The state Department of Public Safety held a ceremonial groundbreaking today to mark the start of construction of a new medium security housing structure for female inmates at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety Director Max Otani tells Maui Now said the project will help to address overcrowding and meet gender specific and programming needs as inmates transition back into the community.
“MCCC has been one of the facilities that has experienced severe overcrowding for decades now… This will be a female housing unit, and MCCC’s first housing unit that we actually built for females. The third benefit of this project will be the new design of the facility,” he said.
“The overcrowding at the jail has been a longstanding concern, and one that the Department has actively searched for a solution to for many years. This additional housing isn’t a long-term solution, but it will help alleviate some of the severe overcrowding and help PSD better serve the needs of MCCC’s pre-trial population,” said Otani. “The Department is extremely grateful for the support of legislators, city and county officials, state and local agencies and the public who helped bring the project to fruition”.
The Capitol Improvement Project will add up to 32 beds in a mini-dorm setting with open dormitories on the lower level and mini-dormitories on the upper level, according to Rey Rios, project coordinator with the state Department of Accounting and General Services.
The expanded housing includes more indoor space, large and small multi-purpose areas, and a natural light dayroom. The new facility will also feature an enclosed, outdoor open-air recreation space and viewing garden, aimed at enhancing a culture of rehabilitation, according to PSD officials.
Dan Blackburn, F&H Construction Division Manager has been working on plans for more than two years. He said he learned today that the building permit is ready to be picked up, paving the way for construction to commence.
PSD spokesperson Toni Schwartz said construction is expected to take approximately two years.