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Tenorio comments on troubles at prison

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - With a recent stabbing and maximum security inmates testing positive for drugs, we now hear from Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio who oversees the island's public safety agencies and recently formed a special task force to review the policies that are in place at the Department of Corrections.

A recent altercation between two maximum security inmates and the fact that they tested positive for drugs is all the more reason why the Lt. Governor's Task Force to look into issues at the department of corrections is necessary. "The policy review committee that we set up some months ago are still going through the process of looking at the policies within the Department of Corrections and it starts within the executive orders," he said.

The Special Housing Unit is home to the most violent criminals in DepCor's Mangilao compound. DOC is investigating how Frank Pangelinan - who is in for murder - was able to stab Eugene Lane, who is serving time for robbery. As we reported the two are housed on two separate floors and shouldn't have been able to interact with one another. Adding more heat to fire is the fact that they both tested positive for marijuana. "How are drugs getting into the institution this is not just the Department of Corrections every correctional institution has this problem they also have the same problem with weapons manufactured or discovered because we are humans we're apt to make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes means people get injured," he said.

The lieutenant governor questions whether the stabbing is a result of the policies in place or a byproduct of the overcrowding at the facility. "The more populated a house gets the more there are going to be tensions anxieties stress and we can't afford not only to expose the prisoners and the officers assigned there to such high emotion because the more people that are in there it's just going to be a keg ready to blow," he said.

The lt. governor believes its time for a new prison to be constructed and calls on the legislature to take action on legislation before them. He also says doc is need of additional officers, which he confirms hiring is well underway. "We are also looking of course to hire more correctional officers as the governor has indicated in his state of the island we are going to be increasing the number of officers. Forty one total correctional officers are going to be hired eleven have received their polygraph exam up to this point," he said.

He says that the rest are still waiting to undergo a background investigation and psychological evaluation. He adds they are looking at this in a holistic approach not just in addressing policies, need for officers and need for facility but the entire operation. We should add the officers who were assigned to the SHU during the stabbing have all since been reassigned.
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