HCCC inmates transferred to Oahu amid COVID-19 outbreak

  • A corrections officer watches the front entrance of Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo on June 1. (KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald)

Twenty-eight inmates were transferred from Hawaii Community Correctional Center to facilities on Oahu to reduce some overcrowding at the jail, which is currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak that has sickened more than 200.

The Department of Public Safety transferred the 28 inmates from the Hilo jail to the Halawa Correctional Facility and Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oahu via two chartered flight Wednesday afternoon, the department said. The transports occurred without incident.

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Of the 28 who flew to Oahu, 18 are sentenced felons who were scheduled to be transferred to HCF, three sentenced felons went to WCCC, and seven are pre-trial felons who are being held temporarily at HCF. The seven will return to HCCC once the outbreak there has been mitigated.

An additional six sentenced inmates were also transferred to Kulani Correctional Facility.

“We have made no secret of the fact that our jails, especially HCCC, are overcrowded. The COVID-19 pandemic adds an extra burden to these facilities,” said Max Otani, DPS director.

“We have been looking at options to temporarily free up some space at the Big Island jail. DPS expedited an agreement with a private charter to fly inmates who were medically cleared of COVID to Oahu, so that HCCC now has a little more space to medically isolate, quarantine and cohort inmates.”

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Only inmates who have been vaccinated, and/or tested negative prior to transport, and deemed medically cleared to travel, were considered.

The newly admitted inmates on Oahu will remain in quarantine until cleared.

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