Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Incentive Program Lifts Inmate Vaccination Numbers

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An incentive program offered by the state Department of Public Safety has helped increase vaccinations among inmates.

The DPS announced the implementation of the vaccine incentive program for inmates in October. Inmates in custody on or after March 3 through Dec. 31, 2024, who are still in custody and fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are eligible to receive a one-time incentive award of $50. The payments are deposited into the inmate’s spendable trust account.

The number of inmates, in state and at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., who completed their vaccine doses and qualified for the incentive jumped from 2,530 reported Oct. 14 to 3,916 as of Wednesday, Dec. 15.

“To see 1,386 more inmates choose to get vaccinated in this time since we started offering the incentive proves that this program is working,” said said DPS Deputy Director for Corrections Tommy Johnson. “We hope to see more inmates take part in this program and make the important decision to safeguard themselves and those around them.”


PSD requested and received approval for $615,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to be specifically used as an incentive for offenders in custody. So far, $144,000 has been spent.

COVID-19 testing is continuously conducted in state prisons and jails as well as in the contracted Saguaro Correctional Center. The latest testing updates for other correctional facilities are:

  • Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center, one positive staff test result and two negative inmate test results.
  • Halawa Correctional Facility, 26 negative inmate test results.
  • O‘ahu Community Correctional Center, 15 negative inmate test results.
  • Maui Community Correctional Center, 15 negative inmate test results.
  • Women’s Community Correctional Center, One negative inmate test result.
  • Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center, One negative inmate test result.

In addition, the DPS Administration Division reported one employee with a positive test result. Notification was made to the state Department of Health.


All DPS staff are encouraged to voluntarily get tested and receive the COVID-19 vaccination. All state employees are eligible for up to two hours of administrative leave (per dose) to take the vaccine during normal work hours, as operations permit.

For more information, visit the dedicated COVID-19 web page.

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