Maui Jail Population Drops from 450 to 307 Inmates in Just Under 2 Months

April 25, 2020, 8:02 AM HST · Updated April 25, 8:02 AM
Wendy Osher · 2 Comments
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*Data courtesy Department of Public Safety.

By Wendy Osher

Jail Population Statewide Decreases by 716; Maui Jail Population Drops by 143 Inmates

The inmate population at the Maui Community Correctional Center in Wailuku has dropped by 143 inmates to 307 over a 7-and-a-half week period from March 2 to April 24, 2020.  After dealing with overcrowding issues, MCCC is now getting close to its operational capacity of 301 inmates.

Overcrowding was named as a likely source of last year’s jail riot and nearly a year after the incident, on March 2, the jail was nearly 50% overcapacity with 450 inmates.  Today that number is just under 2% overcapacity.

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Department officials say the decrease is “largely due to 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 jails.”

State officials say all decreases were pursuant to independently issued court orders.

The state saw a decrease of 716 individuals over the same period.

Inmate COVID-19 Testing Report

As of Friday, April 24, there were three inmates who were tested at the Maui Community Correctional Center in Wailuku, however all tests were returned negative for COVID-19.

Statewide, 15 individuals were tested as of Friday.  All reported negative results, with the exception of one inmate from the Kauaʻi Community Correctional Center who is still awaiting test results and has been place in medical isolation.

  • If an inmate presents with symptoms of a respiratory illness, PSD Health Care Division’s staff will perform a full evaluation, including testing for COVID-19 and common infectious respiratory illnesses such as Influenza.
  • Health care staff conduct onsite specimen collection using the nasopharyngeal swab and submit the specimen to Clinical Labs for testing.
  • Inmates pending testing are immediately placed in medical isolation.

Hawai‘i Paroling Authority Releases 57 Individuals, 33 Cases Pending

From May 4-8 the Hawai‘i Paroling Authority will resume regular hearings to determine minimum terms. Parole violation hearings will be held on May 6.

PSD Director Nolan Espinda said, “Prior to the COVID crisis HPA identified 88 individuals pending a parole date set by the HPA Board. To date, HPA has released 57 of those initial 88 cases with 31 cases pending verifications of residence and outside programming.”

He notes that there are also 71 new cases under review based on the considerations outlined in the Hawai‘i Supreme Court’s order.  So far, 27 of the 71 cases have established release dates within the next two weeks.

“HPA is also assessing community custody and minimum custody populations across the state, populations with pre-existing conditions as well as elderly inmates, as submitted by the Department of Public Safety to HPA for parole consideration,” according to Espinda’s update.

In an effort to keep the public informed, the Hawai‘i Paroling Authority has set up a COVID-19 virus public information access hotline at 1-808-253-1642.

PSD Purchase of PPE

On Maui, Naka’s Drapery donated 500 KN95 Masks, Masks for Maui donated 75 cloth masks, Kahului Union Church donated several cases of produce, Hāliʻimaile Distillery donated 5 gallons of hand sanitizer, and Ocean Vodka donated 2 gallons of hand sanitizer.

The Department of Public Safety reports that it keeps a regular supply of personal protective equipment for normal circumstances, but department officials report that its supply has been depleting quickly.

To get ahead of the need, PSD submitted a large order for extra PPE which includes 14,000 cloth face coverings.  The order was received this week and PSD is in the process of distributing to correctional facilities across the state.

Inmates in the sewing program at the Waiawa Correctional Facility, Kulani Correctional Facility, and Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center are also producing as many as 4,000 masks a day and are expected to produce over 300,000 masks by the end of June.

Supporting information courtesy Department of Public Safety. 

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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