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Decision made to close Kulani Correctional Facility


Hawaii State Public Safety Director Clayton Frank and State Adjutant General Robert Lee talk about the closure of Kulani Correctional Facility and the future use of the site. Video courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

State Adjutant General Major General Robert Lee and PSD Director Clayton Frank discuss the state's plan to close Kulani Correctional Facility and open a National Guard Youth Challenge Academy in its place.

State Adjutant General Major General Robert Lee and PSD Director Clayton Frank discuss the state's plan to close Kulani Correctional Facility and open a National Guard Youth Challenge Academy in its place. Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor.

By Baron Sekiya/Hawaii247.com

Hawaii State Public Safety Director Clayton Frank announced today (July 24) that Kulani Correctional Facility will be closed at the end of October and 76 employees will be losing their jobs there. Franks said the facility costs the state $6 million to operate each year and the closing it will save $2.8 million a year. There are 123 inmates at the facility, of these 75 are sex offenders in their last three years towards their release. Inmates will be transferred to Oahu correctional facilities.

State Adjutant General Robert Lee said the facility is planned to be turned over to the Hawaii National Guard for a second campus for the Hawaii Youth Challenge Academy. The program is currently funded by the State of Hawaii and Federal Government. Lee said the program is anticipating to have 50 cadets at Kulani in 2010 and plans are to have it 100% funded by the Federal Government for the first two years.

Media release below:

The Hawai`i Department of Public Safety (PSD) announced that it is closing the Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island because of the state’s unprecedented $2.8 billion budget shortfall as a result of the global economic downturn.

“This was not an easy decision. However, it is my duty and responsibility to find cost-savings and streamline our operations, especially during these tough economic times,” said Clayton Frank, director of the Department of Public Safety.

After evaluating the operations of the entire department and specifically within the Corrections Division, the department determined that the most cost-effective action was to close the Kulani Correctional Facility.

It currently costs the department $6 million a year to operate and maintain the Kulani facility. Closing the facility will result in savings of approximately $2.8 million.
Kulani currently houses 123 male inmates. They will be moved to other correctional facilities within the department and the Federal Detention Center on O`ahu. There are no plans for the early release of these inmates.

To ensure the Kulani facility will be used productively for the benefit of the state and the Big Island community, the Department of Public Safety is currently working with the Hawai`i Department of Defense (DOD) on a Memorandum of Agreement for the land to be utilized for the DOD’s Hawai`i National Guard Youth Challenge program.

The Hawai`i National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy program provides at-risk students who otherwise would not obtain a high school diploma with an opportunity to attend a 22-week curriculum designed to turn their lives around. Since 1995, over 2,500 students who have participated in the Youth Challenge Academy have earned their High School diplomas.

Currently located at Kalaeloa, O`ahu, the Youth Challenge Academy conducts two classes per year averaging about 150 students per class. For every student that is allowed into the program, another at-risk student is turned away because of limited facilities and staff.

“The National Guard Bureau supports the Hawai`i National Guard having a second campus to handle the students that we turn away,” said State Adjutant General Major General Robert Lee. “At least 35 percent of our students come from the neighbor islands. The potential to establish the Kulani Youth Challenge Academy on the Big Island is a viable option for the Hawai`i National Guard.”

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