How intact is safety/security with DepCor's lock system? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

How intact is safety/security with DepCor's lock system?

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A manual lock-and-key system just isn't going to do it for the Department of Corrections when it comes to the safety and security of the public and the prisoners, as well. While today was the initial deadline for interested vendors to respond to a request for proposal for design build services for the agency's electronic lock system, director Jose San Agustin says it has since been extended.

"What had happened is two vendors requested for a 45-day extension," he confirmed. Since the RFP was open, interested vendors have participated in two pre-proposal walkthroughs of the Mangilao facility. "And the purpose of the walkthrough is they want to more define and actually see what the scope of work and what all the real details of what really needs to be done," he added. "So that's why it was important to give them that 45-day so that we make sure we allow them much time to do the project right."

The four interested vendors include G4S, Pro Pacific Builders Corporation, Dimension Systems. and JRN Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. Repairs to the electronic locking system are part of a District Court order that includes providing adequate health and mental care to inmates and detainees. "But the electronic locking is one of those that is an additional tool into ensuring that the individuals that are incarcerated are placed safely within individual cells," said San Agustin. "It's been not too practical that a manual key is no more practical."

He adds upgrades are needed as an electronic lock system is more suitable in the event there's a fire or a natural disaster. "Of the thirteen or fourteen housing units, they're supposed to all be electronic - some of them were fitted with electronic at one time, but apparently through the years it failed. We are focusing on four units and these are the four units identified by the Department of Justice," she said.

But does the current state of the prison's lock system pose any security threats to the inmates and possibly the public now? "There were at one time indicated to me by certain prisoners that they could actually open the cells without the key, but that has never been proven to me at all, so the only way they are able to do that is if they wedge the door. So that's why it's important that a more modern type of electronic system be in place so therefore we know whether the door is in fact fully locked or tinkered with," he added.

The Deadline for the RFP has been extended to June 5 with the awarding of the bid expected shortly thereafter. The DepCor Director says he expects the electronic lock system to be in place sometime next year.

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