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The federal government’s decision comes a couple of weeks after Hawaii extended its contract with a for-profit prison in Arizona.
There’s no record that Corrections Corporation of America ever told a county health agency about valley fever cases for Hawaii prisoners.
The Saguaro Correctional Center currently houses about 1,400 Hawaii prisoners, but that could go up to as many as 1,926.
Hawaii may soon face legal claims over prisoners infected with valley fever, a disease endemic in the Southwest.
Hawaii lets its for-profit prison contractor set its own rules for what it terms “disciplinary segregation,” instead of solitary confinement.
Prison officials extend the existing CCA contract until end of July while the discussions continue.
Valley fever is widespread in the Southwest, yet Hawaii’s prison officials haven’t paid much attention to it, despite the recent deaths of at least two Hawaii prisoners who had the disease.
The state has little data on the effect of shipping prisoners to Arizona, but studies say a lack of family contact makes it harder to go straight.
All transgender inmates now behind bars are housed at facilities matching their birth gender; state officials declined to discuss specific cases.
Many of the costs the state pays aren’t detailed in budget documents. And the expense is not the only issue.
Even when prisoners are murdered, state officials and their private contractor shield themselves from the public eye.
Neighbor island facilities received some significant financial help, but the state’s main facilities on Oahu will remain overcrowded and crumbling.