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Posted: Thursday, July 24th, 2014 12:29 PM HST

Ruling dismisses suit against Big Island prison

By Associated Press

HILO, Hawaii (AP) A Hilo judge's ruling dismisses a lawsuit claiming the state failed to consider the Kulani Correctional Facility as a site for a wellness center instead of a prison.

The state Department of Public Safety reopened the minimum-security prison this month. It was closed in 2009 to help balance the state budget.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara on Wednesday granted the department's request for summary judgment against a Hawaiian group that sued to block the prison's reopening.

The group Ohana Hoopakele argued a prison is an improper use of crown lands once owned by the Hawaiian monarchy.

Representatives of the group say they'll appeal.

Department Director Ted Sakai says officials will work with the community to develop a correctional program based on Hawaiian cultural values.

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