US judge warns Hawaii to follow COVID-19 safety rules in jails, prisons


HONOLULU (AP) — A U.S. judge won’t appoint a special master just yet to make sure Hawaii officials are keeping inmates safe from COVID-19 outbreaks.

She says inmate descriptions appear credible describing conditions that led to virus outbreaks at five of the state’s eight prisons and jails.

The judge is ordering the state to “immediately implement” and follow its own pandemic response plan, focusing on cleaning, social distancing, quarantining and other measures.

Attorneys for the state have said they addressed safety concerns by adopting the response plan on March 23, 2020, consistent with federal guidelines.

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