Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Stephanie Salazar
HILO, Hawaii – It was a gubernatorial pep talk for the Hawaii Island corrections recruits on Friday.
Govenor Neil Abercrombie was joined by state Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai in Hilo to meet and address a Basic Corrections Training recruit class. The recruits will replace adult corrections officers currently at the Hawaii Community Correction Center who will transfer to the Kulani Correctional Facility when it reopens in July.
We spoke to the governor outside the meeting room in the old state courthouse afterwards.
The governor was critical of the closure of the Kulani Correctional Facility, which came suddenly in 2009 under the administration of Governor Linda Lingle. Abercrombie began work to re-instate the facility after he was elected into office in 2010. He said everything is on track.
The new warden of Kulani, Ruth Coller Forbes, was introduced to the room. The governor also spoke about the Youth ChalleNGe Academy, which currently occupies the Kulani facility. The program for at risk youth moved in after the department of public safety moved out.
The governor also had some thoughts on future facilities, both existing and planned. Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter John Burnett had a few questions about a planned Kona facility.
Governor Abercrombie also had a lot to say about an agricultural project at Kulani, which was just awarded a big grant. Reading from a paper aloud to the recruits, he detailed what the project will entail.