Sunday, October 4, 2015         

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State unveils plan to bring back inmates from mainland prisons

By Rob Shikina


The state Department of Public Safety is looking to bring back to Hawaii all of its inmates on the mainland by reducing the in-state prison population by about 1,100 and building about 900 new spaces for them on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island.

Department officials laid out the plans at a hearing today before the Senate Public Safety, Government Operations, and Military Affairs Committee.

Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata told the committee that under a plan called the Justice Reinvestment Initiative the department could save $19.5 million in fiscal year 2014, $26.5 million in 2015 and reduce the prison population.

Maesaka-Hirata said the department, which houses 6,000 inmates in Hawaii and on the mainland, is also considering  three projects to increase space. The projects include expanding Waiawa Correctional Facility, building a new prison in Puunene, Maui, and either reopening Kulani Correctional Center or building a new facility on Hawaii island.

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