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Maui Community Correctional Center riot report release date uncertain

Department: But it will be made public

KAHULUI — A public release date for the state Department of Public Safety’s report on the March 11 riots at the Maui jail has not been determined and how that report will be presented to the public remains up in the air, a department spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

At a state Senate Ways and Means and Public Safety joint committee informational meeting Tuesday on Maui, Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said the report on the riot at Maui Community Correctional Center was going to be completed in “the very, very, near future.”

In the riot, inmates broke fire sprinklers, started a fire in the common areas, broke cell doors, windows and fixtures and caused millions of dollars in damage at MCCC. Both inmates and corrections officers said they feared for their lives during the incident.

Espinda told senators, including Central Maui Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran who raised questions about the release of the report, that legislators will be able to view the report unredacted.

However, the legislative review of the complete report would be done at Department of Public Safety offices only with no copies disseminated.

Lawmakers also would be held to a confidentiality agreement.

Department spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said Wednesday that the report could include information that could be used in disciplinary action cases, grievances and lawsuits.

Espinda said he could not share all of the details of the report Tuesday because the investigation is ongoing. He did share a summary of what was uncovered, including the main impetus of the riot, which was overcrowding and disruptions to daily inmate life, such as broken phones and ants in cells.

Some media reports indicated that the report would not be made public, which Schwartz indicated was not true. How much of the report will be made public remained uncertain with the possibility of redactions.

In other matters, Schwartz said Wednesday that most repairs from the riot have been completed. However, there are some windows in the housing units that still are in the process of being replaced.

Inmates no longer have easy access to the supply room, where they took items including toiletries and lit them on fire during the riot. The supply room door is being relocated outside the module, Schwartz said.

Cameras have been installed in the facility; there were no cameras to record the riot. Monitors still need to be connected and the wiring of the system is occurring now, Schwartz said.

Gov. David Ige signed a bill passed by the state Legislature in May appropriating $5 million for repairs at MCCC because of the riot.

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