HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Old fashioned keys are now needed to open some of the doors at the Halawa Correctional Facility.
The doors are supposed to be automatic, with staff remotely controlling them. In emergencies, all the cells can be opened or closed. But last week, corrections officers noticed doors in some sections of the prison, randomly opening or unlocking. The Department of Public Safety stopped using the automated system, and went back to using keys.
That creates a safety issue for officers.
"If a staff is in there carrying keys and the keys will open all the doors and the inmate overpowers the staff, then we have a problem," says Ted Sakai, Director of the Department of Public Safety.
Maximum security prisoners are not being allowed their one-hour a day time outside for now. Access to the library, learning center and the main walkway of the prison is also being limited to minimize the risk.
Sakai says the electronics system is old, the original from 1987. A part malfunctioned and caused the failure. That part came in from the mainland Tuesday and crews are working on the system. DPS hopes everything will be back up by Thursday.
Next year, the entire electronics system will be replaced in an eight million dollar project.