Don’t miss today’s Civil Beat story about Louis Berger, the New Jersey consulting firm hired to study the replacement of the Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Dillingham Boulevard (“Hawaii Prison Contractor Was Convicted Of Fraud And Bribery“).
Check it out. Remember, no more firewall.
The story’s headline just hints at the long list of prior violations by the company selected for the job.
According to Civil Beat, “Architects Hawaii…was awarded a $5 million contract to craft a comprehensive blueprint — complete with proposed designs and potential sites — for the new OCCC.”
And Architects Hawaii, in turn, hired Louis Berger as its subcontractor to do a substantial amount of the actual work.
The problem is that Louis Berger, both the firm and several of its former officers, have been found to have defrauded the federal government of millions in a series of cases over the past decade, most involving overseas work.
And because Berger is a subcontractor to Architects Hawaii, there is little information about its work available and little the state can do about it.
So that’s one problem, spelled out in gory detail by Civil Beat.
But there’s another fundamental problem.
The Public Safety contract was apparently awarded, including crafting “a comprehensive blueprint” for a new prison system, at the same time that a legislatively-mandated task force is meeting to study “effective incarceration policies in Hawaii and other jurisdictions, and suggesting improvements for Hawaii’s correctional system, including recommendations for designs of future correctional facilities.”
It looks like the administration is simply ignoring the legislature’s attempt to take a broader look at the prison system and its needs before proceeding towards construction. Instead of holding off to see what the task force advises, and which (if any) of its recommendations the legislature wants to pursue, Public Safety is launching on its own.
Anyway, good work by CB writer, Rui Kaneya.