HONOLULU(KHON2) — Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm hopes to overhaul the current bail system as a controversial bail reform bill sits on the chopping block.

Bail reform is a hot topic. With Gov. David Ige’s intent to veto a bill allowing those arrested for non-violent crimes, including Class C felonies, to go free without posting bail, the need for change in what many are calling a flawed system, remains.

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I’ve always thought there are problems with cash bail. The system as it exists now, it does discriminate against the poor, but it also doesn’t supervise anybody that can make bail. So we are also committed to coming up with a whole new system to replace the old system — not piecemeal but an entirely new system.”

Steve Alm, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney

He said there needs to be a robust and well-funded system in place to protect public safety.

Alm was against the current bill, concerned criminal detainees would go free with little guarantee they would ever show up to court.

Alm said it would be a major policy and funding commitment from the legislature, judiciary, law enforcement and the Department of Public Safety to create a concrete plan and he is committed to working with them to develop a new system.

“I think the key is getting people in front of a judge as soon as possible,” Alm explained. “And then a lot more people are going to have to be supervised by the intake service center in jail. Which means drug testing, personal contact — and it would be good if we could get some of these folks to get drug treatment, mental health treatment from the time they’re getting arrested.”

He hopes to have something in place by next year.

Wanna Get Out Bail Bonds co-owner Kerwin Lima is skeptical and said bail help deter crime and hold people accountable.

“They want to fix it but eliminating bail bonds–accountability is not there,” Lima explained. “We’re trying to eliminate crime and bail bonds are an essential part of helping out the criminal justice system.”

Lima said states that eliminated bail experienced an uptick in crime. And he said supervised release doesn’t work either.

“Those people that are on the supervised release have been non-compliant. So then another warrant comes out going for revocation of supervised release. And then that makes more work for the prosecutors and law enforcement,” Lima said.

Rep. Scot Matayoshi, who penned the current bill, said while he doesn’t plan to submit a new bail reform plan to the legislature next year, he does plan to keep pushing for change.

“We need more local data in order to tackle this bail reform issue,” Matayoshi said.

Matayoshi already put $50,000 in the state budget to create a system to start collecting that information.

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Once the data is collected they will have a better grasp on crimes and the recidivism rate here in the islands.