State Supreme Court ends pandemic prison release program

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OCCC / File image(HNN Archive)
Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 8:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that there was no longer a need for a pandemic prison release program, citing a decline in positive COVID cases in Hawaii’s correctional centers and facilities.

The court ruled a blanket order requiring low-level inmates and pre-trial misdemeanants out of custody was no longer necessary.

Four of the justices ruled in favor for the end of the program, citing a low rate of positive cases, an increase in COVID testing and implementation of other health and safety measures in facilities. They also cited a vaccination program which is underway to inoculate inmates.

The prison release program was originally put into effect back in August to reduce the risk of COVID outbreaks in facilities.

The new ruling will also allow individual judges to decide whether or not to release someone.

One justice dissented saying the other four justices were not taking into consideration the risk of new COVID prison outbreaks seriously.

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