DOC officials: Inmate who sued was caught with contraband


Corrections Commissioner Vincent S. Attao and other Department of Corrections officers have denied an inmate’s allegations in his lawsuit that he was subjected to “solitary confinement” at DOC.

Attao and other officials, through the Office of the Attorney General, disclosed that DOC lacks the facility to actually put an inmate in “solitary confinement” as it is commonly understood.

In fact, Jerry Ray was assigned to and resided in an ordinary cell in an ordinary “pod” where ordinary prisoners are kept, according to OAG Civil Division chief Christopher M. Timmons.

He pointed this out in Attao’s and other DOC officials’ answer to Ray’s lawsuit against them.

Ray is suing Attao and other DOC officials in federal court for allegedly subjecting him to solitary confinement and isolation and failing to provide him adequate mental healthcare.

Besides Attao, the other defendants in Ray’s lawsuit are Corrections director Gregory Castro, acting commissioner Georgia M. Cabrera, pre-trial operations captain Pius P. Yaroitemal, operation commander David Deleon Guerrero, and classification officer Cynthia B. Santos.

Ray, through Jeanne H. Rayphand of the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems Inc., is suing them for allegedly subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment, and providing him inadequate mental health treatment.

In their response to the lawsuit, Timmons disclosed that Ray was sanctioned on Feb. 5, 2018 and Feb. 12, 2017, but that he did not administratively challenge these sanctions.

Ray has been a DOC inmate since 2012.

Timmons said Ray filed an administrative grievance to be removed from administrative segregation, but this was denied and not appealed pursuant to DOC’s policies and procedures.

He said Ray failed a request to be removed from administrative segregation on Jan. 2, 2017, and filed the administrative grievance on Jan. 6, 2017, to be removed from administrative segregation.

Timmons said this grievance was denied as he had not completed the “step down” process.

Timmons said Ray did cut himself and that he was treated at the Commonwealth Health Center and released and cleared medically for prison.

He said Ray was also provided medication for hallucinations and cleared medically for prison by another doctor.

Timmons disclosed that Ray was caught with contraband and given notice of his possible sanctions, but he did not administratively appeal this sanction.

Timmons argued that all or some of Ray’s claims for relief are barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, including the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies and grievance procedures. He asked the court to dismiss the suit with finality.

Ray, a habitual offender, has been an inmate of DOC since 2012 after he was convicted of burglary.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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