Public safety chief assessing jail break - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Public safety chief assessing jail break

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai is still assessing how two Big Island inmates overpowered a guard, forced through a gate, and made their getaway from the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in a stolen car.

"We do know there are obviously some security issues there," he said. "There were no security cameras in that area. And we have been considering putting security cameras there."

But Sakai said installing more security cameras at HCCC is a challenge because of its configuration. There are multiple facilities to monitor.

"We've added buildings as we've needed. The buildings themselves aren't integrated into one whole facility that we can easily secure," he said.

Some question why the Adult Corrections Officer who was assaulted wasn't carrying a firearm.

"If the ACO had been armed and he was overpowered, now we've got inmates who are armed," he said.

HCCC houses inmates who are awaiting trial and serving short sentences. The facility holds about 100 more inmates than it was built to accommodate. Sakai said staffing is adequate to handle security, but he's exploring how to lower the prisoner population.

"What we want to do is look for low level offenders who are at HCCC and see if we can find programming in West Hawaii, so they can do their time in community based programs rather than sitting at HCCC," he said.

Sakai sent two internal affairs investigators to get to the bottom of the jail break. He said they concluded there was no wrongdoing on the part of HCCC staff.

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