Maui News

40 Hawai‘i Island Inmates Transferred to Hālawa to Alleviate Overcrowding

July 27, 2021, 7:57 PM HST
* Updated July 28, 4:59 AM
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Inmate transfer (7.27.21) PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety

Forty sentenced felons on Hawaiʻi Island were transferred to the Hālawa Correctional Facility on Oʻahu on Tuesday in an attempt to alleviate overcrowding.

The Hawaiʻi Army National Guard utilized two CH-47F helicopters to transport 20 inmates each from the Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center and Kulani Correctional Facility to Hālawa. Several adult corrections officers and deputy sheriffs provided in-flight and ground transport security.

“The Hawaiʻi National Guard has worked with the Department of Public Safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maj. Gen. Ken S. Hara, Adjutant General, Hawaiʻi National Guard. “This is an example of one state department successfully partnering with another. This transport mission is critical to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi’s prison system.”

“Moving these sentenced felons helped to free up more space for the pre-trial custodies at HCCC,” said Department of Public Safety Director Max Otani. “We couldn’t have done this without the coordination and collaborative relationship with our federal, executive and judicial partners.”

Tommy Johnson, Deputy Director for Corrections said, “The National Guard and PSD’s Deputy Sheriffs, along with ACOs and health care staff from OCCC, HCF, HCCC and the Kulani Correctional Facility all worked together to provide a successful and safe air and ground transport. I want to give a big mahalo to everyone for all their hard work and for helping to expedite this necessary transport.”

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Only inmates who have been vaccinated, and/or tested negative prior to transport, and deemed medically cleared to travel, were considered. Hālawa placed the newly admitted inmates in an intake quarantine, which is in line with PSD’s Pandemic Plan and based on DOH and CDC guidelines for correctional facilities.

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The Department of Public Safety continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily receive the COVID vaccination. 

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