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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 9, 2001

Prison officials start shakedown

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Searchers found a lot of rubbish and a possible mix of prison liquor in the first day of a surprise shakedown that continues today at O'ahu Community Correctional Center, Warden Clayton Frank said last night.

Clayton Frank said nothing significant was found in yesterday's shakedown.

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But Frank was pleased that no weapons or drugs were turned up in a search of about a third of the crowded detention center at Dillingham Boulevard and Pu'uhale Road.

"We haven't found anything really significant," Frank said, "just a lot of rubbish and we looked at something which might be the embryonic stages of swipe," an alcoholic drink made from fermenting food.

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

The shakedown, first of this fiscal year, will probably conclude Friday 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 1107 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."

Reach Walter Wright at wwright@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8054.

Advertiser staff writer Brandon Masuoka contributed to this report.