New changes at Halawa PrisonUPDATED 8:21 PM HST Jun 03, 2014Video Transcript
Facility means face-to-face, but not hand-in-hand. Good evening, I'm Paula Akana. Thanks for joining us, I'm Yunji De Nies. A new visitation policy at the medium security prison begins this weekend... And it means inmates and loved ones will no longer exchange hugs and kisses. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with tonight's top story at six. Andrew? Yunji, Paula... Prison officials say visitations are one of the main ways contraband gets into Halawa, but they now believe they've got that problem solved. 9 1.10 123 Inmates at Halawa Correctional can still see and hear their loved ones through 47 new windows, but the human touch is no longer allowed. TED SAKAI: "I DON'T KNOW IF ANYBODY WILL CHALLENGE US LEGALLY, BUT I'M CONFIDENT THAT WE'LL PASS MUSTER." The no-contact policy hopes to stem the flow of illegal drugs and other contraband into the prison. In about a month Public Safety Director Ted Sakai should have more information how drugs make there way into the facility, which averages about 1,000 inmates. Earlier this year two Halawa adult corrections officers were arrested for allegedly bringing methamphetami ne into the medium security prison. James "Kimo" Sanders pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing; Mark Damas is awaiting trial. TED SAKAI: "ANYTIME WE GET INFORMATION THAT ANY STAFF MIGHT BE INVOLVED WE'RE GOING TO FOLLOW-UP AND INVESTIGATE. AND IF WE CAN GET THE EVIDENCE WE'RE GOING TO GET 'EM." Right now ACOs have their bags screened by other prison guards before reporting for duty. Any further checks such as pat downs must first be cleared by their union, which did not reply to a KITV4 request for comment. TED SAKAI: "I'VE ALREADY TALKED TO UPW, THEY SUPPORT THE CONCEPT, THEY JUST NEED TO SEE THE SPECIFIC PROCEDURES." ANDREW PEREIRA: "THE NEW VISITATION ROOMS ARE MEANT TO CUT DOWN ON THE FLOW OF CONTRABAND INTO THE PRISON. HOWEVER THESE NEW ROOMS COULD ALSO HELP KEEP WEEKEND VISITATIONS ON TRACK. SINCE JAN. 1 NINE VISITATIONS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED BECAUSE OF STAFF SHORTAGES." MAJ. LYLE ANTONIO: "DURING THE CONTACT VISITS WE USUALLY HAVE SIX OFFICERS ASSIGNED UP HERE TO CONDUCT VISITS. NOW THAT WE HAVE NON- CONTACT WE CAN BASICALLY OPERATE WITH A MINIMUM OF FOUR." Like other state workers ACO's must provide a doctor's note to supervisors, but only after their fifth consecutive absence. Director Sakai said a change in that policy would also help keep visitations on track. However that too must be negotiated with the United Public Workers union. Yunji?