24 inmates will be released from OCCC as state seeks to relieve overcrowding at facility

Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 12:06 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first wave of inmates will be released into the community on Wednesday as the state works to control the spread of COVID-19 at Oahu Community Correctional Center.

According to the Department of Public Safety, there are now at least 249 positive cases at OCCC.

And on Wednesday, at least 24 inmates who have been cleared by officials will be released.

Lawyers for Equal Justice questions whether the government could have better prevented the spread of the virus if more inmates were released earlier.

While there were concerns of those released committing serious offenses, LEG Litigation Director Tom Helper said 80% were arrested again for minor violations.

“Most of the people who were re-arrested were arrested for things like homelessness related offenses, sleeping in the park,” said Helper. “For technical offenses such as failing to call a probation officer.”

Helper said DPS failed to provide services to help them succeed in the community.

“In many cases, they failed to carry out that responsibility and pushed off on to social service providers who basically were overwhelmed,” said Helper. “So, we hope that this time around with the new round of releases that Department of Public Safety will do better than it did last time.”

DPS said they are doing the best they can to make sure inmates are being released appropriately. They’ve started to give the Department of Health the names of all OCCC inmates scheduled for release.

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