Maui is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. But it’s not only the streets or the beaches that are getting crowded, it’s also the jail. Eileen Chao has more from The Maui News.
Overcrowding continues to plague Maui's only jail. The warden of Maui Community Correctional Center gave media a tour of the facility last week. He said that the Kahului center is more than 150 inmates over capacity. What's worse, there's no space to expand, and efforts to build another jail on Maui appear to have stalled.
The Legislature set aside one and a half million dollars for the planning of a new Maui jail last session, but public safety officials say the funds have not yet been released by the governor. They could not immediately say when the money would be released. Warden James Hirano said a new site is critical, as there’s no room to expand the current facility along Waiale Road.
The jail’s last expansion in 1994 maxed out the limits of the 7-acre property. The aging facility is more than 40 years old and needs constant repairs. Three or four inmates often cram into cells designed for just two people. The crowding of inmates has been a problem for Maui and other jails throughout the state for more than a decade. Most of the inmates at the Maui jail are pre-trial detainees waiting for a court hearing or those sentenced to less than one year.