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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 10 a.m., Thursday, August 9, 2001

Prison shakedown continues today

By Mike Gordon and Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writers

Prison authorities continued a shakedown search today for contraband at the O'ahu Community Correctional Center but Warden Clayton Frank said guards have not found anything significant.

"Nothing significant," he said today. "They had excess uniforms or clothing not assigned to them, a lot of rubbish, extra papers, magazines. We found razors that they should have been turning in."

Inmates are given razors to shave with but must turn them in to get a new one, the warden said.

The surprise shakedown began yesterday at the crowded detention center at Dillingham Boulevard and Pu'uhale Road.

Frank was pleased that no weapons or drugs were discovered.

"If a weapon, a knife or a firearm, were found, it would be reported to me immediately," he said.

On the first day, guards found a substance thatj appeared to be the early stages of an alcoholic drink made from fermenting food. Inmates call it "swipe."

The shakedown, first of this fiscal year, will probably conclude tomorrow evening after sheriff's deputies and drug-sniffing dogs make their way through the rest of the facility.

Frank said it is impractical to search the entire facility in a single day. There are not enough deputies, the drug dogs stop working well after a few hours, and it could be dangerous to try to move the entire population around at one time.

As it was, about a third of the inmates were strip searched in their residential areas, allowed to dress again, and then moved into common areas yesterday while officials looked through their cells.

Frank said he cuts off water briefly at the start of a shakedown to prevent flushing of contraband.

The search is particularly important for safety of inmates and their correctional officers because the facility has had about 100 inmates above the rated capacity of 1,107 since April.

"We have been triple-bunking," placing three beds in a cell designed for two, Frank said.

Frank said no particular incident sparked the shakedown.

All visits, except those by attorneys, have been postponed and all workline activities stopped until the shakedown is completed, Frank said. "It's a good opportunity to look at our operation in the housing units and everything else."

Advertiser staff writer Brandon Masuoka contributed to this report.