HCR 85 Task Force Meeting, Council on State Governments Justice Center Report, Hawaii Status and Next Steps

The Task Force established by House Concurrent Resolution 85 and Community members (over 40!) assembled to hear Bree Derrick, Program Director, State Initiatives of the Council of State Governments (CSG), whose analysts worked with Hawai`i’s criminal justice system on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that produced two bills – SB 2776 and HB 2515 – passed by the legislature as Act 139 and Act 140 – in 2012.

Bree presented: Hawaii’s Public Safety Forum CSG Presentation to HCR 85 Task Force July 16, 2018  (click to view presentation)
Then Jodie (DPS Deputy Director of Corrections) asked Bree to go back to the slide showing that Hawai`i was part of JRI.  Jody spoke about all the great things the department is doing with JRI. Despite the department’s assertion about continuing JRI, what was not mentioned was:

  • the department helped weaken the bills that created JRI at the legislature
  • the department received funding for 20+ new positions
  • the department has spent $4.4 million (they say is JRI $) on a contract in its 4th year with UH to evaluate all their programs (HREPS)
  • the data UH is evaluating with PUBLIC money is NOT and has NOT been available to the public or the legislature, despite requests
  • the community*, who brought JRI & CSG to Hawai`i, has not gained one extra treatment slot in any community

The community has gained little insight into the research or services in spite of the fact that the 2012 JRI grant was drafted by Community Alliance on Prisons (CAP). CAP worked to get bi-partisan support, as well as support from all three branches of government to sign on to the proposal letter that was submitted in the Department of Public Safety’s name. Hawai`i won a competitive grant and we are the first and only JRI program initiated by the community!

The downside: Progress has been thin.  CAP has been working to restore that provision that would put all people on parole or some kind of supervision so that every person exiting incarceration has support to assist in their transition. However, Rep. Takayama absolutely refuses to hear the bill, despite the research. Those who max out have a higher recidivism rate than those on probation or parole. 

The bright side: Community support is strong and growing and Senator Nishihara, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, and Military Affairs concludes:  “So what did I get out of going to Washington in November? A lot, it gave me the resolve to continue working with our justice system, PSD, and all the employees that make up our criminal justice system to bring about the changes that will make it fairer, more responsive to the incarcerated and the public, and deliver the kind of justice we demand in a democracy.”

Read Kat’s full notes on the meeting:  Kat Brady_ July 16th Meeting of the HCR 85 CORRECTIONAL REFORM TASK FORCE

See how Hawaii’s progress stacks up with the other 35 states in criminal justice reform: 35 State Policies through Justice Reinvestment Initiative

Check out Hawaii progress vis a vis all states: Hawaii Workbook – 50- State Data on Public Safety