Public Records on Hawaii Prisoners Held by CCA Will Cost You $23,000
Mother Jones
November 3, 2016

“Each year, Hawaii spends tens of millions of dollars to house prisoners on the mainland, a practice that it has maintained for more than 25 years.

“But the state’s taxpayers are kept in the dark about much of what goes on at the Saguaro Correctional Center, a private Arizona prison where about 1,400 Hawaii prisoners are housed.

“This year, we’ve been examining our prison system—including the mainland facility—in our investigative series, “Hawaii Behind Bars.”

“But we’re still waiting for much of the information we requested months ago. Now, the Department of Public Safety wants $23,000 to give us records that should be readily available.

“In February, we submitted a public records request, asking for a number of documents that would help us—and the public—better understand the Saguaro operation, which is handled by Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison contractor that owns and operates the Arizona facility. CCA’s problems at a number of its mainland facilities have been well-documented over many years.

“In fact, Saguaro too has had a long history of problems under CCA’s management, including the murders of at least three Hawaii prisoners since 2010.

“We wanted to find out about the level of violence at the prison beyond what has been reported in the media.

 “We wanted policies governing the use of force and disciplinary measures put in place to curb violence at Saguaro.

“All pretty straightforward, as public records requests go.

“Still, eight months later, we’re nowhere near getting what we asked for.”

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