Hawaii Department of Public Safety

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The Hawaii state Department of Public Safety oversees the states jails and prisons as well as a sheriff’s division that provides law enforcement at state facilities, including court houses and airports.

 Jodi Maesaka-Hirata is deputy director of the Division of Corrections.
 The department has about 2,200 employees.


It’s made up of three divisions:

  • Administration: Handles everything from training and staff development, personnel management, management of the operating budget and capital improvements program budget.
  • Corrections: Oversees the state's jails and prisons.
  • Law Enforcement: Includes the sheriff division and narcotics enforcement division.

The corrections division represents 85 percent of the department’s annual operating costs.

  • Jails: Hawaii Community Correctional Center, Kauai Community Correctional Center, Maui Community Correctional Center, and the Oahu Community Correctional Center.
  • Prisons: Halawa Correctional Facility, Waiawa Correctional Facility, and the Women's Community Correctional Center. All three prisons are located on the island of Oahu.

Corrections Facilities

The department oversees four jails and three prisons in Hawaii that imprison roughly 6,000 of the state’s citizens. That includes approximately 1,900 prisoners in mainland facilities.


The Administration Division provides support services that enable the corrections staff to fulfill their responsibilities. Some of these services include training and staff development, fiscal and personnel management, management of the operating budget and capital improvements program budget, procurement, and management information systems and research.[3]


The Corrections Division oversees four prisons. Three of the prisons are located on the island of Oahu and one on the island of Hawaii.[4] They include:

Private prisons

In 1995 the State of Hawaii began contracting with prisons outside of Hawaii to house Hawaiian prisoners.[7] The criteria for sending inmates to private prisons on the mainland include a minimum sentence of 24 months, a lack of pending criminal cases in Hawaii, and a lack of major health and medical issues. Daphne Barbee, an attorney, said that she had clients with cases pending who were sent to the mainland anyway.[8] According to Kevin Dayton of the Honolulu Advertiser, some inmates prefer to stay in the mainland for superior educational programs, drug treatment programs, and other programs that a prisoner would complete before he or she is considered for parole. Other prisoners, particularly those with young children and families, prefer to stay in Hawaii.[9]

The Mainland Section initially contracted with three facilities, one in Kentucky and two in Arizona, to house prisoners sentenced in Hawaii.[10]

As of 2016, about 1,900 male Hawaiian state inmates are held at CCA’s Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. This represents the majority of Hawaii’s male inmate population.[13] [14] [15]


Hawaii is one of six states in the United States that operates its jails at the state level. In most states jails are the responsibility of county and county-equivalent governments. The Hawaii Department of Public Safety is responsible for four jails: one on each of the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai.[4]

Law Enforcement
Narcotics Enforcement Division

The Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED) enforces laws relating to controlled substances and regulated chemicals. The NED is responsible for the registration and control of the manufacture, distribution, prescription, and dispensing of controlled substances and precursor or essential chemicals within Hawaii.[16]

Sheriff Division

Hawaii Sheriff’s Patch

Sheriff Division

The Sheriff Division is one of the two law enforcement divisions within the Department of Public Safety. All sworn deputy sheriff personnel are statutorily law enforcement officers.

The Court Services Branch provides a Law Enforcement presence for the Judiciary of the State of Hawaii. It is similar to what the U.S. Marshals Service does for the U.S. Government. Some of the duties of a Court Services Branch Deputy include but are not limited to cellblock operations, transporting of persons in custody, at times arresting or citing of violators of statute or ordinance, execution of court orders/writs, and the keeping of the peace within the various Judicial confines.

The Special Operations Section, Fugitive Unit, or more commonly referred to as the Warrants Unit is also attached to the Court Services Branch. This plain clothes unit is primarily tasked with the execution of various felony and traffic arrest warrants. Other duties include but are not limited to the execution of writs of possession and assisting other Law Enforcement Agencies on Oahu and the neighbor islands when requested.

The sheriff’s receiving desk is currently located at 240 Keawe St. in downtown Honolulu this serves as a sterile location for booking, processing, securing, searching, and transporting of arrestees. It also houses the Sheriff section Warrants office.

The Capitol Section provides an immediate law enforcement presence at the Hawaii State Capitol, Hawaii Civic Center Complex, Washington Place, and other locations deemed necessary by factors other than public safety related statistics. A recent agreement (2013) between the Sheriff Division and the Hawaii Community Development Association (HCDA) placed stipulations that the Sheriffs provide Law Enforcement for the Kaka’ako area as well as Kewalo Basin. Deputies have also been tasked with providing patrols at the Mayor Rights Public Housing Complexes. Deputies, arrest and or cite violators of statutes or ordinances during vehiclular patrol.

