Public defender tells state high court prison situation ‘dire’

KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Deputy Public Defender Jon Ikenaga urged the state’s high court to reduce the population at Hawaii jails – Hawaii Community Correction Center in Hilo is pictured Wednesday – because of COVID-19.

Deputy Public Defender Jon Ikenaga told the state Supreme Court on Wednesday the current COVID-19 situation in Hawaii’s jails and prisons is “significantly more dire” than in August 2020 when the court issued an order to decrease populations in correctional facilities in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.