In the Media

Hawaii News Now
Ted Sakai, ‘tireless’ champion for Hawaii prison reform, dies at 77
Ted Sakai, a longtime public safety leader and advocate for prison reform in Hawaii, has died. He was 77.
March 18, 2024

Civil Beat
Senate Committee Scraps Bill To Cut The Pay Of Hawaii Corrections Oversight Coordinator
Critics of the bill say it’s the latest in a series of moves to undermine or defund the panel, which has drawn attention to major problems and the need for reforms.
January 9, 2024

Civil Beat
Senators Move To Cut The Pay Of The Top Staffer On Hawaii’s Prison Oversight Commission
Both county prosecutors and the Hawaii Public Defender’s Office urged lawmakers to reject the bill, which would have singled out a staff member at one agency.
January 9, 2024

Civil Beat
Hawaii Prisons Need More Thorough Internal Investigations, Commission Says
The state corrections commission encountered an array of problems during facility tours, including some serious safety violations.
January 1, 2024

Civil Beat
Hawaii Prison Chief Wants Department Changes To Bring ‘Paradigm Shift’
Tommy Johnson will become the director of Corrections and Rehabilitation after the Public Safety Department is dissolved on Monday.
December 28, 2023

Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Survey finds Hawaiʻi correctional officers feel a lack of support for job-related stress
Hawaiʻi correctional officers say they get less support than inmates for the stressors they experience at jails.
December 22, 2023

Civil Beat
Prisons Director And Corrections Commission Agree To Keep Talking And Meeting
After a brief impasse, Department of Public Safety Director Tommy Johnson is once again participating in meetings.
December 21, 2023

Star Advertiser
Editorial: Corrections panel needs full support
The Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission — a necessary, independent body tasked with overseeing Hawaii’s troubled prisons and jails — was hit with two body blows in recent weeks…
December 18, 2023

Ka Wai Ola
The Invisible Diaspora
Hundreds of Paʻahao are Serving Their Sentences on the Continent…
December 1, 2023

Hawaii Correctional System Commissioner resigns
December 11, 2023

Civil Beat
Hawaii Prisons Oversight Commissioner Resigns Due to Health Concerns
Colleagues praised Ted Sakai for his decades of service, saying he dedicated his career to making the system more humane.
December 11, 2023

Star Advertiser
Hawaii corrections oversight commissioner steps down
A veteran state public safety official serving on the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission stepped down…
December 11, 2023

Civil Beat
Tommy Johnson told the oversight coordinator that neither he nor his staff will attend the meetings, though they’ll engage in other ways.
November 30, 2023

The Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC) in Hilo is over its capacity levels by more than 70 people.
October 5, 2023

Civil Beat
Prison developer CoreCivic says it will decide if it will compete for the $900 million project based on ‘the specific requirements’ of the solicitation.
October 2, 2023

Civil Beat
The jail is supposed to be built on the site of the old animal quarantine station in Halawa, but the quarantine station probably won’t relocate for another two or three years.
September 25, 2023

Civil Beat
Critics want officials to divert their focus to correctional reform.
September 10, 2023

Civil Beat
More aggressive minimum sentences coincide with severe overcrowding and deteriorating prison conditions.
September 1, 2023

Civil Beat
Prisons Hawaii Inmates Are Kept Behind Bars To Complete Programs They Can’t Get Into
Prisoners often face an uphill battle to complete drug and behavioral programs required by the parole board.
August 8, 2023

Civil Beat
The Correctional System Oversight Commission has provided the public with an unprecedented window into the operations of Hawaii’s troubled prisons and jails.
July 24, 2023

Civil Beat
The paroling authority sets the minimum terms that inmates must serve before they can be released from prison, a task that other states assign to judges
July 4, 2023

Civil Beat
It is imperative for Hawaii’s policymakers to continually explore meaningful ways to make government at every level more open, transparent, deliberative and..
May 28, 2023

Civil Beat
Efforts to build a new stadium and a new prison on Oahu have stalled for years. And the Hawaii Tourism Authority lives on
May 25, 2023

