LIHUE —The Department of Public Safety issued a list of names of 10 Kaua’i County Community Correctional Center inmates released Wednesday and Thursday because of concerns of contracting COVID-19.
The list detailed the criminal case numbers for defendants from O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i who were ordered by the Supreme Court to be released.
The county doesn’t have jurisdiction over incarceration of inmates.
KCCC has the right to object to some inmates’ release, who they feel can’t safely be managed.
The KCCC inmates released were Randall Bagano, William Ballman, Douglas Bosse, Jonathan Herrera, Roswell Jaramilla, Daniel Pezario Ki‘ilau, Angelica King, Matthew Miller, David Peters and Leslie Vidinha.
Some of the higher-level cases included Ballman, who was charged with assault in the third degree and terroristic threatening in November of 2019.
Other cases on the release list included traffic infractions, indecent exposure and a probation violation. No KCCC releases involved criminals with felonies.
The Supreme Court issued another order for the release of inmates serving sentences of 18 months or less as a condition of a felony deferral or probation, or pretrial detainees charged with a felony, according to an Associated Press article.
In part, releasing low-risk offenders was Gov. David Ige’s response to multiple Hawai‘i state representatives requesting the release of inmates because of surging COVID-19 cases, mostly on O‘ahu.
Defense attorney Myles Breiner called the order “a mediocre start.”
“This will lessen the population at OCCC (O‘ahu Community Correctional Center), but the vast majority are there on felony and domestic-violence cases,” Breiner told the Associated Press. “I’d be surprised if 50 people qualified. If 100 people qualified, it would be amazing.”
The letter to Ige from various state representatives expresses concern of inmates who don’t have adequate housing and the employees who work in prisons, which nationally have become a breeding ground for transmitting the virus.
“The prison guards, prisons workers and members are afraid to go to work,” the Aug. 25 letter to Ige reads. “We don’t blame them, with infections running rampant in our prisons.”
The letter also recommended isolating infected prisoners at the detention center to reduce the chances of transmission of COVID-19.
“We feel isolating incoming prisoners at the detention center will create a safer work environment for these workers,” the letter said. “They’ve already put their lives on the line every day in our prisons.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.