Sunday, March 3, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Full Text: ACLU Asks Feds to Investigate Hawaii Prison Conditions
By News Release @ 4:10 AM :: 4024 Views :: Law Enforcement

Complaint Seeks Federal Investigation and Intervention Over Unconstitutional Conditions in Hawaii’s Jails and Prisons

News Release from ACLU Hawaii, January 10, 2017

Read the complaint: acluhidojcomplaintprisonovercrowding (PDF)

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – Following a year-long investigation, the ACLU of Hawai‘i Foundation (“ACLU”) has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) requesting a Federal investigation and intervention to force the State of Hawaiʻi to address unconstitutional conditions and overcrowding in its jails and prisons.

The ACLU asserts that Hawai‘i prisons and jails do not meet minimum standards and violate the 8th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution which prohibit “cruel and unusual punishment.”

The complaint details civil rights violations due to persistent and severe overcrowding and underfunding in seven out of the nine jails and prisons run by the State of Hawaiʻi. The overcrowding has led to system-wide deterioration in nearly every aspect of functioning.

Erosions range from severe understaffing of medical and mental health services resulting in routine denial of basic services and emergencies; unsafe food safety practices; holding 3-4 people in a cell designed for two; pervasive lack of hygiene items which fosters unsanitary conditions; and, an aging and ill-maintained infrastructure that poses acute health risks.

ACLU Legal Director Mateo Caballero stated: “Hawaiʻi policymakers have long been warned that without a long-term plan to manage the growth of incarceration, the state could revert to conditions that led to class-action lawsuits and federal oversight.

It is critical that Hawai‘i adopt evidence-based reforms to reduce the number of people behind bars. There are ways to make meaningful change that do not sacrifice public safety.”

For example, in Hawaiʻi, there are over a thousand pretrial detainees, who have not been convicted of a crime, yet sit in jail for months awaiting trial. These detainees account for over 50 percent of people at the Oahu Community Corrections Center (“OCCC”) and almost 20 percent of all inmates. The ACLU supports the wider adoption of noncash bail reforms, which identify for release individuals that pose little risk of danger or flight but sit in jail because they cannot afford bail. Such reforms are not only more just and equitable, but they also reduce overcrowding and the cost of incarceration without endangering public safety.

Nationwide and in Hawai‘i, crime rates are down, yet the number of people behind bars continues to increase. As States nationwide grapple with budget pressures and other consequences of over-incarceration, this trend has prompted some to pass legislative reforms which have reduced the number people in jail and prison, while making communities safer and saving money.

Alaska, New Jersey, California, Utah and Oklahoma, among others, have adopted evidence-based reforms. This includes evaluating who is incarcerated, for how long, and for what violation. Their efforts are reducing the number of people behind bars by modernizing policies on bail, classification of crimes, sentencing, parole and probation.

By contrast, Hawai‘i is planning to replace OCCC, doubling its original capacity at an estimated cost of up to $650M without first evaluating how to save money by safely reducing the number of people incarcerated like other states have been doing.

Caballero concluded: “The Constitution requires that conditions of confinement in Hawai‘i must meet basic standards of legality and human decency – to correct these violations, the State must take immediate action. Going forward, the ACLU is hopeful that discussions about a new OCCC spark lawmakers and the broader community to commit to a more modern vision for our prisons and jails – one that reduces Hawaii’s over-reliance on costly and unsustainable incarceration. The ACLU will re-double its advocacy because there is still time to re-direct public dollars toward more effective public safety policies.”

---30---

SA: Map of homeless people’s locations OK’d

Jurist: ACLU of Hawaii files complaint with DOJ over conditions in jails

SA: Federal probe of state’s crowded jails sought

KITV: Overcrowded jails prompt ACLU to file complaint with Justice Dept.

CB: ACLU Calls For Federal Probe Of Hawaii Prison Conditions

HNN: ACLU files federal complaint over conditions at Hawaii prisons, jails

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT