by Andrew Walden
At 11am today, the Hawaii Supreme Court is hearing a motion from the State Public Defender’s office using COVD as an excuse to order another mass release of criminals from Hawaii’s prisons and jails.
The last mass release didn't work out well.
The last Star-Advertiser article touching on COVID recidivism, May 29, 2020 explained: “50 of the 650 or so inmates released early were arrested again. That’s an 8% recidivism rate (in a month) — well below the roughly 50% average (lifetime) rate for inmates released on probation prior to COVID-19.”
In one month 8% vs 50% in a lifetime. Do the math. These criminals will commit a lifetime worth of crimes before this year is up.
And, in fact, Civil Beat August 14, 2020 explains: "Honolulu police reported they re-arrested about 130 of the (650) inmates who were released under the expedited process in the spring."
That means the recidivism rate is now up to 20% after only three months.
COVID is spreading in jail specifically because the inmates see it as a way to get out. As one guard tells HNN, August 13, 2020: “It's like pulling teeth to get them to wear masks." Crowded jail conditions are caused by years of lobbying against the construction of new modern jail facilities. COVID spreads more readily in jail cells with old-style bars instead of newer modern cells with solid doors.
This morning, Civil Beat reports: “OCCC staffers say that mass testing began this week at Annex 1, and the department acknowledged Thursday that of the 110 inmate test results it received Wednesday night, 70 prisoners tested positive. Public Safety officials now say they plan to test all 19 living units in the jail, which as of Thursday held 968 men and women.”
So far 70 of 110 is 64% COVID positive – this may yield 616 cases out of 968 criminals.
Many of the first batch of releasees ended up homeless because nobody wants them at home. Likewise with the second batch of upcoming releasees which may include some of the 130 rearrested criminals.
Already COVID is spreading among the homeless in Honolulu—an outbreak at the Iwilei homeless center announced Wednesday August 12, 2020, is running directly in parallel with the outbreak at OCCC. This is not a coincidence. Many of the homeless are criminals who are momentarily out of jail.
So the outlines of the plan are before you:
1) Wait until lots of COVID spread in jail and among homeless
2) Release more COVID-infected criminals back into the homeless population
3) What is the next step? Of course it is to “stop the sweeps” in order to grow even more large festering homeless tent cities throughout Hawaii. And it is totally unsurprising that the usual suspects are calling for exactly that (see below).
Tents are the problem, not the solution.
The solution: Plywood SROs built in days.
There is an alternative. The homeless can be forced into plywood rapid-built SROs with shared toilet and feeding facilities on state and county land guarded by police. Hawaii County in mid-April used the COVID emergency to build 32 of these units (photo above) in a week without having to deal with the usual NIMBY complaints.
We need more like 2,500 statewide. The first sites could could be built in a week. Then we need to use the emergency authority to authorize police to FORCE the homeless out of their tents into these SRO shelters. The cost will be more than made up from the reduction jail and hospital use from bumfights and drug crimes in homeless tent cities. We can reduce jail overpopulation by forcibly changing the conditions which lead these drug addicts to steal in the first place.
The ACLU etal don’t want you think of any possibilities other than the ones they manipulate you into accepting.
But you just read this article, so you do have a choice.
* * * * *
COMMUNITY ADVOCATES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND OFFICIALS CALL ON THE CITY AND HPD TO END CONTINUED “SWEEPS” OF HOUSELESS FAMILIES DURING THE PANDEMIC
News Release from Hawaii ACLU, August 13, 2020
Honolulu, Hawai‘i: Over 70 officials, organizations, and individuals — representing a broad range of interests and constituencies — released a statement today calling for a halt to “sweeps” of the houseless community during this ongoing pandemic. Many members of this community are families, but the City and County of Honolulu and the Honolulu Police Department have promised to continue citations and arrests for anyone in parks and beaches, even if they have nowhere else to go.
