To ease overcrowding issues at Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC) and Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF), the Department of Public Safety aided by the Hawaii Army National Guard on Tuesday transferred 40 sentenced felons to Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) on Oahu.
DPS said the National Guard transported the inmates on two CH-47F helicopters without incident. Several adult corrections officers and deputy sheriffs provided in-flight and ground transport security.
“The Hawaii National Guard has worked with the Department of Public Safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maj. Gen. Ken S. Hara, Adjutant General, Hawaii National Guard. “This is an example of one state department successfully partnering with another. This transport mission is critical to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaii’s prison system.”
Of the 40 inmates who flew to Oahu, 20 were from HCCC and 20 were from KCF.
“Moving these sentenced felons helped to free up more space for the pre-trial custodies at HCCC,” said PSD Director Max Otani. “We couldn’t have done this without the coordination and collaborative relationship with our federal, executive and judicial partners.”
Tommy Johnson, Deputy Director for Corrections added, “The National Guard and PSD’s Deputy Sheriffs, along with ACOs and health care staff from OCCC, HCF, HCCC and the Kulani Correctional Facility all worked together to provide a successful and safe air and ground transport. I want to give a big Mahalo to everyone for all their hard work and for helping to expedite this necessary transport.”
Only inmates who have been vaccinated, and/or tested negative prior to transport, and deemed medically cleared to travel, were considered. Halawa placed the newly admitted inmates in an intake quarantine, which is in line with PSD’s Pandemic Plan and based on DOH and CDC guidelines for correctional facilities.
The Department of Public Safety (PSD) continues to encourage all staff and inmates to voluntarily receive the COVID vaccination. For more information on PSD’s planning and response to COVID-19, inmate testing data, and information detailing the efforts made to safeguard the inmates, staff and public, visit dps.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources/.