On September 14, 1984, inmates confined at Oahu Community Correctional Center in Honolulu and at the Hawaii Women's Correctional Facility in Kailua filed a class action law suit on behalf of themselves and all inmates who are or will be confined at the facilities against the Hawaii Department of Social Services and Housing and its Correctional Division. The law suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations. Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU National Prison Project and the ACLU of Hawaii, sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
General allegations included severe overcrowding, violence, health risks, deficient medical and mental health services, insufficient security, improper classification, and disciplinary measures and procedures that were punitive and lacked any rational penological purpose. Plaintiffs also alleged that the living conditions were inadequate because of the deteriorating structure of the facilities, plumbing issues, noise levels, unbearably hot temperatures, poor ventilation, inadequate lighting, fire hazards, shortages of sheets and pillows, cell size, and rodent and insect problems. Food services at the facility were also allegedly inadequate and presented serious health hazards due to the manner in which food was prepared, stored, handled, and served and due to the sizes and conditions of the kitchens. Finally, Plaintiffs alleged that the correctional facilities lacked employment, educational, recreational, and exercise opportunities.
On October 14, 1985, the U.S. District Court (Judge Spencer Williams) entered a consent decree submitted by the parties wherein plans were presented to modify conditions in the areas of medical, dental and mental health services; environmental health and safety conditions and practices; and population management, classification, security and other correctional policies. On January 10, 1986, the parties submitted additional plans to be incorporated into the consent decree regarding medical and mental health care and food services.
In November of 1986 the parties agreed to an additional stipulation that Correctional Division representatives would no longer participate in semi-annual inspections of defendants' compliance with the consent decree. On January 21, 1987 the parties entered into a supplemental agreement regarding hiring additional medical and mental health personnel; improving the facilities' medical plans and recordkeeping; improving fire safety; increasing food service, correctional, janitorial, and maintenance staff; developing a new classification system; and providing meaningful, structured activities for the inmates. Defendants were also required to reduce overcrowding and renovate certain parts of the existing facilities as well as submit plans for constructing a new facility to replace those parts that were being demolished. On November 19, 1993, the court entered the parties' proposed Final Settlement Agreement, which provided for court-appointed monitors.
On December 9, 1996 the U.S. District Court (Judge Samuel P. King) entered a Stipulation of Final Compliance stating that the parties agreed that the parties were in substantial complaince with the consent decree except in regard to completion of the new facility, which was still under construction. Defendants were instructed to continue reporting to plaintiffs regarding their compliance until 1999 when construction was expected to be completed. We have no further information about this case. Emilee Baker - 09/15/2006