Hawaii News Now
Prison reform advocates outraged over $10M allocated for …
Prison reform advocates outraged over $10M allocated for new OCCC … officials are advocating for a new Oahu Community Correctional Center.
May 9, 2023

Civil Beat
The Civil Beat Editorial Board Interview: Former Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Mike Wilson
Judges and justices must retire at 70, but Wilson is as engaged as ever with environmental issues and criminal justice reform.
April 30, 2023

Situation is critical: Some inmates released from HCCC …
“HCCC has been I think the worst facility I’ve seen,” said Christin Johnson, Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission coordinator.
April 25, 2023

Civil Beat
The Senate proposed spending $25 million to plan and solicit bids to replace the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center. The House offered nothing
Apr 24, 2023

Civil Beat
Judge: ‘Seeing Is Believing’ When It Comes To ‘Atrocious’ Conditions At The Hilo Jail
Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen is frustrated that judges on the Big Island are releasing people who were arrested for multiple felonies…
March 27, 2023

Civil Beat
Legislature Must Fully Fund Correctional System Oversight Commission
Hawaii’s jails and prisons have been part of the hidden world of punishment for decades.
March 15, 2023

Honolulu Civil Beat
Watchdog Cites ‘Inhumane Conditions’ And Security Lapse At Oahu Jail
The correctional oversight commission observed gates left open and continued problems with the electronic medical records system at the Oahu jail.
March 13, 2023

West Hawaii Today
‘Still more to be done’ HCCC facility has seen improvements following commission’s report, but it’s…
A sign about ongoing mechanical and electrical system repairs is displayed last week in front of the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.
March 5, 2023

Body and Digital Cameras Could Be Required at State Correctional Facilities
HONOLULU-HI (KITV4) Sexual assault at the women’s community correctional center is unfortunately not a new problem. The Hawaii Correctional System Oversight…
March 1, 2023

Civil Beat
Oahu Women’s Prison May Have To Install Cameras In Control Booths
A measure that would require the Hawaii prison system to finally install digital cameras in the control booths used by corrections officers who supervise…
February 6, 2023

Civil Beat
Lawmakers Want More Information Made Public On Inmate Deaths In State Prisons And Jails
State lawmakers are pressing corrections officials to post a public notice each time a prison or jail inmate dies in custody, and want information on the…
January 31, 2023

Civil Beat
Death Of An 87-Year-Old Inmate At Halawa Prison Was Covid-Related
The Hawaii Department of Health has determined the death of an 87-year-old prisoner at Halawa Correctional Facility last month was related to Covid-19,…
January 20, 2023

Civil Beat
Gov. Josh Green Wants ‘A Better Proposal’ For New Oahu Jail
The Hawaii correctional system is requesting another $25 million to pay for planning and procurement of a new jail on Oahu, but Gov. Josh Green has told his…
January 20, 2023

Hawaii State Prison EHR Outage Limits Provider Access to Health Records
January 05, 2023 – The Hawaii state correctional system’s EHR has not worked properly since June, hampering provider access to health records for many…

Hawaii News Now
To address staffing shortfalls, 12-hour shifts proposed for adult corrections officers
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Staffing shortages have another law enforcement agency considering out-of-the-box shift changes to attract new applicants.
Jan 5, 2023

Civil Beat
Preventing Prison Rapes: The Fight For Video Cameras At Hawaii’s Women’s Prison Continues
Poor video monitoring in the facility’s control stations has been an issue for years and a recent inspection found only 40% of the cameras worked.
Dec 29, 2022

Civil Beat
Hawaii’s Prison Medical Records System Has Reached A Point of ‘Absolute Crisis’
The state correctional system is struggling with an electronic medical records system that hasn’t worked properly since June, and medical staff at Hawaii…
Dec 16, 2022

Hawaii News Now
These inmates have access to better facilities. The price? They’re 3,000 miles from home
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Eloy, Arizona is in the middle of the desert ― about an hour from Phoenix. It’s a sharp contrast from Hawaii.
Dec 14, 2022

Civil Beat
Hawaii Prison Inmate Faces The Death Penalty For A 2010 Murder In An Arizona Prison
An Arizona jury last week found prisoner Miti Maugaotega Jr. guilty of first-degree murder and will now decide if he should be executed,…
Dec 11, 2022

