With a high number of corrections officers calling in sick, weekend visitors to the facilities have been turned away time and again.
Relatives of inmates at Oahu Community Correctional Center and Hawaii Community Correctional Center have come to expect changes in their visitation schedules.
But prison system officials say they plan to address the high number of sick leave calls among other changes.
Public safety director Ted Sakai says inadequate staffing is not just a weekend problem.
"For the wardens it's almost a day to day proposition – who's coming to work," said Sakai.
Hawaii's Department of Public Safety is now taking big steps, including investigations into cases of possible sick leave abuse.
"We know there are some days where the sick leave call ins tend to be very high and we know what they are – Super Bowl, New Year's, things like that," said Sakai.
But not all call ins are false. Sakai says job stress and a hostile environment can lead to poor health. That has inspired the department to explore a Wellness Program to help corrections officers deal with health issues.
Other situations are presenting challenges. If an inmate is hospitalized or deemed suicidal, an officer is taken off visitation duty and reassigned to an inmate. Another big change is coming in the way these officers are hired.
Sakai says part of the solution is getting the right people for the positions, so the department is changing its recruitment methodology. It is looking for men and women who want a career, not just a job.
136 vacancies in the department need to be filled. At the Career Expo, employers say any law enforcement related job requires a special kind of person.
"It comes down to service, serving the community. We don't want people saying that, thinking that's what we want to hear. You have to be able to demonstrate it. You don't need the uniform to do good things," said Detective Glen Luecke of the Honolulu Police Department.
"We are definitely looking for somebody very personable, somebody who's willing to dedicate themselves to the job, somebody who has experience of course, and is also willing to learn the position," said Lindsay George of HiEmployment.
Even with the right people, Sakai says the issue always boils down to funding. The department's priority is getting the facilities repaired and modernized so everyone's job can be done a little easier.
One labor-saving program being considered is video visiting. However, Takai says the option is not available until the buildings undergo expensive modernization and re-wiring.