“HOPING FEDS GET INVOLVED IN TCF CASE, SOONER THAN LATER…”

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to the front page article about the Manu'a faipule's belief that the federal government should be brought in to look into the allegations of prisoner mistreatment of inmates at the TCF. 

How interesting that our esteemed Speaker of the Fono does not support this idea. Let's look back on some recent history concerning our Mr. Speaker.  

How about the large amount of drugs that were allegedly found in his truck last year? However, he was never charged, and certainly it must have all been a big misunderstanding. He walked away 'scot free'.

I happen to know that the FBI has already been contacted in regards to the prisoner situation, and are taking a very active look into a number of allegations, not just mistreatment, but mismanagement of federal monies intended to be used to maintain the health and care of inmates. 

The Speaker made an interesting statement that either tells me he is completely ignorant of facts, or simply just out of touch w/reality.

And I quote, "those who are doing time at TCF are convicts, that inmates have been convicted and therefore, ordered by the court to serve jail time. They should be thankful they're receiving good treatment at the prison".

Need he be reminded that there is a full cell block known as 'Bravo' that houses those who have yet to be convicted of any crime? 

They are what is known as 'pending' cases, those who are awaiting their trial date, who cannot afford the absurd bail amounts imposed by our court system; which as I understand it, is simply because the more drug offenses incarcerated, the more federal money is received by ASG to house and maintain these people.

The average wait for a jury trail is about 7 to 8 months time.  I am reminded of a recent case, that of Mr. Brian Loma, who chose to plead not guilty in a possession of marijuana case. He was kept in Bravo block for 8 months before his trial began. 

This is America, and if memory serves me, the right to a speedy trial is one of the pillars of our judicial system. And let us not forget that these are people too, with basic human rights that have been violated in more ways than I have space to go into. 

I also happen to know that the TCF is in violation of a number of federal mandates that require medical personnel in the facility at all times, both for mental and physical conditions. I hope this issue will be addressed too by the Feds when they become more involved.

I understand that there are photos on facebook as well that document the alleged mistreatment of the recent escapees, handcuffed 24-7, sleeping on a bare wet floor.  If that's not a violation of basic human rights in the eyes of our Public Safety Dept., then I sincerely hope the FBI gets involved sooner than later.

So naturally, Mr. Speaker does not wish to see the Feds involved, as what they uncover and discover may prove to have serious repercussions. And it’s long overdue. The burning question in my mind is whose pockets all the monies intended for inmates that is never seen or used for the care of those in TCF??  

John Engle

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