State briefs for March 16

Inmates transferred to Oahu following disturbance

HONOLULU — Nearly two dozen inmates participated in a disturbance at a Maui jail, where they broke fire sprinklers and started a small fire in a common area, officials said.

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The 21 inmates identified by jail staff were transferred by charter flight Thursday to the Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu as an internal investigation is conducted.

The disturbance at the Maui Community Correctional Center started Monday when inmates refused to return to a module after recreation time. The facility was put on lockdown, and the situation was resolved a few hours later.

“At this point, and based on the actions of the participants, the motivation behind the disturbance and subsequent agitation appears to be dissatisfaction with conditions related to the extreme overcrowded conditions at the jail,” said Nolan Espinda, director of the state Department of Public Safety.

The facility was designed to hold 209 inmates, but it had a count of 410 Monday.

Two inmates suffered minor injuries during the disturbance, officials said. They were treated at a hospital and returned to the facility.

Officials are continuing to question inmates as part of the internal investigation. The Maui Police Department also is conducting a probe.

Hawaii keiki will kick butts — and Juul — next week

WASHINGTON — Keiki in Hawaii will unite against tobacco use Wednesday (March 20) as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day, an annual day of youth activism sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. More than 1,000 events are planned throughout the nation. (see below for a list of local events).

This year, kids are focused on kicking Juul, the e-cigarette that has become enormously popular among youth throughout the country.

U.S. public health leaders have called youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” that is addicting a new generation of kids.

In Hawaii, 25.5 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes, while 8.1 percent smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 1,400 lives in Hawaii and costs the state $526 million in health care bills each year.

In Hawaii, activities will include:

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• The Hawaii Public Health Institute and Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii are hosting a march through downtown Honolulu to the state Capitol for a rally. The march begins at 11 a.m. at Aloha Tower, with the rally at 12:30 p.m. Later in the afternoon, participating students will meet with legislators to advocate for legislation ending the sale of flavored tobacco in Hawaii.

• Youth in Maui County will rallying to speak out against Big Tobacco and e-cigarettes. The Maui, Molokai and Lanai Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, Hawaii Public Health Institute and the Blue Zones Project will have a rally at 9:45 a.m. at the Maui County Building to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Hawaii. The Mayor’s Office will issue a proclamation in honor of Kick Butts Day and the work of the youth council.

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