Big Island prison clears Health Department hurdle

Published: Jul. 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM HST
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HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Health has issued a finding of no significant environmental impact for reopening Kulani Correctional Facility.

The finding by the Office of Environmental Quality Control clears a hurdle for the reopening of the Big Island medium-security prison.

The Hawaii Tribune Herald reports former Gov. Linda Lingle closed the correctional facility in 2009 because of a budget deficit.

About 30% of Hawaii inmates are now incarcerated in mainland prisons.

State officials want to reopen Kulani in July 2014. The Hawaii Legislature has approved $2.4 million for reactivating and operations.

Public Safety Director Ted Sakai says the facility will need 91 employees. The department has begun internal recruiting for some jobs.

Kulani is about 20 miles outside of Hilo.

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