Maui News

Hawai‘i Inmates Offered Vaccine Incentive

October 15, 2021, 5:01 AM HST
* Updated October 15, 8:39 AM
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Maui Community Correctional Center.

The state Department of Public Safety has implemented a vaccine incentive program for inmates. Inmates in PSD custody during the period of March 3, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2024, who become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are eligible to receive a one-time incentive award of $50. The payment will be deposited into the inmate’s spendable trust account. 

PSD is coordinating with staff at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ to offer this incentive to Hawai‘i inmates housed at the out-of-state facility. 2,530 inmates, currently in custody both in Hawai‘i and Arizona, already qualify for the incentive payment. Another 137 are pending full vaccination status and approval for the incentive award. 

“PSD is doing everything it can to educate inmates about the vaccine and encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” said Tommy Johnson, PSD Deputy Director for Corrections. “We’ve seen a substantial increase in inmate vaccinations that we believe is a result of our education efforts. It is our hope that inmates who are still on the fence about getting vaccinated will participate.” 

PSD requested and received approval for $615,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to be specifically used as an incentive initiative for offenders in custody. This incentive payment is not available to state employees.   

The Department of Public Safety continues to encourage all staff to voluntarily get tested and receive the COVID-19 vaccination. According to the Governor’s direction, all state employees are eligible for up to two hours of administrative leave (per dose) to take the COVID-19 vaccine during normal work hours, as operations permit.  

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COVID-19 testing is continuously being conducted in the state prisons and jails as well as in the contracted Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ. The latest testing updates received for other correctional facilities are as follows: 

  • Saguaro Correctional Center (Eloy, AZ) – 101 inmate test results: 85 negative, 16 inconclusive. 
  • Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center – 53 inmate test results: One positive, 52 negative.  
  • Women’s Community Correctional Center – Seven negative inmate test results. 
  • Maui Community Correctional Center – One negative inmate test results. The one previously reported positive inmate was released. MCCC is clear of all active COVID-19 cases. 
  • Hālawa Correctional Facility – One negative inmate test result. One employee, previously reported as hospitalized, has been released from the hospital.  
  • Kauaʻi Community Correctional Center – Four negative inmate test results.  
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*Former inmates who are no longer in PSD custody are not eligible for the incentive program.  If they were incarcerated on or after March 3, 2021, and are still in custody, they can receive the incentive award.

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