Gov. Ige tours MCCC for a first-hand look at damage following riots, escapes

Updated: Apr. 16, 2019 at 5:17 PM HST
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WAILUKU, MAUI — A month after an inmate uprising at the Maui Community Correctional Center, Gov. David Ige toured the facility for an update on repairs.

He timed his visit in mid-afternoon to catch the shift change at the jail in Wailuku, so he could speak to as many staff members as possible.

He spent about an hour walking the grounds and surveying buildings accompanied by Maui Mayor Mike Victorino and DPS Director Nolan Espinda.

“I think it’s about investing and repairing this facility to make sure it’s a safe environment for the public servants who work here,” he said.

The governor wanted to see for himself how repairs are going, following what guards called a riot on March 11.

During that disturbance more than 200 inmates breached their cell doors, lit fires and did significant damage in two modules.

Ige’s visit also comes just days after two inmates managed to escape through a backdoor.

So far the state has spent about $51,000 on repairs.

“We need to replace some of the toilets and fixtures that were damaged. We’re waiting on repair of those and replacement of some doors. Most of the glazing work has been completed. The staff here has been put through some tremendous trauma, structural trauma as well as emotional trauma,” Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said.

Besides $5 million in emergency funding, lawmakers allocated $8 million for long-term fixes to the aged facility.

“It is overcrowded clearly,” Ige said. “We walked into one of the cells, and to imagine four people being in that cell — a very small space —I can certainly see the stress that overcrowding provides in a facility like this.”

“We have reduced the size of the population here,” Espinda said. “In the meantime we hope to get enough of the repairs done such that it safe to return all inmates back to Maui.”

There are about 370 inmates inside the correctional center. About 30 inmates who participated in the riot are being held on Oahu.

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