"RELEASE OF VIOLENT PRISONERS, INCLUDING SEX OFFENDERS, IS A BAD POLICY MADE WORSE"
There's not a single infection in our entire prison system, making our streets the most dangerous place we can put them. – Rep. Gene Ward
News Release from Rep Gene Ward and Rep Bob McDermott, May 15, 2020
HONOLULU—Following an announcement on the floor of the Hawaii State House of Representatives that violent prisoners will also be released due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Gene Ward (R-17, Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) issued the following statement:
"We've arrested people for sitting on our beaches, and today we learned that violent prisoners will be let loose in our communities.
"The announcement came following today's House Floor Session when Speaker Scott Saiki and Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke made the shocking revelations that violent sex offenders will also be released from Hawaii's prisons.
"This 'Get Out of Jail Free' card for violent inmates is patently dangerous, ill-conceived and more hazardous to the health of our community than COVID-19 itself.
"Not a single case, or suspicion of a case of the virus has appeared in our statewide prison system. It is more dangerous on our streets than in our prisons.
"Last I looked, it was the Legislature, not the Judiciary that sets policy for the state. This judicial activism is an insult to our police officers who risked their lives to catch these criminals in the first instance."
Today Representative Ward also joined fellow Republican lawmaker, State Rep. Bob McDermott, petitioning the Hawaii State Supreme Court in opposition to the Public Defender's motion to release more prisoners. See attached.
PDF: Amicus Brief