Families sue over inmates killed in Arizona

HONOLULU — Families of two Hawai‘i residents who were murdered while serving time at a privately owned prison in Arizona have filed lawsuits against the state of Hawai‘i and Corrections Corporation of America.

Clifford Medina, a 23-year-old citizen of Hilo, was killed by another inmate on June 8, 2010. He was incarcerated at the CCA-operated Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.

His family filed a wrongful death suit in Hawai‘i First Circuit Court on May 23.

It is on behalf of Medina’s mother, sister and two aunts who acted as his hanai mothers.

Bronson Nunuha, a 26-year-old Honolulu man, was reportedly killed at the Saguaro facility four months before Medina’s death.

His family filed a lawsuit against the state and CCA officials regarding deficiencies that allowed his death.

The Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety sends state inmates to private, for-profit prisons on the Mainland.

They tend to be inmates who have received lengthy sentences.

According to Toni Schwartz, Public Information Officer for the Department of Public Safety, there are 1,677 inmates from Hawai‘i currently housed at Arizona prisons.

There are 1,616 at the Saguaro facility alone.  

Schwartz said the State Attorney General’s office is looking over the filing and will take the appropriate course of action.

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