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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

State official defends furlough program after escapes

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state's Director of Public Safety today defended a work furlough program for prison inmates that has had three escapes since March 12.

Three inmates - one who has a history of kidnapping, auto theft and firearm offenses - have "walked away" from the Laumaka Work Furlough Center in Kalihi and not returned. The most recent escape was reported last night.

Laumaka is a transitional program for inmates who are ready to be paroled. The minimum-security facility encourages inmates to find jobs and allows them to go to work unescorted. Laumaka is considered a privilege, but inmates must check in and are subject to drug testing.

Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said the three inmates were "appropriately placed" in Laumaka and all of them secured jobs and were just days or months away from being released on parole.

While he didn't have any sweeping changes for the program following the escapes, Sakai said officials will examine each case to find out if there were any signals or problems that should have been addressed.

"It's a good program that we need to keep," Sakai said. "Inmates are going to return to the community. The program is necessary."

Patrick Molioo, 28, failed to report to Laumaka at 9 p.m. last night as required, said O'ahu Community Correctional Center warden Clayton Frank. Molioo was convicted of auto theft, burglary and drug offenses and had a tentative parole date in September, Frank said.

Other escapees were Dwayne Medeiros, 26, who walked away on March 12 and Arnold Willets, 35, who failed to return to Laumaka on March 18.

Medeiros was convicted for several drug offenses and could have been paroled yesterday. Willets was convicted of kidnapping, auto theft and several firearm offenses and had a scheduled parole date in May.