DepCor detainees claim they're not being fed properly - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DepCor detainees claim they're not being fed properly

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 by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - As the saying goes, you are what you eat.  But several detainees at the Hagatna Federal Detention Facility allege what they're not eating is having a profound effect on their health - and as a result they've gone to federal court for justice to be served.

As the Department of Corrections prepares to provide updates to meet timelines to provide adequate mental and medical healthcare to inmates and detainees, District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco issued an order for all parties to be prepared to answer questions she plans to dish out on food and nutrition services. Her order follows complaints and requests for a status hearing from federal detainees being held at the Hagatna Detention Facility. Specifically, Justin Ken Taisipic, Rodney Ojeda Malaca, Vernon Saburo Dulei and Vincent Siguenza Cruz are requesting a hearing before the judge to address their health due to inadequate nutrition.

As a matter of fact, in a petition signed by nearly 30 detainees, they call the services provided by the Department of Corrections' vendor "deplorable and unacceptable".

The vendor, Li Qun Corporation, more commonly known as Basil Food Service, recently made headlines after delivering hundreds of spoiled meals to DOC weeks ago. This is also the same food vendor the Mayors Council of Guam has under contract to feed our islands man'amko in their senior citizens center. Recently the vendor served canned kidney beans, tuna, cut green beans and crackers to man'amko because, according to Public Health, the vendor was in danger of having its sanitary permit pulled for noncompliance.

The federal detainees allege the food they're being served violates the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.  According to court document the detainees allege the food lacks nutritional value and the minimal portion sizes has them dropping weight. For example in a span of four months one detainee lost 30 pounds, in three months another detainee dropped 27 pounds.

Additionally the detainees allege that inconsistency of the food being delivered on a timely fashion as well as the food being spoiled was not only on one occasion but several.

DepCor is scheduled to appear in federal court on March 3.
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