The Executive Protection Unit is tasked with the physical protection of the Governor and Lt. Governor of the State of Hawaii.

The Airport Sheriff Detail provides law enforcement services in and around the Honolulu International Airport.

Security Services at the Hawaii State Hospital, Waimano Training School and Hospital, and Fort Ruger at the Department of Defense are overseen by the Sheriff Division. Due to financial constraints some of the security positions were eliminated and contracted out.

The K9 Services Section utilizes canines to detect narcotics and explosives on limited state properties on the island of Oahu.

In 2007, the Sheriff Division was the first agency in the state to be certified with a Department of Homeland Security type III SWAT Team. The team could respond to an incident on state property on any island if it were needed.

A Sheriff’s Chaplain Corps began with one chaplain in 2004. Chaplains volunteer their time to assist in times of need. In 2009, 3 uniformed chaplains serve all sections and units within the Sheriff Division.

Sheriff’s Office facilities:

  • Capitol Patrol Section (Hawaii State Capitol Building)
  • Honolulu International Airport Unit
  • Circuit Court
  • District Court (Including Ewa and Kaneohe Courts)
  • Kapolei Court
  • State Capitol
  • Receiving Desk – 240 Keawe St. Honolulu HI
  • Hilo Court Section
  • Kona Court Section
  • Kauai Court Section
  • Maui Court Section
State police or state patrol

Hawaii does not have a statewide police agency.

Correctional facilities
Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, only one officer has died in the line of duty.[17]

See also
  1. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html
  2. Home.” Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on September 30, 2010. “Department of Public Safety 919 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 400 Honolulu, Hawaii 96814.”
  3. “Department of Public Safety”.
  4. “Department of Public Safety”.
  5. Kulani Correctional Facility.” Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  6. Closure of Kulani Saves $2.8M Annually; Facility to Help At-Risk Youth.” Hawaii Department of Public Safety. July 2009. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  7. Kakesako, Gregg K. “Third Hawaii inmate faces death penalty in Arizona.” Honolulu Star-Advertiser. September 4, 2010. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  8. McNarie, Alan D. “Death, detention and dollars.” Honolulu Weekly. May 19, 2010. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  9. Dayton, Kevin. “Arizona prison will house Hawaii inmates.” The Honolulu Advertiser. Tuesday June 26, 2007. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  10. “Department of Public Safety” (PDF).
  11. Ian Urbina, “Hawaii to Remove Inmates Over Abuse Charges, New York Times, August 25, 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  12. “Riot at Red Rock Correctional Facility in Arizona Under Investigation”. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Today. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  13. Halawa Correctional Facility.” Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on May 19, 2010.
  14. Brady, Kat. “Using private prisons costs more than it seems.” (editorial) Honolulu Star Advertiser. June 18, 2010. Retrieved on September 29, 2010.
  15. Saguaro Correctional Center.” Corrections Corporation of America. Retrieved on September 30, 2010.
  16. “Department of Public Safety”.
  17. “Deputy Sheriff Daniel Browne-Sanchez”. The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).


The department submits annual reports to the Hawaii Legislature on its various programs. Here’s a link to its most recent set of reports. Some of the report titles include:

  • Annual Report of Hawaii Correctional Industries
  • Annual Report on the Status of the Federal Reimbursement Maximization Special Funds
  • Sexual Assaults in Correctional Facilities
  • Sentencing of Habitual Violent Felons
  • Services for Children of Incarcerated Parents
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Hawaii Department of Public Safety

January 2018

Wednesday, January 17

Activists: Hawaii Can Get By With A Much Smaller Jail

November 2017

Tuesday, November 14

Nevada’s ‘Most Dangerous’ Inmates Move In With Hawaii Prisoners

Wednesday, November 8

‘Preferred’ Jail Site Currently Houses Animal Quarantine Station

October 2017

Tuesday, October 3

Overcrowding May Have Sparked Attack On Oahu Jail Guards

Monday, October 2

The Disturbing State Of Mental Health Care In Hawaii’s Prisons

September 2017

Monday, September 11

Hawaii Prison Warden’s Case Shows Firing A Public Worker Isn’t Easy

July 2017

Monday, July 17

Why Is A High-Tech Agency Building A Center For Cops And Rescue Workers?

