Answer to overcrowding

HONOLULU — The Kauai Community Correctional Center will be receiving $15 million for new housing and support offices after Kauai lawmakers secured more than $140 million in Capital Improvement Project funding this week.

The jail, which is nearly 40 percent over capacity, will receive an additional $1 million lump sum.

“KCCC is very overcrowded and needs expansion and improvements,” said State Rep. Dee Morikawa Monday in an email.

The inmate capacity at KCCC is 128, but the current headcount is 175, said Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Public Safety Department.

She said it’s too early to talk specifics about how the money will be used, but the department is working on a plan.

Kauai Public Defender John Calma said it’s no secret the jail has been overpopulated for years.

“I’m just happy that the Legislature has procured millions of dollars for the overcrowded jail,” he said.

Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said new housing at KCCC is needed.

“Expanding and upgrading the facilities here on Kauai will allow the state to reduce the need for off-island and mainland jail facilities and also reduce the time, the cost and the logistics in getting inmates to court hearings, which should benefit the court system, law enforcement and the community,” he said.

The area outside the jail built in 1977 will also see changes.

The road fronting KCCC and the Wailua Golf Course “has long been a very dangerous situation,” so the $10.6 million for improvements will help to mitigate that traffic hazard, Morikawa said.

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