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Jail population in Wailuku drops below 300 with inmate releases

At 283, count is below the facility’s operational capacity

The number of inmates held at the Maui Community Correctional Center dropped below 300 last week and was less than the Wailuku jail’s operational capacity, as part of a “substantial reduction in the jail population across the state,” according to the state Department of Public Safety.

In a news release Friday, the department reported the Maui jail population at 283, which is below the facility’s operational capacity of 301 but above the design capacity of 209. The number represents a 38 percent decline since March 2, when 450 inmates were in the jail.

Statewide, the number of jail inmates decreased by 810 to 1,379 on Friday for a 37 percent decrease from 2,189 on March 2.

The department said the reductions are due to diversion efforts by county police departments, Public Safety’s Intake Services Center Division and the state Judiciary. In addition, the department credited recent “collaborative efforts” by the state Office of the Public Defender, county prosecutors, the state Supreme Court and retired Judge Daniel Foley, who was appointed special master to address public defender petitions to release inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Public Safety reported no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its prisons or jails.

As of last week, four MCCC inmates had been tested for COVID-19 with negative results.

Foley’s third summary report Thursday said 50 inmates were released and eight inmates’ motions for release were denied after court hearings from April 14 to Tuesday in 2nd Circuit Court.

Foley recommended that statewide efforts continue.

“While the reduction has not been as sweeping and immediate as some have wanted, the releases are being made in a deliberate and thoughtful manner and have resulted in a significant decrease in the inmate population,” his report said. “This is being done in a manner that is consistent with public safety . . . “

n Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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