How much does Hawaii’s con air cost? The price of shuttling inmates to and from the mainland

As the debate continues here in Hawaii in regards to if and where to build a new prison, hundreds of Hawaii inmates remain at a facility in Arizona.

Getting them back and forth requires a lot coordination, a significant amount of security, and nearly $2 million of your money each year.

Prisoners on flights don’t get lie-back seats or drink carts, but they do get movies.

The state Department of Public Safety has put aside $1.8 million to hire a company to fly prisoners to and from Arizona where about 1,600 Hawaii inmates are currently being held.

Each year, hundreds of inmates are flown between three stops: Arizona, Honolulu, and Hilo. As you might imagine, it’s not cheap.

So far this year the state has flown 849 inmates between Hawaii and Arizona for a total cost of nearly $1.3 million. That breaks down to just over $1,500 an inmate one way.

The Department of Public Safety tells us the cost can depend of the size of the plane. The price also covers the cost of security, jet fuel, pilots, plus the staff on the ground to help get everyone off the plane.

While you might get a bag of peanuts and a drink on your flight, this flight provides a meal for each inmate.

We’ve learned TransCor, which is a subsidiary of CoreCivic, the same company that owns and operates the Arizona prison where Hawaii’s inmates are held, will be providing flights for Hawaii’s inmates over the next year.

During that time, DPS estimates there will be three to four flights with planes carrying between 140 and 350 inmates.

As part of the deal, TransCor guarantees an ample amount of security personnel on each flight as well as a licensed medical staff member on board.

In case you’re wondering, the inmates are shackled the whole time — restrained with handcuffs and belly chains.

Prisoners also travel inter-island. We’re working on getting information on that to find out where your money is going.

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