Hawaii Women’s Correctional Center paves the way for new housing
By CN personnel
HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Public Safety (DPS) opened the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) in Honolulu in July, marking a key milestone for the project that aims to dramatically improve conditions for women offenders.
The new expanded WCCC will allow the transfer of all women housed in the overcrowded Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) in Honolulu and better serve remand and sentenced women offenders.
This project originated from centralizing all inmates in Hawaii in one location through the addition of a 180-bed facility, with a priority to provide gender-specific programming that was not previously available in the men’s facility. . Another essential goal is to provide a space for staff members which is a supportive environment to help attract more staff and reduce turnover.
The project includes a secure housing unit, an administrative building and a reception / visitor building; the three new buildings total 56,121 square feet with parking, secure fencing and gates to ensure security.
Large canopy trees are an eye-catching aspect that was born throughout the planning and design phases. Exterior materials, meanwhile, have been carefully chosen to reflect Hawaii’s aesthetic using lava rock materials and cast stone accents. The interior is designed to provide clear and easy orientation with ample areas of natural light for the public and places of detention and for all staff workspaces.
The WCCC will allow Hawaii to continue to expand services to women over the next 50 years, which is expected to have a significant impact on reducing the overall rate of recidivism among women.
In 2015, Hawaii hired CGL to assess all of its state-run correctional and detention facilities; As the project evolved, CGL began to lead the planning and design efforts for the new WCCC.
In 2018, the Hawaii Legislature allocated $ 40 million for new consolidated housing and other related improvements to the WCCC to enable the transfer of all female remand inmates from Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC ). The transfer of women from OCCC to WCCC will improve living conditions, expand treatment and rehabilitation services for women, and increase opportunities for family visits.
“This long-awaited project will provide women with better access to services and better living conditions. The new addition will also help alleviate some of the overcrowding at the OCCC. As the largest prison in the state, the main population of the OCCC is male remand prisoners, and it is a daily challenge to accommodate women in the prison and provide program space ”, Governor David Ige said.
“Improving the WCCC to accommodate women from the OCCC has been a goal of the ministry for many years,” said Max Otani, director of the Ministry of Public Security, at the inauguration. “And today we are taking a giant step towards achieving this goal. An improved and expanded WCCC will help us house the current population while providing the essential space and resources women offenders need to successfully reintegrate into their communities.
Construction of the project is expected to take approximately two years.
Reports from CGL and the Hawaii Department of Public Safety contributed to this article.