Good call on hiring at DOC, GPD should also take priority

PRISON: The Adult Correctional Facility in Mangilao is shown Sept. 27. On Monday, the governor's office announced the expedited hiring of 40 to 60 new personnel at the Department of Corrections. Post file photo

The Department of Corrections has placed its warden and at least four corrections officers on administrative leave with pay in the midst of an investigation into the escape of two inmates who were being held in the prison’s halfway house.

The Guam Daily Post has confirmed that the warden, Alan Borja, and four of the officers will be on leave for 20 days. The officers involved include the one who worked in the halfway house the night of the escape and those who picked up the inmates when they self-surrendered Thursday morning.

DOC Director Samantha Brennan has not responded to a request for comment on the decision to place the officers on leave.

The Guam Police Department is leading the escape investigation. Brennan previously said those responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

On Wednesday, inmates Johnnie Del Rosario, 44, and Johnny Atalig, 44, escaped from the Mangilao prison. Both surrendered to authorities the following day after nearly 12 hours of being out in the community.

The pair were charged with felony escape and are being held in DOC’s maximum security unit.

According to court documents, both were trustees who had special prison privileges, including not being housed in a cell most of the day and being allowed to walk around while wearing civilian clothing.

Court documents state the two had gone to the residence of Del Rosario’s girlfriend during their overnight escape.

The men will be back in court on Oct. 21.

Del Rosario was being held for 2009 theft of property and 2010 second-degree robbery convictions.

He had escaped twice before from the prison – in 1993 and 1998 – when he was being held for separate cases.

Atalig was being held on a 2014 burglary conviction.

The prisoners escaped within hours after a legislative hearing that questioned security lapses at the prison compound, including the erroneous releases of four inmates this year in separate incidents.

Two separate incidents were reported in April, which resulted in reprimands for the shift commander and officers involved.

Brennan has said it was a result of human error. Two other erroneous prisoner releases were reported last month, but the details were not available.

The department, however, missed the deadline to file further adverse actions against the corrections officers responsible for the erroneous releases of the first two inmates this year.

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