Thursday, June 20, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Legislators Voting to Release 1,100 Criminals on Streets of Hawaii
By Rep Barbara Marumoto @ 9:08 PM :: 7807 Views :: Justice Reinvestment

by Rep Barbara Marumoto

This "early release bill" (SB2776) amends current state law in a manner that can affect neighborhood security. With 1100 inmates released in the first 3 years of the program, there will be some recidivism, some crimes and many victims. Why the need for this early release? Is it cost-cutting? If so, is public safety jeopardized?

Section 13 requires that the Authority parole an inmate no later than eighteen months prior to the expiration of his/her court-imposed maximum sentence if the offense is a Class A felony. The applicable time for Class B and Class C felons is no later than six months and twelve months, respectively. This administration wishes to mandate early parole for potentially the most dangerous of these three classes of felons. Although the early release is subject to the Hawaii Paroling Authority's determination that the inmate has an acceptable parole plan, the Authority's discretion regarding the timing of parole is significantly compromised.

Early release, as well as other components of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, is based on a so-called “evidence-based, data-driven approach”. The proponents of Justice Reinvestment repeatedly point to the fact that they will seek out low risk candidates, and justify the use of broad, sweeping changes merely because they are based on empirical data. Before we get caught up in the hype, let us stop for a moment and remember that "evidence-based practice" comes from ideas based on rational, optimal behavior in a planned and systematically organized environment. The danger in relying on assumptions made by the evidence-based approach is that human beings do not always act rationally or optimally. This is demonstrated by the very fact that offenders ended up in prison because they failed to act rationally when committing the crime that got them incarcerated in the first place. We have laws prohibiting certain kinds of behavior and prescribing certain punishments for violating the law. Yet, the prospect of punishment did not lead any of these inmates to behave rationally or optimally – i.e. refrain from committing any crime in order to avoid punishment.

The sheer number of prisoners who will be released primarily on Oahu is frightening. At what rate were inmates released from mainland prisons? We should not assume that Justice Reinvestment will be as effective in Hawaii simply because of claims that it has been effective on the mainland.

This bill attempts to make drastic changes all at once. Is this a case of too much too soon? Before we put all our faith into this approach and enact wholesale change, please consider a more cautious and prudent approach by implementing a few of the ideas to see how they work out in Hawaii's criminal justice system. For example, should we not start early release with low-risk Class C felons – in other words, lower-level felons? We should spell out and limit early release only to Class C felons who committed property crimes as opposed to violent acts. The Legislature can then come back to expand the program, after it has had time to observe the results, and determine the degree its implementation affects public safety.

Despite my feelings on the majority of the bill, I do believe that restitution reform is long overdue in our State. I agree with the following suggestions proposed by the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. These were stated in their letter dated March 21, 2012 to the House Judiciary Committee.

"We agree that additional measures are needed to facilitate payment of restitution to crime victims; however, Section 10 of this bill would do very little to improve things, as the vast majority of offenders owing restitution are not in prison, and other sections of this bill propose to release even more people from our prisons. To effectively facilitate restitution payments, the Department suggests incorporating language from H.B. 2394."

Mahalo for your consideration.

  *   *   *   *   *

Reps. Marumoto and Johanson address SB 2776 – Public Safety; Parole

Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 1562-12 S.B. No. 2776, S.D. 2, H.D. 2 RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY. (Public Safety; Parole; Pre-trial Risk Assessment) AS AMENDED, PASS THIRD READING

The purpose of this bill is to (1) improve efficiency by reducing the number of prisoners that PSD incarcerates and (2) attempting to increase (from 10% to 25%) the percentage deducted from inmates’ accounts for restitution payments.

More specifically the bill attempts to implement the recommendations of the Justice Reinvestment Working Group in that it: Requires a pre-trial risk assessment to be conducted within 3 working days of commitment to a jail. Requires the use of validated risk assessments. Limits length of incarceration for certain first-time parole violators to 6 months. Requires certain release dates on supervised parole prior to expiration of maximum sentence . Appropriates unspecified amounts of general funds for 57 positions in PSD. Requires unspecified appropriations of funds for operating expenses. Increases HPA membership from 3 to 5 members.

Contact: or




TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii