Former corrections officer talks climate of corruption at DepCor - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Former corrections officer talks climate of corruption at DepCor

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - It was a week ago today that a former Department of Corrections officer appeared before senators testifying about a climate of corruption. KUAM News sat down with this same officer to hear what he has to say.

Former officer Eric Santos was terminated from DOC for multiple infractions. His case is on appeal at the Civil Service Commission; despite this he maintains there's a climate of corruption inside the prison's perimeter. "My main goal is just to you know just have a clean and correct staffing and management that can actually make it feel welcoming to work with them."

Santos says he's come forward because he wants to be a voice for officers still working at DepCor who he believes are being harassed and manipulated. He alleges there's corruption inside DOC from conduct unbecoming of officers, bribes of inmates to inconsistencies in managerial action and allegations of  bias internal affairs investigations.  "From an employee's stand point who has been harassed from the start of my employment and mistreated and a lot of cases that are dealt with and are handpicked by the director and internal affairs. You have a lot of officers that have many infractions severe infractions as far as action needing to be taken and those were never entertained. There's even incidences of supervisors whose conducts were unbecoming and that was brought to the director as well and those things were not entertained," he said.

"If you look at Civil Service right now I think DOC has many cases of people appealing against them because of the director's decision and also the internal investigation how they conduct their investigation," he said.

Santos says his attempts to reach out to DepCor's Internal Affairs Unit was brushed off and swept under the rug and because of this he chose to submit photos and documents to the Guam Legislature. One of those pictures as we reported was of a DOC officer smoking inside the prison which is prohibited. "A lot of the corruption in the prison is mainly from the officers and whether its bringing in the stuff or not it's how they treat people and actions not taken to certain individuals and these things have been happening for years and years," he said.

KUAM meanwhile also received photos from an anonymous source, pictures of a DOC officer sitting in a chair next to an inmate sitting on the floor holding a cell phone, the DOC officer was sleeping. And then there's the videos we submitted to DOC of an inmate giving a foot massage to an officer. Another video of doc officers getting in some band practice inside the DOC chapel.

All these instances remain under investigation.

Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio who oversees the island's public safety agencies  applauds DOC director Jose San Agustin for taking full responsibility of recent events and says that if an officer does anything inappropriate they will be held accountable.  "If there's a climate of corruption, I'd like to know because the reality is director San Agustin is trusted up there, if he feels there's a climate of corruption, he should be the first to know and he should let me know we've been meeting for three years and there's no such indication I'd look at the circumstances and the reputation of the person making the comments but that in itself doesn't dismiss the possibility that what they're saying may have a merit," he said.

Tenorio encourages DepCor officers to say something if they see something wrong, adding that you cannot fix what you do not know is broken. 

KUAM News contacted Department of Corrections for their reaction to the accusations being made however according to spokesperson Jeff Limo they are unable to make a comment due to the ongoing Civil Service case involving DOC and Santos.

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