HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Supreme Court has ordered the release of some of its Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) inmates by Wednesday, Aug. 19.

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This provision will only apply to those who are charged with a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor crime. It will not, however, apply to those charged with domestic abuse and temporary restraining order violations.

The decision comes as OCCC sees a growing number of COVID-19 cases, which has strained the facility.

“Quarantine lockdowns, and cramped conditions, combined with the stress of the COVID-19 outbreak at OCCC translates to inmates becoming restless and agitated,” said a representative for the Department of Public Safety when KHON2 inquired about reports of riots and fires started by inmates.

The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) had filed a petition on Aug. 12 seeking the immediate release of vulnerable and low-risk incarcerated people to mitigate the harm of the virus on inmates and staff.

As of Sunday, Aug. 16, the Department of Public Safety reported that four more inmates and two more employees at the prison have tested positive for the virus. This brings the inmate case total to 170.

Those who will be released are subjected to conditions.

If the inmate has not received a positive COVID-19 test result, is not pending the result of a test that was taken and is not showing symptoms, the inmate may be released. The inmate will also have to share current contact information, which includes a home address.

Once released, inmates will have to quarantine for 14 days and will have to wear a mask and social distance.

As a part of their release, the pretrial detainee will have to appear at the Honolulu District Court on Feb. 17, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. unless ordered otherwise. If they do not appear, it may result in further charges, which includes criminal contempt.

The Department of Public Safety will have to provide a list of all inmates released to the prosecuting attorney.

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