HONOLULU (KHON2) — From overcrowding to an outdated layout and staffing shortages, Public Safety officials are calling for improvements at the Oahu Community Correctional Center.
“This facility has been around and we have to revamp, we have to do things,” said Jose Rodriguez-Rosa, Oahu Community Correction Center Acting Chief of Security.
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“It’s been around for so many years, everything is slowly falling apart,” said Wendel Yoda, Oahu Community Correction Center Acting Deputy Warden.
With OCCC being the largest jail facility in the state, public safety officials are ringing the alarm on much needed improvements. One of the concerns for the facility is overcrowding. KHON2 took a look inside a few modules; and in some cases, there were three inmates to a cell with mattresses on the floor.
The Department of Public Safety says, in the mental health and medical building there were 69 inmates to 24 cells as of Friday. It’s meant to hold 48. Officials say overcrowding and an aging layout are also impacting inmates who are transitioning out.
“This is the population size that we can accommodate. In here it used to be 120, but now we have to conform to ADA so we have to ensure that we have single beds,” Yoda said.
OCCC houses pre-trial detainees and sentenced inmates. The facility staff also operates the Laumaka Furlough Center a block away from the jail. Public Safety officials are renewing their call for a new facility to improve all services.
“I know that they’re looking at building a new facility. I’m pretty sure all the staff would like to see the new facility and we’re all hoping and anticipating the new facility will come on board and everyone can progress from it,” said Yoda.
The Hawaii Correction System Oversight Commissioner says she’s scheduling meetings with legislators and public safety should be a priority this session.
“Instead of going in and just being re-traumatized and coming back out worse, if they have to go in, they’re going to come up better and be better neighbors,” said Christin Johnson, Hawaii Correction System Oversight Commission Oversight Coordinator.
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DPS officials agree and say they are managing as best as they can for now.
“We do what we have to do to make things safe to for the incarcerated people in the state of Hawaii,” said Rodriguez-Rosa.