Prisoners and Pigs Don't Mix
Updated On: Feb 10 2012 09:18:56 PM HST
A former inmate at the Waiwa prison is in line to get more than $25,000 as part of a tentative settlement. He sued the state after being injured by a feral pig.
The Waiawa Correctional Center sits on 194 acres in central Oahu.
It is a minimum security facility that houses more than 300 inmates who are nearing the end of their sentences. The prison traps have been empty for some time. But the wild pigs are still out there.
KITV's cameras caught two young pigs sneaking away into the brush.
Warden Scott Harrington helped to build and set the pig traps around the prison when the problem was at its peak some years ago. His traps have caught more than 200 feral swine over a two-year period.
"The probem is not that bad now. It's been on and off throughout the years. The pigs get tame, and they get big, and they get a little aggressive," Harrington said. "Up in the hills the pigs venture into the area in search of food and water, and they sometimes come through the front gate."
"There's no big fences or walls we are out here in the environment and its really easy for them to come out from the valleys and come on in," said Harrington.
The most recent lawsuit involved an inmate who was in line for lunch and who was injured when a pig went after a sandwich in the inmate's hand,
Harrington believes the inmate tried to feed the pig, a practice officials have tried to discourage.
Prison officials said prior to that lawsuit, another inmate tried to rescue a pig that was caught in a fence. The inmate sued after he was attacked. Harrington believes in that case the inmate broke his leg.
Metal stakes are placed where pigs have tried to root and get under the fence around the prison dining hall.
Guards say they see pigs on the premises every single day, but usually either in the morning or evening hours.
Fresh pig racks were evident along the road across from the administration building.
Fences around the compund help to keep the pigs away from most of the areas where prisoners congregate
But the pigs are attracted to the produce growing in the prison farm where some ten thousand pounds of vegetables and fruits are grown each week.
Access to the free food is a problem.
Across from the fields are the prison's sewage treatment ponds which are an attractive nuisance to hot and hungry hogs.
"They like the water. They like the water hyacinths. They like to eat the the roots and tender so its another attraction and then come up here and get tamer and tamer and then they actually come inside," Harington said.
Part of the problem is that the pigs often attract hunters with guns.
The firearms are not part of a mix prison officials care to have anywhere near the prison.
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