Protestors urge Maui County officials to offer more COVID-19 protections for MCCC inmates

Coronavirus

Courtesy: Julie Ohashi

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Several residents on Maui assembled outside of Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) Friday evening to express their displeasure with the rising number of coronavirus cases reported at MCCC.

Friends, loved ones and community members could be seen outside of the facility on Friday, March 5, demanding improvements within the facility to help reduce COVID-19 spread among inmates.

Among the requests from demonstrators were:

  • Immediate medical isolation with proper medical attention for inmates who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.
  • Mandatory quarantine of all newly admitted inmates and inmates who have had close contacts with someone who tested positive for the virus.
  • Vaccinations for inmates who request to be vaccinated.
  • Mandatory facial coverings required of all staff and enforcement of mask wearing for inmates.
  • New disposable masks provided everyday for inmates or two by three layered cloth masks issued to each inmate for wash and reuse.
  • Hand soap, tissues and closed reciprocals for the used tissues to be made available to every inmate.
  • Enhanced mask sanitized measures.
  • Inmates who test positive for COVID-19 are isolated in a well ventilated room with solid walls and a solid door that closes fully and separately from suspected cases.
  • Bunks must be at least 6 feet apart, double bunks have only one occupant.
  • Consideration of medical isolation and quarantine for inmates with higher risk of complications from COVID-19.
  • Staff tested on a regular basis.
  • Accountability and transparency, which includes sharing of accurate data on COVID-19 case spread within MCCC.

KHON2 reached out to the Department of Public Safety (PSD) who issued the following statement:

“PSD is aware of the concerns expressed by the families and that is why the Maui Community Correctional Center security and medical staff are working long hours to safeguard the staff and inmates and mitigate virus spread. The facility health care staff are monitoring inmates for symptoms, taking temperatures, and making health checks at least twice a day. All offenders have also been told if they have any pains or symptoms of an upper respiratory illness to report it immediately to the medical staff. If it is after hours, the facility will call an on-call doctor for a consult. No inmates have required hospitalization due to COVID-19. Staff are routinely tested. On Thursday, 35 staff test results came back negative and Friday there were 22 negative staff results reported through DOH testing. One MCCC employee reported a positive result from independent testing. Inmates who test positive or negative are placed in designated housing units within the facility and separated as determined by medical staff, as recommended by the DOH, and in accordance with the PSD Pandemic Response Plan. The facilities are following the PSD Pandemic Plan to medically isolate, quarantine and cohort inmates based on CDC and DOH recommended guidelines.  

  • All offenders were issued at least 2 cloth masks upon entry and are required to wear them.   
  • Offenders also have the option of purchasing masks through the commissary if they prefer different brands or styles. 
  • All inmates and staff are required to follow all safety and sanitation protocols including wearing a barrier mask over their nose and mouth in inmate housing and common areas, frequently washing hands and maintaining adequate social distancing to the extent possible.  
  • All offenders have unrestricted access to hot water, soap, and sanitation supplies.  

The PSD Health Care Division has gone to great lengths to make sure a comprehensive plan is in place to safeguard the health of all inmates and staff in our facilities. They developed a comprehensive pandemic response plan for all facilities, based upon current guidance from the CDC and approved by the Office of Correctional Health of the American Correctional Association. Each facility has adapted the plan to meet their individual facility needs. Each facility has situations they deal with that are unique to their facility and the administration at those facilities takes that into consideration as they execute their plans to the best of their ability.”

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