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Dear Editor,

I just finished reading the story in the paper today about the conditions inside the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and felt I should add a few thoughts about the reality of the conditions there, as no mention was made of the real conditions inside that hell hole. 

Do people know that if your case is 'pending' that you are held in what is called Bravo block where there are no beds, no bedding of any kind, that there are often six to a cell all of whom sleep on the bare cement floor.

That NOTHING is provided in the way of necessities such as clothing, bedding, normal hygiene products, with the exception of toilet paper.  No soap, no disinfectant to keep the cells clean and no towels.

That there is no potable water available for drinking, only tap water, and there in a place where the water is some of the worse on the island, and a boiled water notice has been in effect for a long time. 

The inmates in Bravo are in lock down 24 hrs a day, they do however allow the doors to the cells to be open inside the block for about 4 hours so that the inmates can mingle... but only inside the cell block.

Recreation time is scarce, and at the whim of the guards. Many days can pass before any are allowed out for a short time, and that time is never a set time, again at the whim of the guards.

I personally spent a month there several years ago and can attest to the food, or should I say, the lack of — is it a lack of budget or others taking food meant for the prisoners?

At that time also, there was no medical people there to monitor and dispense medications to those who must use them, and are usually given to the inmates by the trustees. No regular times were set during my incarceration for the dispensing of meds — it was hit or miss at best. 

(And if one was looking for a 'marijuana' joint, why one need only ask a trustee, and believe me there was plenty available for those who could afford it. I know too that ice was readily available as well.)

How this situation has been allowed to continue is a sad commentary, and yet indicative of the complete disregard for those who have yet to even be convicted of the crimes they are being held for.

Lord help you if you should plead innocent, as your stay in the Bravo Block could be many months while awaiting your trial. 

And coupled with the absurd amounts set for bail, which few can come close to affording, you are stuck in Bravo for long periods of time. 

Why these issues have never been addressed is a complete mystery, but many in our community believe that life inside the T. C.F. or as its often called, the Tafuna Hilton, is a cake walk... 3 meals a day, the easy life as it were! 

It’s anything but, and I was delighted to read the article today which shed a little light on the reality of just how dysfunctional our jail system really is. And what an oxymoron to call it a Correctional Facility when there is no attempt to correct anyone — other than by punishment that is more 3rd world than anything else. 

And here in AMERICAN Samoa no less. 

We should be ashamed that our family members are treated in such a horrible and inhumane way. Will it ever change? I doubt it as like so many other dysfunctional facets of life here on Apathy Island, no one really gives a darn except how they can best profit only for themselves. 

Shame on all of those who could but don't do a single thing to rectify the injustice against those innocent before proven guilty that sit in filth, with little food, and no basic needs met that could make life even a little bearable BEFORE they are proven guilty. 

signed anonymous... for obvious reasons!!

[Editor’s Note: Don’t usually do this — “anonymous’ — but okay, I’ve never heard of “Bravo Block”… ra]