Thursday, February 7, 2008

What to do about OCCC?

Oahu Community Correctional Center - 2199 Kamehameha Highway

The Oahu Community Correctional Center is the state's largest jail, situated on 16 acres in urban Honolulu. It is currently designed as a 950-bed facility housing pre-trial detainees. Today, the Public Safety and Military Affairs committee heard testimony on HB2685, which directs the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Planning to design a new minimum security facility on the site of OCCC.

Chair Cindy Evans said that OCCC is currently operating at 25% over its design capacity. Overcrowding is a major issue. And, while the facility was originally intended to be a community-based operation, Rep. Evans believes it has outgrown that role. According to the Department's website, in addition to its jail functions, the center provides re-integration programs for male sentenced felons.

The committee voted to pass the bill with amendments. Rather than on the same site as OCCC, Rep. Evans would like the department to work with the Department of Accounting and General Services to identify potential land in urban Honolulu for a vertical detention center. With the addition of the vertical facility, she wants OCCC to get back to its orginal intent as a community-based center. The bill now goes to Finance.

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