Department of Corrections.

"Mr. Laguana is a Department of Corrections inmate," noted Chuck Ada, administrator of the Guam Office of Civil Defense.  "But through his good time and I guess other initiatives with DOC, he was allowed to participate in the Department of Labor/AHRD program."

A complaint about inmate Laguana was made to the Department of Education superintendent. A teacher attending the cert training at homeland security has major concerns about Laguana being one of the instructors for the training. However, Guam Police Department Sergeant James Buccat, CERT's main instructor, says he did brief the class about Laguana's situation.  "What is explained was that when we look at what we're doing here, we're preparing the community for a disaster or a catastrophic event. This person, this co-instructor that I have here is actually going to be in the community, probably in the next several months. He is an employee with Guam Homeland security, he earns a paycheck just like everybody else," he explained.

DepCor Director J.B. Palacios also defends Laguana working at his federal job, saying, "He can apply for outside employment as he prepares to go back to the community, part of the halfway house rehabilitation process."   The director added, "The Department of Corrections doesn't play any part in that nor does it influence it, other than the individual that's part of their transition into the community."

Laguana has actually been employed with homeland for the past six months. Despite the complaint and concerns, Ada wants to ensure the community that Laguana not only took the proper steps to become an employee, but also has all the certifications to be an instructor.  "I can see some of the concerns with people and their prior back ground but I have full faith with DOC and their rehabilitation programs and not being the judge, these individuals are given their time by a judge and its our responsibility as government officials that they'll be able to integrate back into society," he explained.

For the time being, DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood was not available to comment on the complaint.

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