How much of your tax dollars keep Hawaii jails, prisons pest-free

From roaches to rodents, no one likes it when creepy, crawly pests make a house in their home.

It can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars to pay a professional to get rid of them.

But did you know more than a hundred thousand dollars are being spent each year to keep our prisons and jails pest-free?

That bill is paid for by your tax dollars, so where exactly is all that money going?

Oahu Community Correctional Center in Kalihi is the largest jail in Hawaii. It houses more than 1,100 people, and that’s where most your money goes when it comes to stamping out pests in the prison system.

The Department of Public Safety says last fiscal year, it spent $67,000 for quarterly spraying of roaches and other bugs. In addition to that, $48,900 went to regular house maintenance spraying.

Halawa Correctional Facility has almost as many inmates with just over 1,000, and DPS says it spent $9,600 last fiscal year to spray for ants and roaches.

So why is there such a big difference in cost between Halawa and OCCC?

DPS says the difference is OCCC has a lot of inmates coming and going — mainly people awaiting trial — while most inmates in Halawa are serving longer sentences. There’s also the Laumaka Work Furlough Program, associated with OCCC, where inmates are allowed to leave the facility for work.

Every time someone comes in from the outside, there’s a chance they may bring in some bugs.

Other prisons across the state have pest problems too, but these facilities are smaller and don’t house nearly has many inmates.

We found out the Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oahu houses about 300 inmates, and spent $4,200 last fiscal year on pest control.

On the neighbor islands, the state paid $2,400 in fiscal year 2016 to treat Kulani Correctional Facility for rats.

Also on Hawaii Island, Hawaii Community Correctional Center and the Hale Nani Work Furlough Program cost the state $12,000 for the year to keep roaches, fire ants, and other bugs at bay.

Maui Community Correctional Center and Kauai Community Correctional Center both had to deal with the same pests, but getting rid of them only cost $1,200.

In all, more than $145,000 of your tax dollars were spent on pest control in prisons last fiscal year.

There was one prison we didn’t spend a dime on for pest control, and that’s Waiawa Correctional Facility on Oahu.

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