- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii’s largest state prison will be getting a new $9.9 million security system to replace its aging system of pushbutton locks.

The state plans to move about 250 inmates from Halawa Correctional Facility to a prison on the mainland early next year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper (https://is.gd/UHdsyB) reported. The plan is to clear out portions of the Honolulu prison so work can start on the replacement of the pushbutton locking system, which began failing in several sections in November.

“It’s old,” said state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz. “It’s the original system that was in place when the building was opened in 1987.”

The failure of the current system forced corrections officers to use keys to manually open doors in some areas, according to Schwartz. Prison officials say the system did not fail in any of the inmate housing areas and the problem with the locks never posed a security risk.

The installment of the new system should be completed in 16 months, Schwartz said. Besides $9.9 million cost for the new system, the state also plans to spend another $5.8 million moving and housing the 250 inmates on the mainland.

The first inmates are expected to be transferred to the mainland next February and the work to install the new system is expected to begin next March.

About 1,300 Hawaii inmates are already being held in Arizona prisons. According to state procurement records, the state spent $33.9 million last year to contract with Corrections Corp. of America to house those inmates.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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