State: ‘Disturbance’ among inmates causes lockdown at HCCC

The state Department of Public Safety locked down inmates Friday evening following a disturbance in a housing module at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

According to a DPS statement, the unrest started at about 7 p.m. with inmates broke Plexiglas windows and started a small fire that was quickly extinguished. Hawaii Police and state sheriffs deputies were called to the scene and stood by to provide assistance if needed.

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Responders were given approval to use non-lethal means to gain compliance, and the situation was reportedly contained by 9 p.m. without further incident.

“Staff followed their training to quickly restore order and prevent the situation from escalating,” said DPS Director Max Otani.

Facility health care staff evaluated the inmates for possible injuries. There are currently no reports received of any major injuries to inmates or staff. Damage is still being assessed, but preliminary reports indicate Tommy Johnson, DPS’s Deputy Director for Corrections, is in Hilo assessing the damage.

“All HCCC staff on duty, and many who came to the facility to assist their co-workers, are to be commended for effectively and professionally bringing order to the module during these trying times,” said Tommy Johnson, Deputy Director for Corrections. “I also want to thank the sheriffs and Hawaii Police for coming to the facility and offering their assistance.”

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The cause of the unrest is under investigation and inmates will be questioned. Any inmates found culpable will be criminally and administratively charged, DPS said.

HCCC has been in quarantine lockdown since a COVID-19 outbreak that has turned up positive cases, so far, in 99 inmates and 13 staffers.

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