Correctional center is locked down until further notice

Kauai Community Correctional Center across Kuhio Highway from Wailua Golf Course remains locked down today after five inmates tested positive for methamphetamine, the warden said yesterday.

Correctional officers found paraphernalia in the form of a drug pipe yesterday. Kauai Police Department will conduct its own investigation as the KCCC in-house investigation continues, said Neal Wagatsuma, KCCC warden.

All work releases, passes and community-service releases for the inmates have been canceled for the entire month of December, he said.

Until he gets some answers, KCCC will remain in lockdown mode. “We really want to get the culprits,” especially those responsible for bringing drugs to the facility, Wagatsuma continued.

“I think there’s a big group involved. Inmates are addicts.”

The lockdown is necessary “to get to the root of this situation,” said Wagatsuma, whose voice indicated he was bothered by the discovery of drug use on KCCC property.

“It was a drug-free environment,” a place where the inmates could feel safe, he said.

Many of the inmates are working at various jobs at various businesses around the island, but can’t report to work until the lockdown is over.

“We had to take this measure,” Wagatsuma said.

The facility has been locked down since Sunday, after Wagatsuma was informed over the weekend that five inmates tested positive.

Another eight inmates who did not test positive have also been removed from the general inmate population while the investigation continues, he said.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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