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Prisoner on hunger strike asks judge to switch facilities

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher / Associated Press


One of the inmates who recently went on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center pleaded with a judge Wednesday to get him out of there.

"I would like to go back to Halawa," William Shinyama said of the state prison where he was serving time for assault, robbery and other charges. He was sent to the federal facility after he and 17 others were indicted on charges of being part of the USO Family prison gang. "If no can, I just gotta rough it out."

Shinyama told U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi that he pleaded guilty to the indictment because he was so desperate to get out. (He is in federal custody because the indictment was federal, but must return to Halawa to complete his state sentence.) He said he and his co-defendants who are at the facility have been unfairly isolated in a segregated unit for about seven months, where they're subjected to conditions including extreme cold, a lack of access to law books and retaliation from guards when they complain.

"I told myself I might as well plead guilty, get the thing over with and move already," Shinyama said.

His lawyer, Louis Ching, asked Kobayashi to make the "bold" call to allow Shinyama to return to Halawa until his sentencing in June, when he'll have to go back to Halawa anyway. As an alternative, he suggested that the sentencing be moved up to reduce the amount of time he has to spend in the federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar said Shinyama shouldn't be allowed to return to the facility where he's a gang leader.

"It's no surprise he wants to go back to the place where he rules the roost," he said.

Inmates Tineimalo Adkins and James Moser have joined in Shinyama's motion. They are among a group of about eight who went on a hunger strike that lasted about four days to protest the conditions, prompted by discovering maggots in their cereal.

At the time, facility spokesman Jeffrey Greene said allegations of insects in food and dirty clothes are unfounded.

Adkins told the judge he's been denied medical attention for an eye cyst and isn't given access to an imam so he can practice his Muslim faith.

Kobayashi said she's concerned about "deprivation of certain constitutional rights," such as access to legal help, medical attention and religion.

Greene and a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. In court documents filed by prosecutors opposing the inmates' motion, a special investigator for the detention center wrote that there are no records showing Shinyama sought to address any concerns through an administrative grievance process.

The inmates said it's futile to file complaints because doing so only makes things worse for them.

Ching said the inmates who testified at Wednesday's hearing are taking a big risk: "They've come forward knowing that when they go back to FDC there will be retaliation against them."

If the judge grants their request it "will send a message to the FDC … they should make changes to their system," he said.

Kobayashi said she'll take the arguments under advisement and issue a ruling later. In the meantime, she asked Nammar if he could contact officials at the facility to at least ensure the inmates receive an extra blanket to keep warm.

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VikkiP wrote:
Poor guy! Life is rough when you decide to steal from people. Let him rot in the Federal Jail. Complaining won't undo what he has done or replace what he has stolen. Prison should be a punishment!
on May 1,2014 | 03:20AM
Cleodog wrote:
Just another victim here. He needs to contact Obama and Al Sharpton. They will be sure to publicize his victimhood and find a way to make this another "cause."
on May 1,2014 | 06:30AM
buttery wrote:
trolling! feel good now! maybe next comment you make will be about the story!
on May 1,2014 | 09:09AM
beachbum11 wrote:
I agree.
on May 1,2014 | 03:57PM
Sandybeach wrote:
An extra blanket seems appropriate. He should be allowed spiritual counselling and he should seek repentance from his higher power. Right now that power lies with the people of the United States by way of the Bureau of Prisons. Gang leader no less seeking relief from an oppressive prison system. Come on dude, you know what the "cons" say. Everybody's got to do their own time. No cry baby... other cons don't like that. Your time belongs to you. The others in the joint got their own problems. Aren't those the rules in the penitentiary. Do you own time and let other cons do theirs.
on May 1,2014 | 04:32AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
I agree with the attorney general..he just wants to go to Halawa where he's the man..lol The feds don't treat their prisoners that way.. I knew someone there and depends were you go it becomes a camp..according to your crime. So im sure he aint suffering and an extra blankets should keep him warm..he should man up for his crimes and take it like a man. Not wimp out and cry like a child.
on May 1,2014 | 05:37AM
cojef wrote:
"Do the crime do the time".
on May 1,2014 | 02:09PM
hawaiinui wrote:
It's the same ole, same ole....Too bad so sad. You do the crime, you do the time. Karma certainly has a way of working out the bumps on the road of crime, doesn't it.
on May 1,2014 | 06:05AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Keep him there. Make him do his time.
on May 1,2014 | 06:19AM
soundofreason wrote:
"He said he and his co-defendants who are at the facility have been unfairly isolated in a segregated unit for about seven months, where they're subjected to conditions including extreme cold, a lack of access to law books and retaliation from guards when they complain.">>>>> Gee, sounds like the basis for yet another rap song. Go make one. Title: "Big tough "wittle" gangsta cold busted"
on May 1,2014 | 06:35AM
bobstr wrote:
Extreme Cold?? This is Hawaii, am I missing something???
on May 1,2014 | 10:56AM
McCully wrote:
This clown can't do the things like at Halawa where he was the king pin. This is a federal detention center where the rules are federal and not local.
on May 1,2014 | 06:46AM
loquaciousone wrote:
If you do the crime...you do the time...and you don't get to choose between the Ritz Carlton and Turtle Bay.
on May 1,2014 | 06:52AM
96706 wrote:
awww pooo ting ...... STAY where you are. What makes this inmate think he has "rights" when he violated someone else's?????
on May 1,2014 | 08:12AM
gsc wrote:
He wants to go back to Halawa where Drugs are available...... Leave this Smuck at the Federal Detention Center..............
on May 1,2014 | 08:28AM
iwanaknow wrote:
And how soon will he be out to make more damage?
on May 1,2014 | 09:33AM
808HRW wrote:
Extreme cold, lets be real here, he's in Hawaii how cold does it get? Also you lost your rights when you decided to take away another person's rights. I hope the judge isn't lenient on these prisoners.
on May 1,2014 | 09:44AM
Mahalo wrote:
let them starve...
on May 1,2014 | 10:10AM
soundofreason wrote:
Agreed. I'm all for free "choice".
on May 1,2014 | 06:29PM
hikine wrote:
If the judge approves the transfer then it only goes to show that the justice system can be manipulated. He wasn't in danger in the Fed facility and transferring to Halawa will encourage others to do the same. Hopefully the judge doesn't start a presidence.
on May 1,2014 | 11:57AM
konag43 wrote:
now we are letting inmates tell the fed's and the state where they want to live. give me a break. let him starve himself to death one less crimminal on the market and a big money savings for the state and federal government.
on May 1,2014 | 02:11PM
st1d wrote:
"I just gotta rough it out."

what a comedian.

it's the vogue in prison now to claim muslim/islam religious privileges. your food is delivered to your cell and it's a better fare than regular prison chow.

on May 1,2014 | 02:27PM
gmejk wrote:
Well boo-hoo-hoo. Crime me a river. Maybe the state prisons should adapt this type of treatment of the prisoners--make it so bad even the criminals don't want to be there. As it is now some of these guys keep going back over and over.
on May 1,2014 | 03:04PM
wahine wrote:
Interesting… I can't ever recall reading HSA comments on a particular topic where all of the readers felt the same way! :)
on May 1,2014 | 03:18PM
beachbum11 wrote:
on May 1,2014 | 03:57PM
false wrote:
This is simply hilarious. Trying to pull a judges leg so they can get back to the same old business again. When he pulled off all his criminal acts did he care about what he was doing to others? Of course not. Do we care that he's at the federal center. NO
on May 1,2014 | 04:42PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Let him continue his hunger strike. Maybe he'll die and the problem is solved.
on May 1,2014 | 06:30PM
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