East Hawaii News

State Plans Agricultural Development at Kulani Prison

August 14, 2013, 5:06 PM HST
* Updated August 15, 5:31 PM
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As the Big Island’s Kulani Correctional Facility moves closer to its projected re-opening in July of 2014, the state Department of Agriculture is seeking to find ways for inmates to make productive use of the land surrounding the prison.

Kulani, which previously housed around 200 inmates, had closed in 2009 during severe budget cutbacks at the state Capitol. Since that time, the state has relied in part on relocating inmates to mainland prisons to meet its incarceration needs.

Apart from housing inmates closer to their families, one of the goals in reopening Kulani will be to provide inmates a path to career success. As part of that effort, the state is soliciting developers to submit plans for agricultural development around the prison site.

In its formal request for proposal, which was provided to Big Island Now by the Department of Agriculture, the state seeks bids from for-profit and non-profit entities to develop a program that will “utilize land surrounding the former Kulani Correctional Facility… for the purpose of increasing agricultural productivity and to serve as a rehabilitation site for inmates.”

Sue Sakamoto of the Agricultural Development Division told Big Island Now that the budget for the project, which is $115,000, is intended to seek “innovative ideas” for agricultural use of the lands surrounding the prison.

State officials are seeking to provide educational opportunities in an agricultural development surrounding Kulani Correctional Facility.

State officials are seeking to provide educational opportunities in an agricultural development surrounding Kulani Correctional Facility.

According to the request for proposal, the state is also seeking to turn the area surrounding the prison into an educational environment, with the goal of increasing inmate’s work opportunities upon their release.

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Priority is being given to contractors that can successfully solicit matching funds for the project, and planners will be expected to incorporate renewable energy technology into the program.

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Interested parties can contact Sue Sakamoto of the Agricultural Development Division at (808)-973-9576 or by emailing [email protected]

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