State seeks mainland
jail space for women
Isle officials hope to make
their choice by week's end
The state is looking for space in a mainland prison to hold Hawaii female inmates now at a troubled Colorado facility and possibly some prisoners from the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua.
At least three privately run prisons are under consideration, and the state hopes to choose one by the end of the week, said state Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike Gaede.
The state's contract with Tennessee-based GRW Corp. was to expire Sunday but has been extended 60 days. GRW Corp. runs a prison in Brush, Colo., where 80 Hawaii women are imprisoned.
One of the reasons why the state is looking for a new mainland facility is because Colorado does not accept transfers of maximum-security inmates, Gaede said.
The Brush facility was also rocked by a sexual misconduct scandal earlier this year involving male prison guards and female inmates from Hawaii, Wyoming and Colorado.
The prison warden resigned in February and two prison guards were later charged with felonies.
Colorado state prison officials investigating the sexual misconduct allegations also found five Brush employees had felony convictions.
Wyoming has already pulled its women inmates out of Brush. Brush Correctional Facility is not among the prisons under consideration.
"They didn't even bid," Gaede said.
Hawaii officials are also looking for a prison that can accommodate more than the 80 Hawaii female inmates at Brush because of crowding at the Women's Community Correctional Center.
There are about 300 women at the Kailua facility, which is designed to hold 268 inmates, said Francis Sequeira, Women's Community Correctional Center acting warden.
The state has been shipping inmates to mainland prisons to relieve crowding in island prisons since 1997 after settling a federal consent decree covering the Oahu and Women's community correctional centers.