Friday, July 14

No Relief In Sight For High Cost Of Prison Phone Calls

June 2017

Wednesday, June 21

Inmate Deaths Leave Families, Advocates Searching For Answers

May 2017

Tuesday, May 9

Hawaii’s Inaction On Replacing Jail Is A Victory For Justice Reformers

April 2017

Wednesday, April 19

Ian Lind: Union Says Suspensions Shouldn’t Stop Prison Guard Promotions

Wednesday, April 12

Hawaii Set To Roll Back Nation’s Toughest Drug Paraphernalia Laws

February 2017

Friday, February 24

Bill Clamps Down On State’s Habit Of Segregating Inmates

Wednesday, February 22

Ian Lind: Count On Hawaii To Ignore Logical Prison Report

Monday, February 6

Settlement Protects Religious Rights For Hawaiian Prisoners

Thursday, February 2

New Oahu Jail Will Cost Hundreds Of Millions

January 2017

Thursday, January 12

No Quick Fixes For Prison Overcrowding In Governor’s Budget

How Hawaii’s Prisoners Are Ending Up In Facilities All Over The Country

Tuesday, January 10

ACLU Calls For Federal Probe Of Hawaii Prison Conditions

December 2016

Thursday, December 22

Do Hawaii Prisons Overuse Solitary Confinement?

November 2016

Tuesday, November 29

Former Big Island Prison Warden Sues State Over Firing

Monday, November 21

Other States Are Shrinking Prison Populations — Why Not Hawaii?

Thursday, November 3

Private Prison Operator Sees A Financially Healthy Future

October 2016

Monday, October 31

Hawaii Prison Officials Say It Will Cost $23,000 For Public Records

Friday, October 21

Oahu’s Inmates Are Facing Some Seriously ‘Inhumane’ Conditions

Thursday, October 13

Hawaii Finds Itself Stuck As Others Abandon For-Profit Prisons

Wednesday, October 5

What To Do About Oahu’s Crumbling Correctional Center

September 2016

Monday, September 26

Group Wants To Suspend Hawaii’s Effort To Build A New Jail

Thursday, September 8

New Visitation Policy For OCCC Inmates

Wednesday, September 7

New Chief For Paroling Authority

Tuesday, September 6

Hawaii Prison Contractor Executives Were Convicted Of Fraud And Bribery

August 2016

Monday, August 29

Secret Deals: Prison Operator Is Mum On Hawaii Court Cases

Wednesday, August 24

CCA Faces Shareholder Revolt

Friday, August 19

Justice Department Will Stop Using Private Prisons

Wednesday, August 3

Arizona Prison Is Not Reporting Disease Cases To Health Agency

Tuesday, August 2

Hawaii Re-Ups With Arizona Prison For $45 Million Per Year

July 2016

Friday, July 22

Valley Fever Risk Won’t Slow Flow Of Hawaii Prisoners To Arizona

Wednesday, July 13

Why Hawaii Has A Double Standard On Isolating Prisoners

Tuesday, July 5

Hawaii Extends Negotiation On New Private Prison Contract

June 2016

Monday, June 27

A Deadly Dust Is Plaguing Hawaii Prisoners In Arizona

Monday, June 20

Hawaii Doesn’t Know If Prisoners Sent To Mainland Are Likelier To Reoffend

Thursday, June 2

Is Hawaii Doing Enough to Protect Transgender Inmates In Prisons?

May 2016

Wednesday, May 25

Is Hawaii Really Saving Millions By Using A Mainland Prison?

Wednesday, May 18

Hawaii Keeps Secret What Happens In Its Private Prison

Monday, May 9

Criminal Justice Reform Fails To Get Much Legislative Love

Monday, May 2

Experts: Act Now To Improve The Contract With An Arizona Prison

April 2016

Friday, April 29

CCA Submits The Only Bid For Hawaii’s Private Prison Contract

Monday, April 25

Prison Officials Quietly Move To Extend An Out-Of-State Contract

Friday, April 15

Lawsuit Claims Widespread Infringement of Prisoners’ Religious Rights

Tuesday, April 12

The Prison Visit That Cost My Family $2,370

Friday, April 8

How Did A Man Lose His Fingers And Feet To A Jailhouse Infection?

