AS COVID-19 INMATE RELEASES END, HOUSE REPUBLICANS APPLAUD SUPREME COURT AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
News Release from Hawaii House Republican Caucus, April 8, 2021
HONOLULU—Back in May, the House Republican Caucus was one of the many voices in opposition to the state's controversial inmate release program, warning that such a policy will jeopardize public safety and increase the released inmates' risk of contracting the virus.
Over the course of the pandemic, over 430 inmates have been released over concerns of the spread of COVID-19 in the State's correctional facilities. The Criminal Justice Research institute reported that 58% of inmates had reoffended at least once since their release.
Late last month, the Supreme Court recommended that inmate release cease due to widespread testing and vaccination efforts by the Department of Public Safety. In addition to an amicus brief they filed with the courts yesterday, the House Republican Caucus issued the following joint statement in support of the Court's decision:
"The Minority Caucus concurs with the Court's recommendation and are in full support of concluding this matter and ceasing all orders in effect to protect the public and stop the release of offenders.
We applaud the efforts taken by the Department of Public Safety and look forward to their continued work to our inmates and community members are protected from harm."
Members of the House Minority Caucus are Rep. Val Okimoto (R-36 Mililani Mauka, Mililani, Waipi'o Acres), Rep. Lauren Matsumoto (R-45 Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipi'o Acres, Mililani) Rep. Bob McDermott (R-40 Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa by Gentry Iroquois Point) , and Rep. Gene Ward (R-17 Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley)