LIHUE >> A Lihue jail in need of more space could get $15 million to expand housing for inmates under Gov. David Ige’s executive supplemental budget proposal.
The Kauai Community Correctional Center has an operating bed capacity of 128, The Garden Island reported. As of Dec. 21, the jail’s population was 184 inmates. Hawaii Department of Public Safety spokesman Toni Schwartz said the funds would go toward constructing a building at the facility specifically designed to house inmates.
“It’s no secret that our jails are overcrowded,” Schwartz said. “A new building would help us alleviate some of the overcrowding in our current facility.”
Ige released the supplemental budget proposal Dec. 21 for the 2016 legislative session. The proposal would increase the overall fiscal 2015-17 budget to $30.7 billion, with $15 million included for the Lihue jail.
In addition to housing, Schwartz said the money could also be used to build support offices in the same building where inmates are housed.
“Support offices can include area for program space for the inmates as well as a security control area for corrections officers,” he said.
When the jail was built in 1977, it was intended to house up to 16 inmates. Another module, converted from the recreation yard, was added to the main building’s three holding cells in the mid-1980s. Temporary cabins that had been used by Kauai residents who lost their homes in Hurricane Iniki were moved to the jail in the mid-1990s, providing housing for an additional 40 inmates. The next addition came in 1997, when an 80-bed minimum custody dorm was built.
The Department of Public Safety has complained about maintenance issues brought on by the jail’s aging infrastructure. For now, Schartz said, the department is focusing on securing funding for the facility’s housing project.
“We are hopeful they will approve the funding request so we can begin planning and design,” Schwartz said.