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Community Alliance on Prisons How Hawaii Can Have Fewer Inmates and Safer Communities 2010

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SMART
JUSTICE
How Hawai`i Can Have
Fewer Inmates and Safer Communities
July 2010

1,100,850). This larger increase in the prison population
can only be caused by a longer length of stay.”

1

This graph compares changes in the nation’s crime
rates—as measured by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports
(UCR) that are based on police records that primarily
reflect victim reports to their local police departments—
with changes in the rates of incarceration from 1931 to
2004. After being relatively stable for decades, between
1964 and 1974 the UCR Crime Index—which measures
murder, assault, rape, burglary, robbery, theft, auto theft,
and arson—increased significantly even as the
2
incarceration rate remained relatively stable.
National Crime and Incarceration Rate Comparisons

This paper was born at a Strategy Session of the Smart
Justice Collective, a group of academics, researchers,
community advocates, and attorneys. The focus was
Hawai`i’s increasingly costly and ineffective criminal
justice system.
Concerned by Hawai`i’s growing
reliance on incarceration, we dedicate our efforts to
make our system smarter on crime, rather than tougher
on crime.
Both local and national research supports these efforts.
In addition, Hawai`i’s current fiscal crisis has placed us
in a position where the status quo in criminal justice can
no longer be sustained. We believe that this “perfect
storm” presents a great opportunity to rethink and
improve the quality of justice in Hawai`i.
This paper presents data on the consequences of mass
incarceration and how they relate to public safety and
Hawai`i’s fragile economy. We offer recommendations to
stop the unprecedented growth in our correctional
system, save money and reinvest those correctional
dollars into communities most impacted by incarceration.
We hope this data stimulates dialogue and the
enactment of Smart Justice policies that have proven
cost-effective in decreasing crime and recidivism rates,
and build safer communities.
Longer Sentences Fuel Incarceration Boom
“By far the major reason for the increase in prison
populations at least since 1990 has been longer lengths
of imprisonment. The adoption of truth in sentencing
provisions that require prisoners to serve most of their
sentences in prison, a wide variety of mandatory
minimum sentencing provisions that prevent judges from
placing defendants on probation even when their
involvement in the conduct that led to the conviction was
minor, reductions in the amount of good time a prisoner
can receive while imprisoned, and more conservative
parole boards have significantly impacted the length of
stay.
For example, in a special study by the U.S. Department
of Justice on truth in sentencing, between 1990 and
1997, the numbers of prison admissions increased by
only 17% (from 460,739 to 540,748), while the prison
population increased by 60% (from 689,577 to

The Relationship
Between Incarceration
& Crime Rates
A recent study by the University of Texas found that
while the number of inmates has grown by over 300
percent since the late 1970s, growth in number of
prisoners is responsible for no more than 27 percent of
the recent drop in crime. In fact, in states with the fastest
growing prison populations, crime did not decrease.
From 1971-2000, the overall crime rate in the United
States remained virtually the same, while the national
3
incarceration rate went up by almost 500%.
Crime can explain only a small portion of the rise in
incarceration between 1980 and the early 1990s, and
none of the increase in incarceration since then. If
incarceration rates had tracked violent crime rates, for
example, the incarceration rate would have peaked at
317 per 100,000 in 1992, and fallen to 227 per 100,000

1

Paula M. Ditton and Doris James Wilson. “Truth in Sentencing in
State Prisons.” Washington, DC: US DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics,
1999.
2
Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. US DOJ, Bureau of Justice
Statistics. 278,500. http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/
3
Shelden, R. G. and W. B. Brown (2004). Criminal Justice in America:
A Critical View. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
4
The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration, John Schmitt, Kris Warner,
and Sarika Gupta, June 2010, Center for Economic and Policy
Research. http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/incarceration2010-06.pdf

by 2008 – less than one third of the actual 2008 level
and about the same level as in 1980.4
Proponents of prison expansion have heralded this
5
growth as a smashing success. But a large number of
studies contradict that claim. Most scientific evidence
suggests that there is little if any relationship between
fluctuations in crime rates and incarceration rates. In
many cases, crime rates have risen or declined
independent of imprisonment rates. New York City, for
example, has produced one of the nation’s largest
declines in crime in the nation while significantly
6
reducing its jail and prison populations. Studies find “no
consistent relationship between incarceration rates and
crime rates”7 and “no support for the ‘more prisoners,
8
less crime’ thesis. One study discovered an initial
decrease in crime related to increases in rates of
incarceration, but no decrease from further increases in
9
incarceration.

in and out of prison, which serves to disrupt the
community and family structure that would otherwise
12
produce low crime rates. If Hawai`i wishes to reduce its
crime rate, it will need to look at factors other than
imprisonment. The data shows that increasing
incarceration is the lease effective way of reducing
crime.
It is well-known that if properly assessed and assigned
to well-structured programs, individuals who complete
13
those programs have lower recidivism rates.

