Federal report critical of DepCor's care for inmates - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Federal report critical of DepCor's care for inmates

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The US Department of Justice has filed a scathing report with the District Court involving the Department of Corrections, specifically related to mental and medical care for inmates that they assert is severely lacking. It was on May 6th court monitor Attorney Bradley Klemm filed his status report with the federal court outlining the problems with Department of Corrections Medical Unit. DepCor and the US Department of Justice signed off on a consent decree in 1991 which mandated DepCor make several improvements.

Following Klemm's May 6th report the Justice Department today filed its response stating that it "documents a crisis of inadequate medical and mental health care in the department of corrections'   the lack of an onsite mental health care services, the discovery of active tuberculosis and dozens of related exposures last month are "simply the most recent illustrations of the territory's consistent failure to comply'

The feds note that the government has been aware of its deficient health care practices since at least September of 2009 when DOC's medical records were evaluated. That evaluation determined numerous deficiencies such as a lack of policies and procedures or outdated policies that provided no detail and no direction for staff, inadequate intake screening of detainees, no evidence of comprehensive health assessment s for inmates upon incarceration and the list goes on.

The feds site how they've been striving to work with GovGuam to bring it into compliance with the settlement agreement, but "instead it appears that the territory continues to operate in a reactive mode, perpetually responding to the latest crisis rather than following any plan calculated to provide access to care for doc inmates.

The Justice Department is requesting the judge require the government to produce and adopt a written plan outlining DOC's medical, dental and mental health care needs and objectives and commit to a process and timeline in which to achieve them.

Currently the DOC medical staff consists of Dr. Raja Saad and two registered nurses.  DOC did have a psychologist on board but the physician's services ended in February. According to Klemm's report there have been three inmate suicides in the past year and six attempts in the past two months.

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