EXCLUSIVE: 2 OCCC supervisors in trouble for allowing inmate's f - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: 2 OCCC supervisors in trouble for allowing inmate's father behind bars

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KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Two veteran supervisors at Oahu Community Correctional Center are accused of breaking the rules by allowing the father of an inmate into the facility to negotiate with his son who had barricaded himself and another prisoner into a cell.

They are also accused of trying to cover up the incident, sources said.

It's a troubling story because it raises serious questions about the competence and the honesty of the two men who were in charge of OCCC on Sunday, Jan. 3, when the incident happened.

The inmate and the father who negotiated his surrender are both suspected of being members of the USO prison gang, sources said.

Here’s what happened, according to four sources familiar with the incident: Two inmates tied a bed sheet to a bunk bed so guards couldn't open the door.  Then the inmates reportedly blocked the door entrance with their bunks, and poured liquid soap on the floor so guards couldn't get a foothold.

The inmates were trying to stop their transfer to a segregation unit for threatening another inmate.

The father and mother of one of those barricaded inmates were at OCCC when the standoff got underway, visiting another son who's also incarcerated there.

Guards reportedly asked the father to go behind bars to help them get his son to give himself up, which he successfully did, sources said.

Problem is: that's a security breach, because civilians are not allowed into the prisoners' living areas, except in special circumstances OK’d by either the warden or the chief of security.

And law enforcement usually never allows a relative direct contact with someone who's barricaded himself, since that can heighten emotions and tension in an already difficult situation.

To make matters worse, sources said the captain and lieutenant on duty that day never documented the incident in written reports as required, and even told subordinates not to report it.

A Public Safety Department spokeswoman declined to release details on the incident because of the personnel probe.

"We can only confirm that an incident which occurred this past weekend is currently under investigation," she said.

Sources said the two OCCC supervisors are now on 30 days leave without pay pending the outcome of that investigation. 

One longtime correction officer, who refused to be identified to avoid being disciplined for speaking to the media, said: “Most of us think there should not be an investigation at all. These people should be given a commendation for their quick thinking and resolving a possibly dangerous situation with no injuries to inmates of staff. The dad should get a letter from the warden or the director praising him for his help.”

But another veteran prisons employee familiar with what happened said, “You don’t bring a civilian behind bars to negotiate anything. They should know better.”

Sources said in spite of the New Year’s weekend, there were very few guard vacancies on Sunday and an "extraction team" of about a half dozen guards was suited up and ready to go in to end the barricade situation but was never activated.

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