How to Find an Inmate in Hawaii
Hawaii is a state where jail overcrowding is at chronically high levels, and it seems to be getting worse. Recent figures show island correctional facilities generally are at more than 50 percent over capacity. The state currently sends many prisoners to a detention facility on the mainland because it has no place to put them.
A little knowledge about the prison system and how to access public records is important if you’re trying to find someone who has been arrested in Hawaii.
If you’re looking for the quickest and easiest way to run an inmate search in Hawaii, skip to the end of this article.
Hawaii’s prison system is made up of four prisons, all run by Hawaii’s Corrections Division. The largest is the Halawa Correctional facility on the island of Oahu in Honolulu County. It houses up to 900 inmates. The next largest is the Waiawa Correctional Facility, also on Oahu. It is located in the old sugar plantation town of Waipahu and holds just over 300 prisoners.
The Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island holds about 200 prisoners. Hawaii’s fourth state prison is also on Oahu, at Kailua. It is a women’s only facility that holds only 50 inmates.
There is one federal detention center in Honolulu that holds male and female prisoners of all security levels, and it’s usually at maximum capacity with about 700 inmates. There are also four state jails on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
Hawaii’s jail crowding is at such massive levels that many of the state’s male prisoners aren’t even held there. So far, the state has spent more than $11 million to house male prisoners at a private prison in Saguaro, Arizona. There are currently about 1,500 hundred male prisoners held there, most of them native islanders.
Hawaii Inmate Search
The Hawaii DOC says there are about 5,600 inmates in the state prison system as of early 2019. Unlike a few other states, Hawaii doesn’t have a search function on a state website to help you find an inmate. It uses a national online portal called Vinelink. Vinelink is currently used in 48 states and territories like Puerto Rico to track prisoners. You can search by first and last name, or by offender ID, to find an inmate’s location and status.
The drawback of using Vinelink is that it doesn’t include prisoners in federal custody. So, it won’t help you if the person you’re looking for is in the federal detention center in Honolulu. If you do find an inmate through Vinelink, it is possible to have it notify you if the status of the person changes. Vinelink will alert you if the person has been released or granted parole.
Hawaii Public Records
One way to find a person in custody in Hawaii is by performing a criminal history record check. The Hawaii Criminal Justice Center puts out criminal history record checks for any adult getting a criminal conviction in the state. The state considers the person’s criminal history and fingerprints to be public record following a conviction.
You can find this information through public access sites like the Adult Criminal Conviction Information Web Site. The state of Hawaii charges a fee of $30 for any criminal history record check processed by the Hawaii Criminal Justice Center.
Hawaii Court Records and Arrest Records
The state will not release any information on arrests that have not received convictions or on cases still pending. This information is considered confidential, not public record. You can also find arrest records at one of the five county police stations if the arrest is followed by a guilty conviction. These would be the Honolulu Police Department, Hawaii Police Department, Kona Police Station, Kauai County Police Station, and Maui County Police Department.
The Hawaii State Judiciary allows public access online through a system called Court Kokua. It has information on District Court and Circuit Court criminal cases, Family Court, and traffic cases. The system went online in early 2017. More information, such as case IDs, is likely needed for cases going back before then.
You can search for a case starting with a person’s name, business or agency, license plate, or vehicle I.D. number. Case details can also be found if you have a case I.D. or citation number.
Hawaii Vital Records
Vital records in Hawaii are restricted to the person they apply to unless the record is more than 75 years old. In this case you would need to be working on a genealogy project. Vital records like birth, death, and marriage certificates, are managed by the Office of Health Monitoring under the Department of Health. The office only holds records of events that happened in Hawaii.
The office does not keep records of divorces that happened after January 2003. All divorce records since that date are kept in the court where the divorce was filed. All other vital records can be searched through the Department of Health’s website at health.Hawaii.gov.
There are some special instances where a person can apply for a certified copy of a vital record of someone other than themselves. Such an application could be from the person’s spouse or parent, an agency acting on behalf of the person, or if it’s ordered by the court for one reason or another.
A direct way to find out if a person is in custody is to contact any one of the detention centers in Hawaii directly. All contact information for any of the centers is available on the home page of the website for the Corrections Division.
Quick and Easy Background Check (Online)
You can also use a service like Checkthem.com to do all the work for you. CheckThem scours millions of public records of a person you’re looking for in just a matter of seconds.