- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The percentage of prison guards across the state who called in sick on Super Bowl Sunday was down from last year, but nearly a third of all guards were still absent from work.

The Hawaii Public Safety Department said about 31 percent of corrections officers called in sick for the Feb. 7 game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. During last year’s Super Bowl, 35 percent called out of work, Hawaii News Now reported (http://bit.ly/1oIMXns).

Hawaii prisons chief Nolan Espinda attributed this year’s slight decline to the state filling more than 100 guard positions in 2015, but acknowledged that more work needed to be done.

“It’s a disturbingly high number. And we’re going to work consistently with the union and the employees themselves to improve that,” said Espinda, the state public safety director. “We’re going to constantly monitor our attendance program, we’re going to assure that people are appropriately using family leave and we’re going to ask them to be considerate of their co-workers in rearranging their schedule, when possible, ahead of time.”

Of the state’s prisons, Waiawa Correctional Facility had the highest percentage of guards who called in sick on Super Bowl Sunday. About 63 percent of those scheduled to work had stayed home.

Hilo’s Hawaii Community Correctional Center had about 40 percent of its guards say they were sick, while about 39 percent of guards at the women’s prison in Kailua stayed home.

Espinda said the department plans to add another 50 correctional officers to fill vacancies.

“The end result of that is more people working, less overtime and programs running on a regular basis,” said Espinda.

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Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/

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