Q&A: We asked the state about security protocols at the State Ho - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Q&A: We asked the state about security protocols at the State Hospital. Here's what they said

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KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The state has said they're conducting an exhaustive investigation to determine how "psychopathic" killer Randall Saito was able to escape from the Hawaii State Hospital and fly to California on Sunday, all before hospital officials notified authorities of the escape.

Saito was captured Wednesday in Stockton, Calif., thanks to a vigilant taxi driver

He faces extradition back to Hawaii, and will likely be held at OCCC when he returns.

The state has acknowledged that it shouldn't have taken 10 hours for State Hospital officials to report Saito's escape, and said a "major breakdown" of protocols is to blame. 

The State Hospital in Kaneohe is the state's only psychiatric facility for forensic patients. It has a maximum capacity of 202 beds, and the state contracts out with a private facility to hold additional patients. 

Hawaii News Now asked the state Health Department, which oversees the State Hospital, a series of questions to better understand their protocols.

  • What kind of “call in” mechanism is there for patients who have unescorted on-campus privileges who are required to check in? Are there hard-line phones placed around the facility?

Patients with unescorted on-campus privileges are required to check-in with staff face-to-face at their destination as soon as they arrive.  The desk staff then call for the patient to confirm the patient has arrived at his or her destination.  Hard-line phones are staffed by desk staff at each building.

  • What is supposed to happen if someone fails to call in?

Hospital staff are required to immediately notify supervisors and a search is conducted in the area. If the patient is not located, PSD (the Department of Public Safety) is notified and HPD is contacted.

  • Do you monitor what sites are being visited from your internet computers?

There is one on-campus program that allows patients to use computers.  This program monitors all the internet sites visited.  There are also off-campus programs at “clubhouses” that do not monitor internet use.  Those protocols are now being reviewed and will be corrected.

  • Do you have security able to physically see access points to the campus?

There are a total of 250 surveillance cameras on the hospital campus that monitor patient activity and movement.

  • The police department released a photo you apparently provided of Saito leaving the campus. Where was that photo taken?

The photo was taken from surveillance camera video.

  • How does security know whether a patient is allowed to leave the facility and which are not?

Patients are escorted by staff for off-campus appointments. Security guards question patients when they are seen without an escort.

  • How often are patient living areas searched for contraband? What happens when someone is found with it?

Unannounced searches of patient areas are conducted on an intermittent and unscheduled basis. Searches are being conducted more frequently in response  to the recent escape. Patients found in possession of contraband have their treatment protocols changed and their privileges may be revoked.

  • Is part of your mission to protect the public from potentially dangerous individuals in your care?

The mission of the Hawaii State Hospital is to provide excellent inpatient psychiatric services for court ordered individuals within a safe and therapeutic environment.

  • The hospital’s vision is to be a leader in the healthcare industry as evidenced by the following:
  • Relevant, effective, quality, and multidisciplinary services.
  • Competent staff through relevant and appropriate training programs.
  • Responsive to the needs of our patients.
  • Supportive of staff.
  • Promotion of a safe and appropriate environment.
  • A teaching hospital through our affiliation with academic institutions.
  • Integration with community partners.
  • Be a good member in the community.
  • Do you treat patients who have killed people, or have violent pasts, any differently from patients who do not?

Patients receive treatment based on their individual case evaluations and clinical needs.  Each patient is reviewed and decisions about patient care are determined by the clinical team overseeing each individual’s treatment.

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