Hawai`I’s corrections
budget
The Costs of Incarceration v. Parole and Probation
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0

Stricter sentencing policies, particularly for drug-related
offenses, rather than rising crime, are the main culprit
behind skyrocketing incarceration rates. The last three
decades have seen the implementation of new “tough on
crime” policies such as three-strikes laws, truth in
10
sentencing laws, and mandatory minimums.
Thus, the available evidence suggests that the higher
rates of incarceration have made some contribution to
lowering the crime rate, either by acting as a deterrent or
by warehousing offenders during the ages in their lives
when they are most likely to commit crimes. But, the
impact of incarceration on crime rates is surprisingly
small, and must be weighed against both its high
monetary costs to government budgets and its high
social costs to prisoners, their families, and their
11
communities.”
Increasing imprisonment can also result in the “churning”
of large segments of the largely young male population

Growing the prison industrial complex by sending
our tax dollars outside of Hawai`i
Since 2000, appropriations for the Department of Public
Safety have increased from $128M to $243.7M in 2009,
an increase of 90% during that timeframe. Meanwhile,
money spent to send prisoners to contract prisons has
increased from $20M to a requested $66.2M in 2011, a
221% increase. As it stands now, 31.5% of PSD’s
general fund operating appropriations goes toward
incarcerating prisoners outside of Hawai`i; this is up from
15.6% in 2000.

5

John DiIulio. “Prisons Are a Bargain, by Any Measure.” New York
Times 26 Jan. 1996: A19.
6
Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass
Incarceration. New York: NYUP, 2005. 37, 113, 125-27.
7
Michael Lynch. “Beating a Dead Horse: Is There Any Basic Empirical
Evidence of the Deterrent Effect of Imprisonment.” Crime, Law and
Social Change 31.4 (1999): 361.
8
Tomislav V. Kovandzic and Lynne M. Vieratis. “The Effect of CountryLevel Prison Population Growth on Crime Rates.” Criminology & Public
Policy 5.2 (2006): 234.
9
Raymond Liedka, Anne Morrison Piehl, and Bert Useem. “The CrimeControl Effect of Incarceration: Does Scale Matter?” Criminology &
Public Policy 5.2 (2006): 245-76.
10
Public Safety Performance Project (2007, 2008a), Abramsky (2007),
Western (2006), Stemen, Rengifo, and Wilson (2006), and Benson
(2009).
11
The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration, John Schmitt, Kris
Warner, and Sarika Gupta, June 2010, Center for Economic and Policy
Research. http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/incarceration2010-06.pdf

$300,000,000
$250,000,000

Dept. of Public Safety Budget
Contracts for Prison Beds Outside HI

$200,000,000
$150,000,000
$100,000,000
$50,000,000
$0
2000

2009

2010

2011

Hawai`i budgeted more than $60 million for non-state
facilities (private and federal prison beds) in 2010 and
more than $66 million for fiscal year 2011.
12

REDUCING AMERICA’S CORRECTIONAL POPULATION: A
STRATEGIC PLAN. James Austin, JFA Institute, Justice Research and
Policy, Vol. 12, No. 1,
13
California Expert Panel on Adult Offender and Recidivism
Programming, 2007.

