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Hawaii’s jail population drops by 619 inmates since March

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Oahu Community Correctional Center

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Oahu Community Correctional Center

Hawaii’s four jails have had a significant drop in their populations to date since March 2 due to a concerted effort to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in the event of an outbreak.

The total population is down by 619 inmates with 1,570 inmates today compared to 2,189 on March 2, the Department of Public Safety reported today.

“This is due to the huge efforts made by the State Judiciary, county police departments and PSD’s Intake Service Division as they work together to limit the number of people requiring admittance into the jails,” Public Safety said in a news release. “All decreases were pursuant to independently issued court orders.”

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of the prisons or jails statewide, Public Safety said.

An order by the Hawaii Supreme Court set a deadline of Monday, April 20, to have the parties select probation and pretrial inmates for court-considered release.

Prosecutors will have three days to submit their objections. The courts will determine by April 28 who may be considered for release.

The Federal Detention warden agreed to resume accepting up to 100 state Public Safety inmates, which went into effect April 13.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority has updated its operations, operating on an appointment-only basis for essential issues that must be addressed in person. Visitors will undergo a health screening. All other matters will be done by phone or email. An information hotline is available at 253-1642.

Inmates have been sewing thousands of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as a way to give back to the community.

Work lines have sped up their production and are now producing 6,000 masks a day.

The Hawaii Correctional Inmates (HCI), which provided sewing machines, supplies and fabric, anticipates that by April 30 inmates will be able to sew more than 300,000 masks in the next 60b days.

Staff from the Corrections, Health Care, Law Enforcement and Administrative divisions will receive their orders first, followed by inmates. They will open up to other state agencies, then to the public.

The first 14,000 masks should be delivered by the end of April.

By Monday, HCI will increase its work line participants to 120 inmates from 70.

It has purchased 17 more sewing machines, and continues to seek donations for fabric and sewing supplies from the public. To donate, call 677-6638 or email psd.hawaiici@hawaii.gov.

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