High number of corrections officers take leave during game time

For some time now, KHON2 has reported on the problem of adult corrections officers (ACOs) on overtime and the number of times they have called in sick.

When that happens on the weekends, prison officials are forced to call off family visitations.

On Tuesday, the state Department of Public Safety revealed the number of ACOs that called in sick on the day of the National Football League championship game.

On that day, 251 guards called in sick. That’s a little more than a third of 673 guards assigned to work that day at the state’s eight prison facilities.

The next day, the number of sick calls dropped to 167. On Monday, the total number of ACOs assigned to work was 815.

KHON2 shared the Feb. 1 number with Rep. Gregg Takayama, chairman of the state House Committee on Public Safety.

“Well, that’s disturbing. It’s very disturbing to know that number of employees are out,” said Takayama.

KHON2 asked Nolan Espinda, appointed director of the Department of Public Safety, how he was planning to deal with the problem of guards calling in sick.

“First of all, people calling in sick is not a problem,” said Espinda. “The problem we face is people taking unscheduled leave, with or without pay.”

Espinda said on the day of the football game “there were many scheduled leaves and there were many unscheduled leaves. For obvious reasons, levels of both were higher than normal.”

Espinda went on to say “that’s something that happens annually. I’ve been on the job for two months, and I haven’t been able to correct that problem, but in the years to come, I’m hoping to make a dent in the issue.”

The director, who has yet to be confirmed by the state Senate, says he has been working on a new program with the union that represents the ACOs, the United Public Workers Union, to deal with the problems of unscheduled short staffing at the prisons.

“The union’s been very cooperative. We’ve negotiated an attendance program with them and they’ve been very supportive,” he said.

Takayama says he will call on the legislature to ask for an audit of the prison’s leave policies and the rates that ACOs use their leaves.

“When a number of staff call in sick, we need to bring them in on overtime to at least maintain minimum staffing,” said Takayama.

Takayama says he will introduce House Concurrent Resolution 10 before the end of the week.

LOCATION Reported sick* Assigned Percent
Halawa Correctional Facility 31 164 18.9%
Kulani Correctional Facility 3 25 12.0%

Waiawa Correctional Facility 7 32 21.9%
Hawaii Community Correctional Facility 11 75 14.7%
Maui Community Correctional Facility 18 86 20.9%
Oahu Community Correctional Facility 35 212 16.5%
Kauai Community Correctional Facility 4 24 16.7%
Women’s Community Correctional Facility 18 53 34.0%
TOTAL 127 671 18.9%
LOCATION Reported sick* Assigned Percent
Halawa Correctional Facility 70 165 42.4%
Kulani Correctional Facility 4 25 16.0%
Waiawa Correctional Facility 15 32 46.9%
Hawaii Community Correctional Facility 19 80 23.8%
Maui Community Correctional Facility 40 86 46.5%
Oahu Community Correctional Facility 74 212 34.9%
Kauai Community Correctional Facility 7 24 29.2%
Women’s Community Correctional Facility 22 49 44.9%
TOTAL 251 673 37.3%
LOCATION Reported sick* Assigned Percent
Halawa Correctional Facility 35 193 18.1%
Kulani Correctional Facility 8 32 25.0%
Waiawa Correctional Facility 14 53 26.4%
Hawaii Community Correctional Facility 15 87 17.2%
Maui Community Correctional Facility 22 85 25.9%
Oahu Community Correctional Facility 55 234 23.5%
Kauai Community Correctional Facility 1 57 1.8%
Women’s Community Correctional Facility 17 74 23.0%
TOTAL 167 815 20.5%

* Includes Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

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