Hawaii Launches Initiative to Reform Juvenile Justice System

Governor Neil Abercrombie, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, and Representative Mele Carroll (on behalf of Speaker Joseph Souki) today announced the launch of a new effort to increase public safety and hold juvenile offenders accountable for their actions, while reducing costs to Hawaii taxpayers. A new bipartisan, inter-branch working group will analyze the state’s juvenile justice system and develop data-driven policy recommendations for the 2014 Legislature.

In response to today’s launch, SenatePresident Donna Mercado Kim offered the following remarks:

I want to thank the members of the Hawaii Juvenile Justice Working Group for taking on this task.

I look forward to working with the Governor, with Speaker Souki and the members of the Legislature in passing legislation during the upcoming session so that we will be able to create a better juvenile justice system.

It costs $190,000 per year for a bed to put a youth into our correction facility and that is unacceptable. $190,000, that’s more than the cost of a four year education at the University of Hawaii or K through tenth grade at most of our private schools here in Hawaii.

And despite spending this huge amount, more than half of the youth that we put in those beds return to the system. We need a system that will hold our juvenile offenders accountable, protects public safety and controls the costs.”

To view today’s press release from the Office of the Governor: http://governor.hawaii.gov/blog/hawaii-launches-initiative-to-cut-juvenile-crime-expenditures/