Public Safety director addresses escapee concerns

Misconduct investigation underway; Corrections officers undergoing refresher training

 UPDATED 9:28 PM HST Feb 26, 2013
HONOLULU -

The state Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai held an internal, top-to-bottom procedural review of last week’s escape incident to see what went wrong and work on ways to improve security during transports.  On Tuesday, Sakai held a news conference to discuss the findings.

On Monday, officials from the Oahu Community Correctional Center briefed the director on the entire timeline, from when the van was loaded until the escape.

It is procedure to put full handcuffs, belly chains and leg shackles on all inmates being transported.  During the review, it was noted that no one in that van had leg shackles on.

“The escape could have been prevented if shackles were put on Teddy Munet’s legs,” said Sakai.  "As a result, all Adult Corrections Officers who handle transports are currently undergoing refresher training.  I have also asked the National Institute for Corrections to send in an expert who will advise on best practices for Corrections transportation."

A misconduct investigation is also currently underway.

During Tuesday’s news conference, Sakai spoke to the news media about several other concerns brought up in recent days.  The open gate during off loading was addressed.  Immediately after last week’s incident, Sakai issued a mandate, in writing and verbally, that all protocol regarding inmate transfer will be followed.  The gate will be closed and locked while the inmate unloading is in progress.  All other vans will wait outside the sally port until that van has cleared.

The manual gate and overcrowding in the sally port was also discussed.   The building is owned by the Judiciary.  Sakai has already begun setting up meetings with Judiciary representatives to discuss the possibility of adding an automatic gate as well as limiting that entrance to just Law Enforcement and Corrections transports.

Another issue brought up in the past few days was overall communication.  As a result, the Nixle Alert System was implemented on Friday.  Anyone can go to Nixle.com and sign up for free.   Alerts from Public Safety as well as local law enforcement and other agencies can be sent directly to their phone or email.

The Corrections Division is also working with the Sheriff Division to get hooked into their radio system.  This will promote a more streamlined communication effort between OCCC and the Sheriff dispatch.

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