Sakai Appointed as New Director of Public Safety

May 11, 2012, 1:55 PM HST · Updated May 11, 1:56 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Ted Sakai as the new Director of Public Safety, effective June 1, 2012.

The appointment is part of the Abercrombie Administration’s implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

Sakai previously held the post during the Cayetano Administration.   This time, he fills the vacancy created by the current director, Jodie Maesaka-Hirata, who will take on the role of Deputy Director of Corrections–a post that was left vacant by Joe Booker who moved to the mainland.

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“This move came at the suggestion from Jodie who is dedicated to seeing the Justice Reinvestment Initiative implemented,” said Governor Abercrombie. “Jodie has shown true leadership by having the desire to put the public interest first, and that meant committing herself to the Corrections area of Public Safety where she has a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Gov. Abercrombie said that with Ted as Director, he is confident that the state will be successful in bringing Hawai’i inmates who are housed on the mainland back home; and to move the JRI program forward.

Ted Sakai, 65, worked for nearly 27 years in a variety of executive positions in the State’s corrections system.  Between 1998 to 2002, he served as the Director of Public Safety.  He also served as Administrator of corrections programs and as the Warden of the Waiawa Correctional Facility.

State officials say Sakai’s accomplishments include the implementation of substance abuse and sex offender treatment programs for inmates; development of accountability systems for managers; development of strategic plans for the department; coordination of a multi-agency approach for substance abuse treatment; implementing programs to minimize suicides by inmates; and developing policies and programs to reduce abuse of inmates by correctional staff.

“I’ve been following what’s taken place regarding the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and I believe it provides a great opportunity to bring positive change to the system. It will take a lot of hard work but it is clear this Administration is committed to seeing it through,” said Sakai.

The Legislature passed two JRI measures that are aimed at making the State’s criminal justice system more efficient and improve accountability. The initiatives are aimed at increasing public safety through evidence-based policy models that are designed to reduce recidivism, while investing investing savings back into community programs and supervision.

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