Civil Beat
Jury Decides Warden Isn’t Liable For Sexual Assaults In Hawaii Women’s Prison
Lawyers for women who were sexually abused say they will ask a federal judge to overturn the jury’s decision.
Nov 16, 2022

Civil Beat
Hawaii’s New Governor Will Have To Make Some Hard Decisions On Crime And Punishment
Max Otani, the outgoing director of the state Department of Public Safety, has a wish list and a warning for the next governor of Hawaii.
Nov 6, 2022

Civil Beat
Lawsuit: Working Cameras Needed To Prevent Sexual Assaults At Women’s Prison
This is the second federal trial in the civil case dealing with claims by women inmates who say they were assaulted in the control booths of the facility.
Nov 1, 2022

Hawaii News Now
‘High tensions’ at Hilo jail because of lack of services, overcrowding
I’ve been to nearly 50 corrections facility across the country and I’ve never seen one in this condition, ever.”
Oct 29, 2022

Civil Beat
Judge: Prison Officials Must Release Names Of Inmates Who Die In Custody
A Hawaii Circuit Court judge on Tuesday ruled the state Department of Public Safety must release the names of prison and jail inmates who die in state…
Oct 26, 2022

Civil Beat
Another Death At The Maui Jail Is Apparently A Suicide
A 44-year-old Molokai woman who died at the Maui Community Correctional Center Monday night apparently committed suicide, making her the sixth prisoner to…
Oct 20, 2022

Civil Beat
Panel Report: Start Over On Plan For A New Oahu Jail
A new report could be the focus of legislative discussions this coming session on a long touted and often criticized new Oahu jail facility.
Oct 19, 2022

Big Island Now
Neighbors of overcrowded jail in residential area of Hilo want …
During an Oct. 5 meeting of the Hawaiʻi County Council Committee on … the Hawai’i Correctional System Oversight Commission issued a report…
Oct 16, 2022

Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Lawmakers OK resolution calling for relocation of HCCC
The Hawaii County Council and a state oversight commission agree that the Hawaii Community Correctional Center should be moved to a different location.
Oct 6, 2022

West Hawaii Today
‘There’s going to be a breaking point’
KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Deputy Public Defender Jon Ikenaga urged the state’s high court to reduce the population at Hawaii jails – Hawaii Community…
Oct 2, 2022

Civil Beat
Some Inmates Were Stuck At The Hilo Jail Because They Couldn’t Post $15 Bail
A state prisons expert says she was surprised by how bad the conditions are at the Big Island corrections facility.
Sep 23, 2022

Big Island Video News
Concerns Raised At Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center
HILO, Hawaiʻi – A Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission report details issues found during an August 25th tour of the “egregiously overcrowded”…
Sep 11, 2022

Report outlines ‘egregious’ overcrowding, other issues at Hilo Community Correctional Center
A damaging report by the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission revealed unsuitable conditions at Hilo’s exceedingly crowded correctional facility.
Sep 9, 2022

West Hawaii Today
Overcrowding at HCCC ‘a serious and immediate concern’
A report by the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission details the effects of chronic overcrowding at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.
Sep 7, 2022

Civil Beat
Lack Of Working Video Cameras At Hawaii Prisons Complicates Abuse Investigations
The Women’s Community Correctional Center has a long history of allegations of sexual misconduct, and broken cameras make it harder to prove cases.
Sep 6, 2022

Civil Beat
Hawaii Oversight Commission Finds ‘Unacceptable’ Conditions At The Crowded Hilo Jail
Corrections officials agree to transfer inmates to a prison on Oahu to ease dangerous overcrowding at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Sep 2, 2022

Civil Beat
‘An Epic Fail:’ Hawaii Inmate Medical Records System Hasn’t Worked Right For Months
A top prison official said computer updates weren’t done for the system, and health workers at Hawaii’s jails and prisons lost access to thousands of…
Aug 28, 2022

Civil Beat
How A ‘First Step’ In Prison Reform Sparked A Public Backlash And A Likely Veto
More than three years ago, a panel of Hawaii’s police chiefs, judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers came up with a package of proposals to overhaul the…
Jun 26, 2022

