Friday, July 30, 1999

Laumaka job furlough
confusion cleared up

By Crystal Kua


Issues surrounding furloughed inmates who were told that they could no longer work at a downtown Honolulu publishing firm have apparently been resolved.

"Everything is OK," Aloha Productions co-owner Mary Jean Henry said. "I just wasted the past three weeks but at least we got results."

Earlier this month, officials from the Laumaka Work Furlough Center told William Bal, Charles Ah Yun, Justin Agustin, Isaiah Kini and Albert Rivera that they had to find new full-time jobs by July 31.

The inmates were told that their job at Aloha Productions, which solicits advertising for the publications through telephone marketing, was considered "high risk" and the Hawaii Paroling Authority would not consider these jobs suitable for when they are paroled.

But the chairman of the parole board said the recommendation was intended for certain classifications of inmates such as sex offenders.

Miles Murakami, acting deputy warden of the Oahu Community Correctional Center, which oversees Laumaka operations, said the circumstances surrounding each inmate's employment will be assessed case by case.

Murakami said one inmate at Aloha Productions has been given full-time hours and therefore will be allowed to stay. The status of a second inmate who also has been offered full-time hours is pending.

Henry said the inmate who will be allowed to stay is Bal, who works with computers as an assistant clerk in the office. The inmate who's status is pending is Rivera, she said.

Henry said Kini has since been paroled and continues to work at Aloha Productions. Agustin took a forklift operators' job somewhere else and Ah Yun was sent back to OCCC on an outstanding warrant, Henry said.

Henry said that Laumaka's requirement that inmates obtain full-time hours was something that she was only told within the past two weeks. The inmates at her business had been working part time until the end of their probation.

"They never called me on the status, never given me feedback," Henry said.

Murakami said the requirements of the program may not have been communicated as clearly as they could have been and he has extended his assistance to Henry in the future if that should happen again.

Murakami said full-time hours have always been a requirement in the program. By law, work furlough inmates must reimburse the state for room and board and make enough money to be financially independent in order to be prepared for parole.

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