Class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all Hawaii inmates in DPS facilities

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Erik A. Seitz, Attorney At Law cooperation announced plaintiffs filed an amended class action lawsuit on behalf of all Hawaii inmates in Department of Public Safety (DPS) facilities on Tuesday, June 15.

According to a news release, “the lawsuit alleges disturbingly inhumane conditions of confinement and an abysmal effort by DPS to protect inmates from exposure to COVID-19.”

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News of the lawsuit comes after a COVID-19 outbreak and inmate unrest at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.

“Inmates and current DPS employees describe a third-world environment with upwards of 50 inmates confined in a single room overrun with urine and feces, and without adequate access to necessities like water or restrooms. Others are housed in groups of seven in small, chain-link “dog cages” with no precautions in place to prevent the exposure to COVID-19.”

News release from Eric A. Seitz, Attorney At Law corporation on June 15

The lawsuit seeks the appointment of a special master to implement a response plan for COVID-19 and oversee compliance from DPS to provide immediate injunctive relief from the federal court.

Attorneys for DPS denied any wrongdoing and “expressed no interest in participating in discussions with Plaintiffs,” during a court-ordered settlement conference held Tuesday, according to the news release from the Erik A. Seitz, Attorney At Law cooperation.

A status conference with United States District Judge Jill Otake will take place via telephone on Wednesday, June 16, at 3 p.m.

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