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A Prisoner’s Death, 3,000 Miles From Home

1-25-17 New Mexico:

Frank Pauline Jr.,, 42, died a sudden, violent death more than 3,000 miles from home.

It was April 2015, and the Hawaii resident was walking laps around the recreation yard of the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility when an assailant sneaked up behind him with a rock wrapped in a green shirt.

Three swift blows to the head with the rock, and Pauline was down on the ground, lying lifeless in a pool of blood.

Back in Hawaii, the news of Pauline’s death made big headlines, owing to his checkered history: In 1999, he was convicted in the kidnapping, rape and beating death of Dana Ireland — a notorious case on the Big Island that garnered much attention.

But none of the media coverage of Pauline’s death went on to tell the story behind the story: What was Pauline doing in a New Mexico prison in the first place?

It turned out that Pauline had been sent to New Mexico under a little-known arrangement called the “interstate corrections compact,” which allows prisoner transfers across state lines — typically arranged as prisoner exchanges.

Much of the details surrounding the corrections compacts — how often and under what circumstances transfers are made — are shrouded in secrecy.

But, through a public records request, Honolulu Civil Beat has learned that the Hawaii Department of Public Safety currently has 58 prisoners housed on the mainland under the corrections compacts — in addition to about 1,400 prisoners housed at a for-profit prison in Arizona under a separate contract with CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America.

According to the department, 27 of the prisoners were transferred as part of prisoner exchanges with seven states — California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia.

The remaining 31 prisoners were transferred to mainland facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which, in lieu of prisoner exchanges, charges Hawaii $83.26 per prisoner per day to house them — though not for those who are serving federal and state sentences concurrently.

The department denied Civil Beat’s request for more detailed information — such as specific reasons for the transfers, as well as the locations of where each prisoner is housed.

Shelley Nobriga, the department’s litigation coordinator, would only say that all transfers were made because of “security and safety concerns,” and that other information would be off-limits, citing privacy exemptions and “the frustration of a legitimate government function.” ..Continued.. by Rui Kaneya

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