KULANI CORRECTIONAL FACILITY TO CLOSE

July 24, 2009, 11:05 AM HST · Updated July 24, 11:16 AM
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The Department of Public Safety announced today plans to close the Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island by the end of October.  Public Safety Director Clayton Frank said it was not fiscally feasible to continue to operate the facility under the difficult economic climate.

“Because of the troubling economy, and continuing budget shortfalls, the department of public safety is going to close the Kulani Correctional Facility,” said Frank.

The Kulani Correctional Facility Currently employs 76 workers and houses 123 male inmates.

The state has identified correctional facilities within the state to place these inmates, but there are no plans for early release, according to Frank.

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Frant said, it currently costs the state $6 million a year to operate and maintain the Kulani Facility.  Closing the facility is expected to result in savings of approximately $2.8 million.

The state plans to use the property for a Youth Challenge program and is currently working on a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Defense and the Hawaii National Guard, which runs the program.

The Hawai’i National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy program provides at-risk students who otherwise would not obtain a high school diploma with an opportunity to attend a 22-week curriculum designed to turn their lives around. Since 1995, over 2,500 students who have participated in the Youth Challenge Academy have earned their High School diplomas.

Currently located at Kalaeloa, O’ahu, the Youth Challenge Academy conducts two classes per year averaging about 150 students per class.  According to state officials, for every student that is allowed into the program, another at-risk student is turned away because of limited facilities and staff.

“The National Guard Bureau supports the Hawai’i National Guard having a second campus to handle the students that we turn away,” said State Adjutant General Major General Robert Lee.

“At least 35 percent of our students come from the neighbor islands. The potential to establish the Kulani Youth Challenge Academy on the Big Island is a viable option for the Hawai’i National Guard,” said Lee.

(By Wendy Osher; Additional Information provided by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety)

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