Blueprint for Smart Justice Hawai‘i
News Release from Hawai’i ACLU, September 12, 2019
Hawai`i has 5,630 people in prison.
We can reduce that number.
Like most states, Hawaii’s prison population has exploded in recent decades.
Between 1980 and its peak in 2005, the number of people incarcerated in Hawaii’s unified corrections system rose by 524 percent. While a slight decline followed, there were still 5,630 people incarcerated under the jurisdiction of the Hawai`i Department of Public Safety (PSD) in 2017. Many of Hawaii’s correctional facilities struggle with overcrowding, so much so that1,459 people under the PSD’s jurisdiction were serving their sentences in a private prison in Arizona as of November 2018.
Unsurprisingly, Hawaii’s incarceration crisis has had a particularly severe impact on people of color, especially Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. In 2018, this group made up 23 percent of adults in the state, but a reported 47 percent of people incarcerated under Hawai`i’s jurisdiction that year. Black communities in Hawai`i are also disproportionately impacted by incarceration. Though just 3 percent of adults in Hawai`i were Black in 2018, PSD reported that 5 percent of people incarcerated under the state’s jurisdiction that year were Black. Further, incarceration is on the rise among Hawaiian women. Between 1990 and 2017, the number of women incarcerated in the state grew by 265 percent.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Hawai`i can dramatically reduce its incarcerated population by implementing just a few sensible reforms:
- Further investing in alternatives to incarceration, such as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.
- Reducing parole and probation revocations.
- Ending the expansion of the criminal code and supporting decriminalization.
- Prioritizing pretrial justice reform and ending Hawaii’s overreliance on cash bail.
- Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences.
For more information, along with a detailed breakdown of Hawaii’s incarcerated population and the reforms needed to reduce it, click here.
CB: ACLU: Hawaii Needs Fewer People In Prison, More Treatment Programs
KITV: ACLU report: Hawaii needs more programs to help reduce number of people behind bars
CB: New Ideas For Transforming Hawaii’s Prisons
Meanwhile in Today’s News: Soft on Crime: Convicted Killer Barricades himself, Shoots it out with Police Every Time he is Released from Prison
And just last Month: Ebbtide Waikiki: Fullard-Leo Family Fights Pimps for Control of Hotel (literally)