Hawaii prisons nearly ran out of food for inmates in May and are now asking for an exemption to state procurement rules to speed up purchases, reports the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “Tension among the inmate population because of inadequate meals is rising to levels that may result in serious inmate disturbances, if not immediately addressed,” the Department of Public Safety wrote in a May filing with the state Procurement Office.
The problem arose when some of the state’s solicitations for groceries and meat failed to draw enough bidders. The situation has been partially resolved, but it raised questions about a new law aimed at increasing state purchases of local agricultural products. The law may have been a factor when correctional facilities, which house 6,000 prisoners, ran dangerously low of food last month.