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Deputy sheriffs assist with guard work at short-staffed Maui jail

Recruitment ongoing for more adult corrections officers

State deputy sheriffs have been pitching in with Maui Community Correctional Center work as the facility is still running short on adult correction officers, a state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman confirmed.

“Deputy sheriffs were gracious enough to send a deputy to assist with watching an inmate in the hospital recently. Another helped with fire watch patrol,” said Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.

Because of adult corrections officer shortages, an hourlong family visit time was canceled July 14, Schwartz said. No other visits have been canceled.

The use of sheriffs comes as the the department has “been in a long-standing struggle to attract qualified applicants on Maui, or any island for that matter,” Schwartz said.

“Over the last several years, it has been difficult to recruit, hire and maintain ACOs on all islands with the job market being so competitive,” she added.

There are currently 166 adult corrections officer positions at the Maui jail; 33 are vacant and under continuous recruitment, Schwartz said.

Currently, 22 guards are on workers’ compensation.

Also, 63 employees have been granted Federal Family and Medical Leave, which means they can take leave at any time of the week if needed for medical reasons. But it does not mean they are out on leave all the time.

Some adult corrections officers, who asked to remain anonymous as they are not allowed to speak to media, have complained over the use of sheriffs in their jobs.

Schwartz said that union consultation is underway over the matter.

“At this time we are honoring the obligation to conduct such consultations solely with the employees’ representatives,” she said.

Officials at the United Public Workers Union, which represents the corrections officers, could not be reached for comment.

According to a posting seeking adult corrections officers for Maui, salary is listed at $4,185 per month.

For more information, see: https://agency.governmentjobs.com/hawaii/job_bulletin.cfm?jobID=2457772&sharedWindow=0.

In December, the Public Safety Department graduated 21 recruits, with two assigned to Maui Community Correctional Center.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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