The statement and list of signatories is as follows:
We call on the leadership of the City and County of Honolulu — and the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) in particular — to stop sweeping our houseless neighbors in the middle of this unprecedented global pandemic. It is cruel, legally questionable (at best), and a threat to public health and safety. Public health experts locally and nationally say this is bad health policy, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) itself has weighed in with the following guidance: “Considerations for encampments — If individual housing options are not available, allow people who are living unsheltered or in encampments to remain where they are. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”
That is crystal clear. And yet — flying in the face of CDC guidance — last week HPD Chief Susan Ballard said people who are unsheltered will be cited and arrested if they are in the parks or on the beaches. Making this more confusing is the fact that since the pandemic began, more than 10,000 citations have been issued statewide — thousands to people who are unsheltered — and prosecutors on Oahu and Maui have begun dismissing those citations en masse because they never should have been issued in the first place. This is because people who are houseless are exempt under the emergency orders because they have no place else to go. Issuing new citations after dismissing old citations is nothing more than harassment.
We all want people who are unsheltered to get into housing, but our shelters now have less space than ever because of social distancing guidelines. Just this week there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Iwilei homeless shelter. Forcing more people inside will make this worse. And if an unsheltered person is arrested for being in a park or on a beach on O‘ahu, they’ll be sent to the O‘ahu Community Correctional Center, which is now seeing its own growing outbreak of the virus. We never agree with these sweeps. They’re cruel, ineffective, and the 9th Circuit Court of appeals has said sweeps like these are unconstitutional, a decision the U.S. Supreme Court let stand. But aside from those legal, philosophical, and humanitarian differences with the City’s policy, continuing with sweeps now is endangering public safety, not protecting it. Please join us in a call to end this practice, at least until this pandemic is behind us.
- African-American Lawyers Association
- ALEA Bridge
- American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i
- Church and Society, Harris United Methodist Church
- Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i
- Family Promise of Hawai‘i
- Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development
- Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice
- Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network
- Hawai‘i Friends of Civil Rights
- Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center
- Hawai‘i Innocence Project
- Hawai‘i J-20+
- Hawai‘i Public Health Institute
- Hawai‘i Strategy Lab
- Hui Aloha
- Japanese American Citizens League - Honolulu Chapter
- Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i
- Mental Health America of Hawai‘i
- Muslim Association of Hawai‘i
- Honolulu Hawai‘i NAACP
- National Association of Social Workers-Hawai‘i
- ʻŌiwi TV
- Pacific Gateway Center
- Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai‘i
- The Pōpolo Project
- Project Hiehie
- Project Vision Hawai‘i
- Temple Emanu-El
- UNITE HERE! Local 5
- Dr. Amy Agbayani
- Christopher Akana
- Alani Apio, Hui Aloha volunteer
- Shanty Sigrah Asher
- Sonja Bigalke-Bannan, MSW, LSW
- Twinkle Borge, Pu‘uhonua O Wai‘anae
- Cathy Kawano-Ching, Hui Aloha volunteer
- Samantha Church
- Rev. Thomas J. FitzGerald, First Unitarian Church of Honolulu
- Cecilia H. Fordham
- Lieutenant Governor Josh Green
- Clare Hanusz, Attorney-at-Law
- Jen Jenkins, Community Co-Chair to the Department of Heath's Sex and Gender Minority Work Group
- Darrah Kauhane, Executive Director of Project Vision Hawai‘i and Project Hiehie
- John Kawamoto
- Rynette Keen, Share Your Mana
- Justin F. Kollar, Prosecuting Attorney - County of Kaua‘i
- James Koshiba, Hui Aloha
- Professor Linda Hamilton Krieger, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law
- Charles R. Lawrence III, Prof. Emeritus, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law
- Professor Ken Lawson
- Professor Mark A. Levin
- Professor Justin Levinson
- Professor Mari Matsuda
- Diane Matsuura, Harris United Methodist Church
- Patricia McManaman, Retired Attorney
- Leʻa Minton, Certified Nurse-Midwife, MI-Home Program
- Dee Nakamura
- Deja Ostrowski, Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i
- Professor Robert Perkinson
- Kaimana Pine, Hui Aloha volunteer
- Rosanna Prieto, MSW
- Cheryl Prince, LCSW
- Nathalie Rita, PhD Candidate
- Dodie Rivera, MSN, RN
- Darlene Rodrigues
- Darcie Scharfenstein, Hui Aloha volunteer
- Professor Nandita Sharma
- Dina Shek, Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i
- Professor Avi Soifer
- Chloe Stewart
- Nicky S. Winter, Executive Director of ALEA Bridge
- Summer Lee Yadao
- Professor Eric Yamamoto, Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice