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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Public Safety vs. Saving a Buck: SB47 allows early release of Felons
By News Release @ 8:53 PM :: 7320 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

2011 Senate Bill 47 (Relating to appropriation for electronic monitoring of prisoners in communities)

Introduced by Sen. Wil Espero (D) on January 21, 2011, to require the Department of Public Safety to establish a pilot program on Oahu that electronically monitors committed persons who are permitted to live and work in the community, in lieu of continued incarceration; and to appropriate funds.

Public Safety vs. Saving a Buck

From http://www.hawaiivotes.org

SB47 says letting 30 convicted criminals with satellite electronic monitoring go into community housing for as long as 36 months will be less expensive than keeping them incarcerated. But the requirements of the program will have costs, monetary and otherwise, that could surpass any savings this program might yield.

For instance, the criminal participants are required to have weekly drugs tests and yet they are able to fail the test one time and still stay in the program. Then they would undergo drug treatment and counseling for their drug problem. Who’s going to pay for that, and what will that cost? Then there’s the cost of personnel who will be required to watch and monitor the criminals throughout the whole time they are in the program. What about the cost of housing and food and the monitoring equipment? Where will they live, what will that cost and who will pay for that?

As for what this idea will do for public safety, the bill says if a participant is arrested for committing a crime, the participant will become ineligible to participate in the program. So just how good could this monitoring program be for the public if the bill sites a consequence for if someone gets arrested for committing a crime while in the program?

SB47: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/lists/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=47

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Hawaii Votes is a free public service of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Its purpose is to inform citizens, community leaders, business people, media, and public officials about legislation that affects their families, schools, jobs and communities. The site empowers citizens to take a more active part in the democratic process, and hold their elected representatives accountable. Hawaii Votes gives users instant access to concise, plain language and objective descriptions of bills, substantive amendments, and votes that take place in the Hawaii Legislature. Unlike any other bill tracking utility, Hawaii Votes is unique because all legislative actions are described - not just those selected by a particular interest group. It is searchable by legislator, keyword, and 50 subject categories, so users can create their own custom "voting record guide." See the Web site at http://www.hawaiivotes.org

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