Investigation Into Hawai‘i State Hospital Escape Concludes
The Department of the Attorney General and Department of Health have concluded their administrative investigation of the Nov. 12, 2017, escape of Randall Saito from the Hawai‘i State Hospital, the departments announced on Dec. 12, 2018.
After leaving the Oʻahu facility on Nov. 12, 2017, Saito reportedly caught a flight to Maui and then boarded a Hawaiian Airlines plane to San Jose—all before authorities were notified he was missing. San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested him two days later on Nov. 15, 2017.
“The investigation was complex and required many hundreds of hours of review, evaluation, analysis and documentation by a committed team of investigators,” said Attorney General Russell A. Suzuki. “In keeping with Gov. Ige’s commitment to honesty and transparency, the report is being released so there can be a clearer understanding of the challenges faced by the Hawaiʻi State Hospital.”
The investigation is fundamentally a review of personnel actions and protected by law from disclosure. However, Attorney General Suzuki has decided that for purposes of transparency, a redacted version of the final report will be released.
The detailed investigative report determined that no single, individual hospital employee was directly responsible for the escape. However, the report noted Hawaiʻi State Hospital’s inability to adjust to a predominantly forensic patient population contributed to Saito’s escape.
“We knew the AG’s detailed investigation would take time, and we did not wait to take immediate corrective actions and make improvements at the hospital to ensure safety,” said Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson. “Increased security measures were immediately put in place by the hospital administration, and we continue to make improvements that increase patient monitoring to protect employees as well as the public.”
During the investigation, six Hawaiʻi State Hospital employees were placed on off-duty status. Two of the employees have retired and four will be reinstated to their positions and will be retrained. Based on the report findings, no hospital employees will receive disciplinary action.