Thursday | July 28, 2016
About Us | Contact | Subscribe

State seeking 411 on Kona halfway house

Kona could become the newest home to a clean and sober house for Department of Public Safety felony inmates making the transition back into the community.

The facility would annually provide housing and case management services to up to 50 adult male and female felony inmates in the Kona area, according to the department’s Corrections’ Institutions Division Nov. 7 request for information posted on the state Procurement Office website. The facility would serve inmates transitioning from incarceration at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.

“The purpose of the project is to successfully reintegrate these inmates through a clean and sober house that will reduce the chances of reoffending while enhancing the inmate’s ability to become a productive member of society,” the request reads. “The goals … are the development of necessary skills for pro-social independent living and to promote a drug free lifestyle.”

The inmates must be designated as on “extended furlough, community custody status” in order to take part in the program for which the state is seeking initial information, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz.

The determination is made on a case-by-case basis and takes into account crimes committed, length of time served, behaviors and other factors, she said. In most cases, the inmate has to work his way to the designation, which often occurs near the end of a sentence.

The state defines extended furlough as a program for nonviolent offenders who live and work in the community, but are required to return to a correctional facility during weekday or weekend evenings. An offender must attain community custody status to participate in furlough, extended furlough, transition and reintegration programs in the community.

Currently, the department offers one reintegration program on the Big Island — Hale Nani in Panaewa. Other organizations provide such services but do not fall under the department, Schwartz said, noting such a housing program in Kona would help bring back some services that have been cut, as well as free up bed space.

“Since the heyday 12 years ago many of these programs had been cut,” she said. “Now, we are trying to bring them back.”

The initial contract term would run from March 1, 2013, to Feb. 28, 2015, and the provider would receive a two-year, $200,000 contract with the option for a one-year extension.

It is unknown when the public will have a say in the matter, however, the request said the facility is in the very early stages of planning. Respondents have until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 27 to provide the division information; an orientation for prospective applicants is Nov. 21 in Honolulu.

West Hawaii Today was unable to reach either the department’s Institutions Division Administrator Michael Hoffman or DPS Purchasing and Contracts Coordinator Marc Yamamoto.

According to the request, the provider must provide 24/7 clean and sober living arrangements and on-site accountability supervision of inmates, and case management services to assist with re-entry. The state and inmate would cover rent expenses.

The request does not include any requirements for licensing or security, other than noting staff employed must not be currently serving a criminal sentence, “be suitable to deal with these inmates” and subcontractors must be notified of inmate status. An employee with a criminal history has to be approved by DPS.

Recording requirements would include keeping the department “informed” of the staff-to-inmate ratio, promptly reporting any negative behaviors or violations, maintaining records for department review, as well as sending monthly case and expenditure reports.