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Friday, November 12, 2021
November 12, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:11 PM :: 1976 Views

Survey shows concern about government spending and debt

Hawaii Supreme Court Guts-And-Replaces The Legislature's "Gut-And-Replace" Switcheroo

HGEA, UPW Prison Rape Cover up: Whistleblower Alleges Prison Officials Lied to Feds

CB: … State officials submitted data for a federal audit of the Maui jail in 2018 that dramatically understated the number of times the facility failed to comply with staffing requirements under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, according to a whistleblower at the jail.

Corrections Sgt. Teresa Rabanes, a supervisor at the Maui Community Correctional Center, said data submitted for the federal audit was false and was contradicted by staff log books at the jail. She said she took her concerns to the FBI.

Rabanes said in a recent interview she sat for three interviews with FBI investigators, and an official with the agency then told her the investigation was turned over state authorities. Rabanes said she heard nothing further about any inquiry into the audit after that exchange.

Rabanes opted to go public now with her concerns about the Maui jail audit after learning that two major public worker unions — the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers — are questioning the credibility of an administrator who oversaw the audit….

Prison Rape Elimination Act audits are detailed reviews of the efforts by prisons and jails to meet the requirements of the 2003 federal law, better known in the correctional system as PREA….

Sexual assault in prisons and jails is a longstanding problem in Hawaii and elsewhere, and in the year covered by the 2018 Maui audit, there were a dozen allegations of sexual abuse of inmates at MCCC. Three of those cases were substantiated, and there was one criminal conviction in an inmate abuse case, according to the report.

The report did not note any cases of sexual assaults of inmates by corrections workers during the year-long audit period, but MCCC inmates have been assaulted by staff in the past.

The most famous case involved former MCCC Warden Albert Murashige, who was sentenced to a year in jail in 2004 after pleading no contest to four counts of sexual assault for a series of encounters with a female inmate in Murashige’s office.

More recently, former MCCC corrections officer James Siugpiyemal is serving a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for three sexual assault convictions involving a work furlough inmate in 2014.

About 15% of the inmates at MCCC are women, and the latest population count shows 53 women were being held at the facility this week.

One of many steps the jail takes to try to prevent assaults of female inmates is designating two guard posts in MCCC as “gender specific.” Female corrections officers are supposed to work at those two posts because the duties there involve supervising female inmates in their living quarters.

But Rabanes and a second MCCC staff member who spoke on condition that he not be identified say there are not enough women corrections officers. Often that means the facility deviates from its staffing plan by assigning men to work at those gender-specific posts.

In those cases, two male adult corrections officers are assigned to one of the female-only posts. This happened so frequently in the year leading up to the 2018 audit that male ACOs would complain because the practice required some to work involuntary overtime, according to Rabanes and the second staff member.

In cases where men were used to staff the gender-specific posts, a “PREA mandated reporting form” was filed with the department’s PREA Coordinator to document the deviation from the staffing plan and explain the reason. At the time of the 2018 audit, the PREA Coordinator was Shelley Harrington, who was present for the Maui audit in 2018.

After the 2018 PREA audit was posted on the Department of Public Safety’s web site, Rabanes said she discovered false data included in the report that minimized the ongoing practice of using men to staff the female-only MCCC posts.

The 2018 report states that MCCC had “three documented deviations from the staffing plan in the last 12 months for the auditor to review. The reason for the deviations were a shortage of female staff.”

But Rabanes said she knew of seven specific cases shown in a sampling of the facility log books where men had been assigned to the women-only posts from Oct. 20, 2017 to the end of the year. She said she presented that information to Harrington at a pre-disciplinary hearing in 2018 in a dispute over staffing of those posts….

Rabanes also cites a more recent PREA audit of MCCC completed on Oct. 27 that shows a much larger number of staffing deviations. That report describes 134 deviations from the facility staffing plan that were documented in 417 pages of PREA Mandated Reporting Forms for the year covered by the 2021 audit….

