HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some call it a revolving door. Criminals arrested by police and released, then arrested again for another crime. Now, some key players in Hawaii’s justice system are coming together in an effort to stop that by changing a policy that started during the pandemic.

The policy was put in place to help keep crowds at a minimum. Judges were allowed to order the release of suspects charged with things like petty misdemeanors and those with no criminal history.

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“The problem with that is, when they’re released from the police station, neither the prosecutors nor the public defenders get to weigh in on on that decision,” said Steve Alm, Honolulu Prosecutor.

Now, individuals who are arrested during the work week and can’t post bail will be held overnight by HPD and appear in court the next day. From there, Alm says the hope is to be able to help those that may have substance abuse or mental health issues.

“If they’re brought to court, we can recognize the name and do the homework,” said Alm. “We can make a motion to have them taken to the Hawaii State Hospital say for 30 days for observation and a recommendation. That is just not possible when somebody is released from HPD.”

Honolulu police chief Arthur “Joe” Logan said HPD has enough capacity to hold individuals overnight, Monday through Friday. However, holding individuals over the weekend until their court appearance on Monday is a different story.

“So they wouldn’t have to stay in that weekend and that would help us reduce the number of people that are downstairs in our central receiving desk,” said Arthur “Joe” Logan, Honolulu police chief. “So it’s a way to help the capacity.”

The prosecutor’s office will look at the results and may ask the judiciary to limit releases on the weekends too. Alm said, it’s a small step to get repeat offenders on the right track and ensure public safety.

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“It’s in everybody’s best interest to get them assessed and into a program then get them help and then use the leverage of the criminal justice system to help them stay on track,” said Alm.