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Letters: Teach the public how to recycle properly; Give new HPD chief a break from criticism; There are bet…
Unfortunately, it will take much more than the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission’s tepid call for the already overburdened…
Jun 21, 2022

Civil Beat
Staffing Shortages At The Oahu Jail Are Raising Alarms About Safety And OT Costs
Employees at Hawaii’s largest jail say short staffing at the facility has reached a crisis point that is putting both inmates and exhausted corrections…
Jun 13, 2022

Civil Beat
Investigation Shows Hawaii Prison Officials Tried To Cover Up Errors Leading Up To An Inmate’s Death
The internal affairs report claimed staff had been trained in suicide prevention policies, and a guard made the required cell checks.
May 19, 2022

Civil Beat
An Inmate’s Suicide Is Prompting Calls For ‘Meaningful Change’ In Hawaii’s Prison System
The prison director told an oversight commission that the correctional system is trying to prevent inmate suicide but can do better.
May 19, 2022

Civil Beat
Hawaii’s Prison Oversight Commission Finally Gets A Staffer – 3 Years Later
The lack of staff has effectively hobbled the work of the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission.
Apr 25, 2022

PBS Hawai’i
PBS Hawai’i
The decade-long effort to replace Oʻahu’s outdated and overcrowded jail continues. To date the state has spent nearly 10 million dollars in planning and…
Mar 30, 2022

Honolulu Civil Beat
The Civil Beat Editorial Board Interview: Criminal Justice Reform Advocate Kat Brady
As coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons she lobbies lawmakers and other officials for a more humane system. It’s an uphill battle.
Mar 28, 2022

Civil Beat
Debate Over Who Should And Shouldn’t Be In Jail Is Tripping Up Plans For A New Oahu Facility
The seemingly endless debate over bail reform in Hawaii has taken a new turn this year after a key House lawmaker declared she will block the funding needed…
Mar 25, 2022

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Planning for new Oahu jail hits snag over state funding
… two years ago to initiate reform in Hawaii’s correctional system. The Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission took a position…
Mar 29, 2022

Civil Beat
Restorative Justice Group Calls For Sweeping Reform Of Women’s Prison System
A group of prominent women is pushing for a complete overhaul of Hawaii’s women’s prison system through a slew of bills under consideration by the…
February 24, 2022

Civil Beat
Planning Costs Climb For New Oahu Jail As Debate Drags On Over Its Scope
Gov. David Ige is asking lawmakers to put up $15 million next year to design a new jail to replace the aging and inefficient Oahu Community Correctional…
Jan 3, 2022

Civil Beat
Corrections Commission Wants To Pause Planning On New …
“We will review the report the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission submits to the legislature and determine the best path forward,”…
Dec 17, 2020

Civil Beat
Corrections Commission Again Urges A Pause In Planning For A New Jail
A commission that oversees the Hawaii correctional system is again urging the Department of Public Safety to delay plans for a new Oahu jail while the state…
Dec 16, 2021

Big Island inmates moved to Oahu to address overcrowding in Hilo prison outbreak
The Department of Public Safety reported 107 active cases of COVID19 at Hawaii Community Correctional Center — 103 inmates and 4 staff.
Nov 29, 2021

Civil Beat
The Civil Beat Editorial Board Interview: Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald
The chief justice talks about adapting to Covid, case backlogs, judicial vacancies, diversity on the bench and budget priorities.
Nov 22, 2021

Civil Beat
Civil Beat Files Lawsuit To Learn Who Has Died In State Custody
When it comes to disclosing information about the men and women who die in Hawaii’s prisons and jails, the state Department of Public Safety has been in…
Oct 29, 2021

Civil Beat
Hawaii Prisons Are Finally Moving Forward With An ID Program For Inmates
More than four years after the state Legislature passed a law requiring the prison system to issue outgoing inmates with identification cards, corrections…
Oct 21, 2021

Civil Beat
Corrections Commission Is Poised to Hire Staff After Two Years Of Delay
More than two years after lawmakers created the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission to act as an independent state watchdog, the commission has…
Oct 1, 2021

Hawaii Public Radio
Parent of Hālawa Inmate Is Concerned Staff Are Not Following …
Seven inmates at the Hālawa Correctional Facility were … who now sits on the state Oversight Commission for Hawaiʻi’s Correctional System,…
Sep 20, 2021

Civil Beat
A New Oahu Jail May Need To Be A Lot Bigger In The Near …
Longtime prison reform advocate Kat Brady told the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission after a presentation by Pulitzer/Bogard…
Jul 15, 2021

Civil Beat
More Than Half Of Hawaii’s Inmates Have Been Vaccinated …
… we won’t have these type of outbreaks,” Johnson told members of the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission on Thursday.
Jun 25, 2021

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii corrections oversight panel struggling without staffing
The Hawaii Supreme Court in June tasked the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission with helping state officials deal with overcrowding and other…
Aug 20, 2020

Civil Beat
Problems Persist As Corrections Officials Struggle To Comply …
Attorney Eric Seitz told members of the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission that his office is pressing for appointment of a…
Aug 19, 2021

Civil Beat
Hawaii Legislature Agrees To Defer Pay Raises Ahead Of …
Lawmakers struck a deal Friday to fund a commission tasked with overseeing the state’s correctional system. The Hawaii Corrections Oversight…
Apr 23, 2021

Civil Beat
Hawaii Supreme Court Ends Early Release Of Inmates
The court order also said that issues regarding inmate populations should be dealt with by the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission,…
Apr 16, 2021

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
How major bills in Hawaii fared at the Capitol in 2021
Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission so that it can hire an oversight coordinator and support staff.
May 4, 2021

Civil Beat
State Has Spent Nearly $10 Million So Far Planning A New …
… the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission on Thursday. … Current plans call for a facility with room for about 1,044 jail…
Feb 18, 2021

Civil Beat
State Seeks Someone To Build And Finance New Oahu Jail
But the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission, which includes former Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai and two…
Feb 2, 2021

Civil Beat
Has Saguaro Prison Failed To Protect Hawaii Inmates From …
Saguaro Correctional Center, where inmates from Hawaii, Nevada, … but Hyun told the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission on…
Nov 19, 2020

Civil Beat
A Catastrophe Is Growing At Oahu’s Jail – Honolulu Civil Beat
For decades Hawaii has participated in a mass incarceration binge, … that the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission — a new…
Sep 1, 2020

Civil Beat
AG Won’t Release Information On COVID-19 Outbreak At …
At the Monday meeting of the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Itomura interrupted a question…
Aug 27, 2020

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
70 more OCCC inmates, 7 corrections officers test positive for coronavirus; Public Defender’s office peti…
With only testing of inmates in only two of the 19 housing modules at the Kalihi jail completed, Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said he expects there…
Aug 12, 2020

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii Supreme Court ends its inmate-release program meant to curb coronavirus spread
Since the initial order was issued in April, more than 650 inmates have been released.
Jun 5, 2020

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hundreds of Hawaii inmates freed from overcrowded facilities to limit exposure to COVID-19
More than 650 inmates at Hawaii’s correctional centers have been released since March in the ongoing effort to reduce crowding in jails and prisons and to…
May 1, 2020

Civil Beat
Hawaii Prison Plan For COVID-19 Emphasizes Hygiene Over …
Mark Patterson, chair of the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission, said the pandemic response plan does not address the…
Mar 26, 2020

Civil Beat
Critics: New Hawaii Prison Commissioners Too Connected To …
The correctional system oversight commission, which has a budget of $160,000 for fiscal year 2020, is supposed to keep the Hawaii Department…
Dec 12, 2019

Hawaii 24/7
Governor Ige appoints former prisons director Ted Sakai to new corrections oversight commission MEDIA RELEASE. HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige appointed former prisons director Ted Sakai to the new Hawai‘i Correctional System Oversight Commission..
Oct 30, 2019

Civil Beat
Senate Shoots Down Proposal To Buy Underused Federal …
Hawaii’s correctional facilities are so overcrowded that it has about … establishing the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission.
Mar 19, 2019