Gov. David Ige and the state’s Office of Environmental Quality Control have accepted the environmental impact statement for replacing Oahu’s overcrowded and deteriorating jail in Kalihi — moving the governor closer to his goal of rebuilding the facility next to the Halawa Correctional Facility, a state prison.
Relocating the Oahu Community Correctional Center would also allow the state to redevelop the land it currently sits on, which is next to the planned rail route.
“The existing jail at Dillingham and Puʻuhale is severely overcrowded and in disrepair. Building a new correctional facility is one of my top priorities,” Ige said in a news release. “Moving OCCC to Halawa is also a tremendous opportunity to reposition Kalihi for the future, when the land along the rail route will be used for new economic development, affordable housing, and open spaces as envisioned by the community.”
The project’s estimated cost is $525 million, which includes the cost of the new jail and relocation of the state’s Animal Quarantine Station in Halawa, which is currently on the site the state is looking to develop.
As part of the plan, the Ige administration also intends to relocate women inmates at OCCC to the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua.
Hawaii Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said that replacing OCCC with a modern facility has been a goal of his department for more than a decade.
“OCCC is severely outdated and overcrowded and because of this, the possibility of federal oversight is always looming over us,” said Espinda. “A new OCCC would help us house the current population while providing the critical program space and resources necessary to help inmates successfully return to their communities.”
The Ige administration will need to secure funding for the project from the state Legislature and obtain various regulatory approvals.