March 2016

Monday, March 7

Prison Operator Wants Native Hawaiian Prisoners’ Suit Wrapped Up

February 2016

Tuesday, February 16

State Pulls Request For Prison Environmental Studies Exemption

Thursday, February 11

Lawmakers Consider Releasing Some Offenders To Relieve Overcrowding

Tuesday, February 9

‘Smart On Crime’: Lawmakers Take Up Wide-Ranging Reforms

January 2016

Thursday, January 28

OCCC Relocation Could Be Almost A Half-Billion-Dollar Proposition

Ankle Bracelets Could Help Cut Hawaii Prison Costs And Overcrowding

Friday, January 22

Jailhouse Rock: Moving OCCC Is A Priority For Gov Ige

Thursday, January 21

Lawsuit Claims Native Hawaiian Religion Being Restricted Behind Bars

Tuesday, January 12

Ige’s Proposed Budget Tackles Chronic Overcrowding At Jails

November 2015

Monday, November 2

Phoning Home From Prison: Excessive Prices Will Be Reined In

October 2015

Wednesday, October 21

Hawaii Panel to Keep Prisoners From Reoffending Does Nothing — And Never Has

September 2015

Tuesday, September 29

Treating Hawaii’s Sex Offenders: ‘Here, We Don’t Give Up on People’

August 2015

Tuesday, August 25

Inmate Work Furlough Program: Statistical Success or a Public Danger?

Monday, August 17

What’s Happening to Hawaii’s Push for Criminal Justice Reform?

Monday, August 3

Ige: Number of Hawaii Prisoners Incarcerated in Arizona Will Go Up Before it Goes Down

June 2015

Tuesday, June 9

Denby Fawcett: Redemption in Halawa Prison

April 2015

Tuesday, April 7

Where Did HSTA Stand on Resolutions to Increase Teacher Pay?

September 2014

Friday, September 5

Hawaii Capitol to Prepare for ‘Active Shooter’ Scenario

March 2014

Tuesday, March 11

Prison Builders: Hawaii’s Billion Dollar Problem

December 2013

Saturday, December 28

Governor Taps More Funds for Hawaii’s Mentally Ill Prisoners

May 2013

Thursday, May 9

Hawaii Prison Chief: Inmate Deaths Are A ‘Crisis On Our Hands’

April 2013

Thursday, April 25

Hawaii Auditor: State Oversight Of Mainland Prisons Still Lagging

December 2012

Thursday, December 27

Task Force Demands Action On Hawaiian Incarceration

October 2012

Tuesday, October 9

Tourists: Little Action Taken On High Rate Of Oahu Rental Car Theft

May 2012

Thursday, May 17

Milestone in Public Safety: Reforms For Parole and Probation

Wednesday, May 16

ACLU: Hawaii Denied Prisoners Marriage Rights

March 2012

Friday, March 9

Hawaii Lawmakers Want Auditor to Probe OT Abuse

February 2012

Wednesday, February 29

A Plan to Return Hawaii’s Mainland Inmates

January 2012

Wednesday, January 18

‘Justice Reinvestment’ Faces Public Safety Hurdle

November 2011

Wednesday, November 2

Hawaii Gov’s Security Costs Taxpayers $1.2M

September 2011

Tuesday, September 27

Hawaii Prison Farms Grow Their Own Produce

June 2011

Tuesday, June 28

Initiative Aims To Bring Hawaii’s Prisoners Home

May 2011

Wednesday, May 25

Hawaii Doesn’t Require Lost Gun Reports

Tuesday, May 10

Hawaii DPS To Finally Follow Medical Pot Law

April 2011

Monday, April 18

19 Convictions in 17 Years — And Still on the Street

March 2011

Thursday, March 17

FAQ: Nuclear Radiation, From Japan to Hawaii

February 2011

Friday, February 18

New Public Safety Director ‘Born’ For the Job

Thursday, February 17

A Surcharge on Safety: Racking Up Overtime While Taking Vacation

January 2011

Thursday, January 13

Senators Grill Public Safety Director on Excessive Overtime Use, Auditor’s Report

December 2010

Friday, December 17

Inmate Says Spending Night With Dead Cellmate Drove Him Crazy

Public Safety Director Promises to ‘Address Overtime Issues Efficiently’

Saturday, December 11

A Surcharge on Safety: Sheriffs Earning More Than Hawaii’s Chief Justice?

A Surcharge on Safety: 16 Employees Logged at Least 1,000 Overtime Hours

A Surcharge on Safety: Six Employees Claimed Over 1,300 Hours of Overtime

A Surcharge on Safety: As Overtime Claims Pile Up, Department Caps Sick Day Use

A Surcharge on Safety: Union Contract and Turnover Blamed for Outsized Overtime

A Surcharge on Safety: Outsized Overtime at the Hawaii Department of Public Safety