Authorities say three staff members sustained minor injuries in a disturbance at Maui Community Correctional Center that began Monday afternoon when inmates allegedly started a small fire after refusing to return to their cells from the recreation yard.
“Inmates who refused the order began breaking fire sprinklers, which began shooting water out in the common area. Maintenance was informed to shut off the water system. Non-compliant inmates started a small fire in the common area and smoke drifted to an adjacent module where inmates there started a lesser disturbance,” the Hawaii Department of Public Safety said in a press release this morning.
The disturbance occurred in two modules in one of the living units just before 3 p.m., when 52 inmates returned to their cells after recreation time but 42 of them refused, officials said. DPS said the damage to two modules was “significant,” though estimates are pending.
At about 4:24 p.m., DPS said, staff and Maui police officers began negotiations with inmates in one of the modules, and the staff was able to gain entry into the area through an emergency exit door. Staff then turned attention to the second module “that created a lesser disturbance,” and by 6:26 p.m. had “contained” the situation.
DPS said while no inmates were injured, three staff members who have since returned to duty were treated for “minor injuries including an injured finger, a cut to one foot from shattered glass and skin irritation from pepper spray exposure.”
The disturbance remains under investigation by both DPS and the Maui Police Department to determine how it started and why. “Once the inmates responsible for the incident are identified, they will be brought up on criminal charges as well as internal disciplinary action, pending the outcome of the investigations,” DPS said in a press release.
The entire facility remains in lock-down today as clean-up continues.
“I want to thank and commend the correctional staff of MCCC for their professional, measured and effective response to this disturbance. Their coordinated actions brought a potentially much larger situation under control while keeping themselves safe and the inmates secured throughout. We also want to thank the MPD and MFD for their quick and unequivocal support. All personnel involved in this multi-agency response have shown themselves to be the best that public service has to offer,” said PSD Director Nolan Espinda.