On the corner of Wainee
and Prison streets is a building known as "The
Prison." Hale Paahao, "the stuck-in-irons
house," was so named because of its standard wall
shackles and ball-and-chain restraints.
Before the prison was built, sailors who ignored
the warning of the Hawaiian soldiers to return to
their ships at sunset were kept overnight in the fort
(Site 11). It had a reputation
for being a very uncomfortable place to spend the
night. In 1851 the fort physician recommended that
prisoners not sleep on the ground; it made them ill,
and sick prisoners were a liability to the government.
So the Kingdom of Hawaii decided to build a larger
facility to serve Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Convict
laborers stripped the coral block from the fort and
used it to construct the compound.
The prison house was built of planks in 1852; it
had separate quarters for men and women. A guard patrolled
the grounds from a catwalk. Most prisoners were there
for deserting ship, drunkenness, working on the Sabbath
or reckless horse riding. Those jailed for longer
than a year were sent to Oahu.
The prison serves a happier function today. It is
frequently rented for community use, and there have
been many fine gatherings in the now park-like atmosphere.