HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Project Reset bill is moving through the legislature and aims to offer better opportunities for those in prison looking to put a reset on their life. From rehabilitation, employment and housing, lawmakers are pushing for funding to offer the resources.
“This is a really good bill, this bill would basically provide services and a lot of hope to those exiting out of the prison system so that we could lower recidivism rates and pretty much integrate them back into society,” said Rep. Adrian Tam (D) Waikiki, Ala Moana.
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Honolulu Prosecutor, Steve Alm, sees repeat offenders go through the revolving door. Alm said Project Reset can help lead people down the right path instead.
“I appreciate the legislature’s efforts to help people leave prison and get acclimated better, get IDs faster, get housing, continuing medical care — hopefully get them jobs,” said Alm. “We’re all better off when people succeed on either parole or on probation.”
By providing jobs, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii sees a full circle opportunity.
“It helps in a creative way to address the workforce shortage since there’s so many positions that are available and many businesses are still struggling,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, president of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. “This is a way to provide an opportunity for those who will need that kind of support and resources, but also addresses a challenging issue that many employers face right now.”
Another push moving through the legislature would require the Department of Public Safety to reward inmates who complete programs with health insurance, housing or tuition after release.
“Education programs in prisons have shown to help incarcerated people when they’re released and really benefit them and society as a whole,” said Sandy Ma of Common Cause Hawaii.
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“The promise of change for Hawaii communities on every island sings in the language which identifies the programs so clearly,” said Carolyn Iten, a supporter of SB2433.
Funding for Project Reset is $375,000, but lawmakers are discussing more funding for the bill.