Related: Prison Drug Smuggling: UPW, HGEA Retaliate on Top Hawaii Prison Official After Guard Refuses Contraband Search

Background:

read … Whistleblower Alleges Prison Officials Provided False Audit Data

The latest on the federal probe into ex-city prosecutor

HNN: … Why is it taking so long for federal prosecutors to move forward with the case against former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro?

In this episode, HNN’s Lynn Kawano breaks down the latest on the case and explores one of the many topics that investigators are zeroing in on….

ILind: What’s happened to the feds' investigation of Honolulu’s former prosecutor?

read … On ‘The Other Side of Paradise,’ the latest on the federal probe into ex-city prosecutor

FBI agents begin digging up Waimanalo yard in search for the remains of missing girl

SA: … The agents, armed with shovels, probes and markers, did some shallow excavating, probing and marking of the yard, apparently in preparation for further searching for the child’s remains.

Meanwhile, others used a pickax to pry open manhole covers along the sidewalk and at the intersection of Kakaina and Hihimanu streets, and took photos inside….

Residents say there is a small area of freshly poured concrete off the driveway they find suspicious….

Thoemmes said that the Kaluas made a false statement to police when they told investigators that the girl left the home in the middle of the night, after last seeing her in bed at 9 p.m. Sept. 12. Numerous surveillance videos from the area proved that to be false, Thoemmes said….

read … FBI agents begin digging up Waimanalo yard in search for the remains of missing girl

Support for County TAT Hike Drops Sharply When People Find out it will be wasted on Rail

SA: … A solid majority of Oahu voters — 70% — favor a proposed county tax aimed at visitors, and 56% support the tax if it helps fund the city’s troubled rail project.

(Translation: When they find out it’s for rail, support for taxing outsiders drops sharply.)

Support increases among leeward-side registered voters, who are expected to benefit from rail: 72% of respondents from Ewa to Waianae like the idea of a new countywide transient accommodations tax in general; and 63% like the idea that a portion would help fund rail, according to a survey by Omnitrak for Move O’ahu Forward, an organization that supports the city’s rail project.

(Translation: This is a pro-rail push-poll, therefore untrustworthy.)

Support goes up among those who are opposed or undecided when pollsters told them “tax monies will help create jobs and affordable housing in neighborhoods around fixed rail stations through transit- oriented development; ease traffic; keep ticket prices down; or ensure the route runs to Ala Moana.  Between 21% to 35% are “converted,” saying they favor a county TAT with half going to a transit fund, according to the survey….

(That is the ‘push’ part of ‘push-poll.’)

read … Survey finds support for Oahu hotel tax, help for rail

DOH warns lack of proper vaccine reporting can harm state’s supply of doses

HNN: … At a House briefing on Wednesday, the state Department of Health said a lack of proper reporting by vaccine providers could affect the amount of doses that are shipped to Hawaii.

State Health Director Dr. Libby Char said said failing to report the number of shots administered each day could be harmful to the state.

“If they’re either not entering the vaccines or they’re sitting on a stockpile of it waiting, that doesn’t do us any good. If the feds see that we’re not using it, we get lower allocations the following week,” Char said.

“It is really a community effort between us, the providers and everybody else to 1) Get the doses out there, 2) Use them and 3) When you use them, enter it into the system so we can keep track that it was administered.”

Char pleaded with providers to update the number of doses they give each day into the data system, so the federal government can send the right amount of vaccines needed for the state….

read … DOH warns lack of proper vaccine reporting can harm state’s supply of doses

Kaiser Contract Negotiations Stall, Setting The Stage For A Strike

CB: … More than 1,800 employees of Kaiser Permanente planned to go on strike Nov. 22 in Hawaii after contract negotiations stalled between the health care company and workers represented by Unite Here Local 5, which is part of the Alliance of Health Care Unions.

Kaiser Permanente alerted Hawaii Kaiser members Thursday that the strike would begin at 5:30 a.m. Nov. 22….

SA: Kaiser Permanente therapists, pharmacists set strike date

read … Kaiser Contract Negotiations Stall, Setting The Stage For A Strike

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