Critic calls for fence around jail in Hilo
How three inmates escaped on Sunday is now in dispute
HILO » The Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo, where three inmates escaped Sunday evening, is the only secure correctional facility in the state that does not have a fence around it, says retired police Maj. Cheryl Reis.
A longtime critic of the facility, Reis lives across the street from the entrance. She hopes the Legislature will provide money for a fence.
Kole Kuokamakana Race-Joaquin: He is awaiting trial for car theft and seven drug offenses
Franklin Enos: A former convict on drug offenses, he was being held for violating parole
Shawn DeCosta: He was serving time for car theft and possessing a dangerous drug
State Rep. Jerry Chang, who represents the district, recalled another escape in June. "Now that there have been two of these incidents, there's more ammunition for me to lobby my colleagues," he said.
Meanwhile, police said they had numerous tips, but the three fugitives remained at large last night.
They were identified as Shawn DeCosta, 25, Kole Race-Joaquin, 23, and Franklin Enos, 31. All are considered dangerous.
How the inmates got out is now in dispute. Police say jail officers told them the men climbed down a 30-foot drop from a jimmied window using bed sheets.
Department of Public Safe- ty spokesman Michael Gaede said there is no evidence that sheets were used, or that any of the men jumped, which would probably have caused injuries.
Although there is no perimeter fence, there are internal fences for parts of the Hilo facility, Reis said. When an escape occurs, no notice is given to surrounding residents, she said. They learn about it by reading about it in the newspaper.
A security team from Oahu was at the Hilo jail yesterday reviewing security issues, Gaede said.
The department is aware of needs at all of the state's community jails, which generally house pretrial detainees and convicts serving a year or less.
On Kauai, detainees are held in temporary Quonset huts built after Hurricane Iniki in 1992, he said. In Kona, a $500,000 study is under way for a center for pretrial detainees. A new site for the Maui facility will be announced later this month, but a "lot of tedious detail" has to be completed before it can be built, Gaede said.
One reason for moving the Maui facility is that it is in a residential area. The same is true of the Hilo facility, but there are no plans to move that jail, Chang said.