By Duane Shimogawa; Pacific Business News; September 23, 2016
All areas on Oahu are being considered for a new facility that would replace the aging and overcrowding current Oahu Community Correctional Center in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kalihi, according to public documents.
The entire island is currently under consideration to provide an equal and unbiased opportunity for all areas of Oahu, the project’s recently released environmental impact statement preparation notice said.
Replacement of the existing 16-acre facility at 2199 Kamehameha Highway with a new facility would occur within the boundaries of the current property or by expanding the site through land acquisition.
Another alternative being looked at is the development of a new replacement facility within a portion of the Halawa Correctional Facility property or another location to be identified during the EIS process. Another plan calls for the relocation of female inmates to Women’s Community Correctional Center in Olomana in Windward Oahu.
Determining the preferred search area is being guided, in part, by the distribution of OCCC employee homes so as to give consideration to the workforce’s daily commute. Consideration will also be given to the family members and friends, as well as proximity to the First Circuit Courthouse and the associated legal infrastructure. The proximity of medical facilities also will be considered when selecting a new site.
The project planning team is developing the criteria to be used in identifying and evaluating prospective sites. Once the preferred site search area and siting criteria are defined, the identification and evaluation of prospective sits will begin.
The state Department of Public Safety, which operates the jails on the islands of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, has sent out a “site offer” form to property owners and others in the real estate industry that sketches out requirements for a new jail on Oahu.
The department is looking for a minimum of 10 acres of developable land, preferably 15-plus acres in the greater Honolulu and the East Oahu and West Oahu areas.
The areas are considered the preferred search areas, since they include the large population centers on Oahu and would be more accessible to public transit, courts and other facilities supporting jail operations.
The current OCCC houses more than 1,200 inmates in a facility that was originally designed for 628 inmates and modified over the years to accommodate 954, the department’s website said.