Ongoing Series { A closer look into public expenditures

It’s Your Money: Faulty Hose Sends Taxpayers' Dollars Down the Drain

Editor's Note: This is an installment in our occasional series, It's Your Money, that looks more closely at public expenses that taxpayers may not realize they're being asked to pay.

Edwin Naehu and two other Waiawa prison inmates were cleaning trays and dishes one morning in April 2009 when the hose Naehu was using to rinse off food bits burst, spraying scalding hot water onto the left side of his face.

Kitchen staff and inmates at the minimum-security prison in Waipahu usually use a stainless steel pressure hose to pre-rinse food trays in between meal services. However, the original hose had started leaking days earlier. One of the cooks, who are state employees, told the inmates to hook up a garden hose from outside to the kitchen sink, which spouts 180-degree water. To create pressure to spray the trays clean of food, inmates bent the hose, which is what Naehu was doing when the hose burst.

“There was no nozzle on the garden hose so the inmates were crimping the hose to keep up with the pace of their job,” said Rodney Ching, one of Naehu’s attorneys. “[The hose] just ruptured, so you have boiling, scalding water hitting my client’s left eye.”

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