Kaneohe lawmakers: State hospital escape is unacceptable
Kaneohe lawmakers say the state's handling of Saito's escape is "unacceptable." They want answers, and they want improvements.
HONOLULU - Kaneohe lawmakers say the state's handling of Saito's escape is "unacceptable." They want answers, and they want improvements.
Sen. Jill Tokuda, Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole, and Rep. Ken Ito say they are fed up with lack of transparency and slow bureaucracy when it comes to government oversight of the state hospital.
They say, for years, there have been many problems regarding the state hospital- from patient escapes, to how the public is notified about those escapes. The state hospital sits right next to a college and a popular district park, making the need for safety and communication even more critical. In the immediate future, they will be asking to work with the city's public alert system, because they say it's more efficient. They're also planning to press state officials for meetings every few weeks, with a goal to have answers about the escape by the end of the year.
"That this individual, in 2017, was missing for eight hours before the public was notified and residents in the area were notified, is unacceptable," said Rep. Keohokalole.
Representative Ito says he intends to introduce two new bills next session. One bill would relocate the hospital patients to a special unit at the new prison being built in Halawa. The other would relocate the patients to a mainland facility.
If you want to talk to State Hospital administrators or Sen. Tokuda, Rep. Ito, and Rep. Keohokalole, they'll be at the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board meeting on Thursday night. It's on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria at 45-259 Waikalua Road in Kaneohe.