Prison reform task force announces findings

Local News

It’s been two years since the legislature asked for a study to be done regarding the state’s prison policies.

The prison reform task force found positive studies from rehabilitative prisons which helps inmates instead of punishing them. 

“We really need to develop programs that assist the inmates so they come out and get a job and they can secure housing and be able to provide for their family if they have one,” said Rep. Cedric Gates (D) – Waianae, Makaha, Makua, Maili. 

Gates is also the Vice Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Veterans and Military Affairs.

“I don’t think our system right now is doing that, it’s kind of creating a revolving door to keep inmates in,” he said. 

The task force also recommends an Oversight Commission that would immediately address prison suicides and sexual assaults. 

“Some of the other priorities are new programs to help rehabilitate our prison population and making sure that people don’t end up back in prison after they leave prison,” he said. 

Other recommendations from the report include mandatory minimums and drug sentencing.

Rep. Gates says bail reform will likely be the most pushed legislation this year. 

“The recent report that I got from the Department of Public Safety was that there were 87 inmates who are in our correctional facilities that could not make $100 bail, and on average we spend about $182 every day to house this inmate so what are we really doing?” he said. 

“The low-risk inmates of course are going to be the ones that have the very low bail so we have to really think about it from a fiscially responsible side of it to say, ‘Are we spending the public’s money in the right way?'”

The group would like to see a halt on the current new jail until the inmate population can be reduced.

They also suggest not housing those who are mentally ill, on probation or parole in the new jail.

To see the full report, click here

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