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Governor Makes Funding Request for Kulani Reopening

Posted February 14, 2013, 12:14 PM HST
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This map from a draft environmental assessment shows Kulani's location at the end of Stainback Highway.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday asked the state Senate to amend the state’s biennium budget by adding more than $9 million for the reactivation of Kulani Correctional Facility.

The request includes $3.2 million for fiscal year 2013-14 and $5.9 million for the following year, as well as the establishment of 91 permanent positions to operate the Big Island prison.

It was part of a variety of budget amendments proposed by Abercrombie’s administration to be taken up by the Senate today.

According to the request, the funding would be offset by savings gained by bringing inmates currently housed in private mainland prisons back to Hawaii.

The governor previously released $248,177 fund an environmental study and assessment of the current status of the facility located on Stainback Highway.

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Abercrombie wants to reopen the facility to house roughly 200 of the 1,700 Hawaii inmates currently being held in mainland facilities. The inmates to be housed at Kulani would be those who are within two to four years of parole or release.

Kulani was shuttered in 2009 by former Gov. Linda Lingle as a cost-cutting effort.

The reopening of Kulani was the subject of two recent public hearings in Hilo and Keaau.

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