Monday, September 21, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
​Hawaii bail system victimizes taxpayers, too
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:38 PM :: 3449 Views :: Judiciary, Law Enforcement

Hawaii bail system victimizes taxpayers, too

by Derek Draplin, Grassroot Institute, February 11, 2018

Hawaii’s criminal justice bail system apparently is another unfortunate example of how government inefficiency is resulting in excessively high costs to Hawaii taxpayers.

Hawaii’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last week released a report, “As Much Justice As You Can Afford — Hawaiiʻs Accused Face an Unequal Bail System,”showing that bail practices in the state ensnare Hawaii’s lower-income residents with high bail amounts difficult for the accused to pay, leading to overcrowding in our state’s jail system — which, in turn, is burdening Hawaii taxpayers to the tune of about $60 million a year.

Sadly, about half of the 2,200 people in Hawaii’s jails have not even been convicted, and are simply awaiting trial, according to the study.

Those accused-but-not-convicted inmates on average spend about 90 days in jail just waiting for their trials, compared to the average of 15 days in large county jails in other U.S. states.

This delay in getting the accused to trial, combined with high bail amounts, is an injustice inflicted on the detainees as well as a financial and social burden for the rest of us.

The ACLU study noted it costs $146 a day per person to house detainees, which over the period of a year is about $53,290, or roughly $60 million dollars a year for the 1,100 or so pretrial detainees in Hawaii.

At the time of the study, only 44 percent of the 1,529 individuals facing money bail were able to post bail. For Class C Felony charges, Honolulu County had the highest average bail amount at over $20,000, while Hawaii County had a $3,700 average for the same charges.

The study suggested that one reason the bail amounts can’t be paid is that they are “set using pre-determined charge-based bail schedules.”

Instead of bail schedules, Hawaii’s bail system should instead “carefully consider the individual circumstances of the arrestee, including flight risk, dangerousness, and ability to pay,” the study concluded.

Hawaii’s overpopulated jail system has led some lawmakers to propose building a new jail to replace the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center. A consultant for the state last year estimated it could cost between $433 million to $673 million to build a new jail in Halawa.

Beside the economic cost, the Hawaii ACLU believes that the state’s bail practices have high social consequences, since individuals in jail who can’t post bail cannot work or be with their families.

Self-described “conservative” groups such as Right on Crime also are alarmed by the negative social consequences of pretrial incarceration.  

Marc Levin, Right on Crime policy director, noted that low-risk defendants who are detained for multiple days are more likely to commit more crimes later.

Writing in November 2016, Levin wrote that not only did the cost to taxpayers of pretrial incarceration nationwide amount to some $9 billion a year, but “there are also human costs.”

Research, he said, “has found that, when held for two to three days, low-risk defendants have a nearly 40 percent greater likelihood of committing new crimes than comparable defendants held no more than 24 hours. This could be due to loss of employment, housing, and even family support during lengthy periods of pretrial incarceration.”

Just as important, of course, is the loss of due process rights for the individuals detained for excessive amounts of time prior to their trials. The U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees speedy trials, and too many of our citizens — especially our lower-income neighbors who can’t afford to post bail — aren’t getting them.

It’s important for Hawaii to consider the enormous costs of its harsh bail policies and long pretrial delays, both for the unlucky individuals unnecessarily detained by such government inefficiencies and for the taxpayers footing the unnecessarily excessive bills.

---30---

ACLU: Financially Successful Criminals Can Make Bail

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT