HI - 6 Halawa inmates freed by mistake

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Posted on: Sunday, October 8, 2000 6 Halawa inmates freed by mistake By Karen Blakeman Advertiser Staff Writer

Six prison inmates were released by mistake Thursday from Halawa Correctional Facility. Five voluntarily returned by Friday evening, and the sixth turned himself in to law enforcement officials at about 7:30 p.m. yesterday after television news programs reported that authorities were looking for him.

An investigation is being conducted to determine how the mistakes occurred, said Marian Tsuji, state deputy director of public safety.

The inmates were among 56 brought back to Halawa Wednesday from prisons in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Arizona. All were nearing the end of their sentences.

Hawaii prisoners are housed in Mainland facilities because local facilities are too crowded. As Mainland prisoners near the end of their sentences, they are sent back to Hawaii and others are sent out of state.

Halawa authorities used family contacts to get in touch with the five inmates who were back in custody by Friday evening. The five voluntarily returned to the prison to complete their sentences.

The sixth, Gregory Ani, 47, probably had not realized his release was a mistake, Tsuji said. Prison officials had been trying to reach him through family members, but were unsuccessful.

Ani is scheduled for release in February from a prison term he began serving in 1996 on a conviction for second degree theft.

"Hes got four months," Tsuji said. "To give up the four years hes already served for four months would be sort of counter-productive."


-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.com), October 09, 2000

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