HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Maui Community Correctional Center inmate is speaking out about last month’s riot with messages from inside the jail.
Holden Bingham, 28, was released from custody last Sunday.
He says the riot on March 11th was intended to be a peaceful protest over the poor conditions at the facility – but escalated after inmates felt their concerns were falling on deaf ears.
"It wasn't anything planned, it wasn't anything against anybody or violence toward the ACOs, it was more toward the facility and the way we've been treated for so many years," said Bingham.
Bingham said he was in Module D when inmates Modules A and B starting rioting, but he said he later spoke with those inmates about what happened.
Those inmates gave him letters to publish when he was released, explaining their side of the story.
One inmate wrote, "It's been 31 days and we haven't been allowed to write to our families."
Another one said, “…the chief of security, who is trained to defuse the situation peacefully, threatened the inmates with violence and would not listen to our concerns.”
A third wrote, “We are also being denied from being able to purchase personal hygiene like soap, shampoo, conditioner and health products.”
A fourth inmate wrote, “It was traumatic. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t panicking, I was.”
Bingham said they may be criminals, but they are still human beings.
“Just because of something we’ve done, we shouldn’t be treated like animals,” he said.
After the riot, DPS Director Nolan Espinda said he was thankful that there were no injuries to any inmates.
Bingham said that was a lie.
"I don’t know the kid’s name but there was an inmate with a broken jaw, he never seen medical attention for like a week and a half,” Bingham said.
The Department of Public Safety officials issued a statement saying,
The department continues to cite extreme overcrowding the reason for the riot. It also said the disturbance is under investigation and internal review and there is nothing further they will be discussing about the investigation.
This Wednesday, the state senate is scheduled to decide whether to keep Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda.