'Lessons Learned' From Oahu Prison Escape

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

The escape of an Oahu Community Correctional Center prisoner awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges in February launched a massive manhunt for his recapture in the heart of downtown Honolulu.

Teddy Munet was recaptured the same day he escaped and no one was harmed — except, perhaps, for the reputation of the state's Department of Public Safety, which oversees OCCC and other state prisons and jails.

It turns out that Munet was not shackled with leg irons, as is customary when transferring inmates from OCCC to court. He managed to slip out when four OCCC vans holding dozens of inmates — three-fourths of them restrained with leg irons as well as handcuffs and belly chains — simultaneously unloaded the passengers at a tiny arrival area at the courthouse.

The vans were not equipped with radios, so correctional officers were not immediately able to alert law enforcement once Munet was discovered missing. And Munet was wearing civilian clothes, including a hoodie, that may have helped him blend into his surroundings — possibly including Kawaiahao Church (at least, that's what Munet later claimed).

"Many lessons were learned on this one," Ted Sakai, state Public Safety director, told lawmakers Thursday.

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