The costs for the Arizona (CCA – Corrections
Corporation of America) and the Federal Detention
Center (FDC) contracts represent only the housing
costs.
The CCA – Arizona rate does not include: Mass inmate
transport, small transport, inter-island transport, medical
costs, site inspection; other inmate service costs, on-site
monitoring, and a buffer of 5%, projected to be more
than $13 million for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The
non-state facility rate also does not include the costs of
settlements and judgments for violations borne by the
taxpayers.
There are no programs at FDC; therefore, any programs
offered Hawai`i’s incarcerated individuals are an
additional cost.
Contract monitoring costs for PSD’s Mainland branch
administration are projected to be almost $450,000 for
2010 and 2011.
The Department of Business, Economic Development
&Tourism reports that for every dollar shipped outside of
Hawai`i, we lose $3 in economic activity. Hence,
shipping millions of dollars out of Hawai`i each year
means revenue and jobs lost locally. Using the multiplier
effect, that would be close to $200 million circulating in
our economy.
Corrections Budget Far Outpaces Higher Education
The Pew Center reports that while Hawai`i’s corrections
budget was virtually doubling, higher education funding
increased by a far more modest amount: only 21%.
How are we paying for all of this? We are taking funds
from higher education. The corrections system ultimately
takes money from higher education and uses it for
incarceration by building cells instead of classrooms.
This is the easiest place from which to take money. For
example, the University of Hawai`i at Manoa witnessed
the nation’s highest tuition increase. Dr. Meda ChesneyLind, a leading feminist criminologist, asserts that when
students at the University of Hawai`i pay higher tuition
14
rates they are really funding cells with their tuition.
The Questions That Must Be Asked
What are the social costs of shipping individuals,
many of whom are parents, thousands of miles away
from `ohana?
Research reveals that children who have an
incarcerated parent are six to seven times more likely to
end up incarcerated themselves.
Studies have
illustrated the connection between visitation and
recidivism. This classic study, conducted by Holt and
Miller (1972), showed that California prisoners who have
regular, continuing visits with (at least three) family
members had significantly lower recidivism rates
compared with those who do not have such visits
throughout their prison term. Prisoners with no visitors

14

Ann and Me, Chesney-Lind, Meda, Unlocking Justice Conference
Proceedings, October 17, 2009, p.14.

were six times more likely to re-enter prison during the
first year of parole as those with three or more visitors.
We’re all willing to spend some money to promote
public safety, but at what cost?
This economic crisis has added additional stressors that
challenge Hawai`i’s budget for delivery of vital social
services. Are our tax dollars enhancing public safety or
are we actually increasing criminal behavior? Inmates
sentenced under Hawaii’s misguided drug laws serve an
average of 39 months in prison. This means that
average drug sentences for Hawai`i surpass those of
New York State, with its notoriously harsh Rockefeller
drug laws, where drug sentences average 29 months.
What are we getting for keeping these individuals an
additional 10 months in a cell?
Does shipping incarcerated individuals outside of
Hawai`i promote success when they are released?
The majority of Hawai`i’s incarcerated individuals are
classified as Community or Minimum custody, the least
restrictive levels of incarceration. Sending the majority of
Hawai`i’s prison population abroad to medium security
prisons with questionable programming does not
promote successful reentry. Chapter 353H, HRS,
requires that an individual with a year left on his
sentence should come back to Hawai`i to prepare for
reentry.
“Hawai`i can’t support the criminal justice policies it
has chosen – that’s why you send so many inmates
to be housed on the mainland. When you can’t
afford to keep your inmates in-state, it’s a pretty
good indication that there’s over-reaching going on,
and that it’s time to re-examine those policies.”15

HAWAI`I’s justice crisis
16

The 2009 World Incarceration Rates reports the U.S.
leads the world as the largest incarcerator at 756
incarcerated individuals per 100,000 national population.
If Hawai`i was recognized as its own country, it would
rank as the 5th largest incarcerator in the world with 332
incarcerated individuals per 100,000 population, just
behind South Africa, who incarcerates 334 individuals
per 100,000 citizens.
“Social concern about substance abuse has put
policymakers in a bind. On the one hand, many
taxpayers prefer to see substance abusers arrested,
prosecuted, and jailed for violating drug laws. On the
other hand, these policies have resulted in substantial
jail and prison expenses, overloaded court dockets, a
need for more jail and prison space, and a growing
15

Michele Deitch, law professor aat LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT
Austin, Keynote address, Unlocking Justice, October 2009.
16
World Prison Brief, produced by the International Centre for Prison
Studies, Kings College, University of London, available online at:
www.prisonstudies.org, retrieved January 26, 2009.

recognition that incarceration per se does not address
an offender’s underlying drug problem.”17
Rising incarceration, rising costs, lack of accountability,
and abandonment of correctional agencies by the
executive branch have led to Hawai`i’s justice crisis. The
enactment of mandatory minimum sentences for ice
(crystal methamphetamine) and the increasing overcriminalization of behaviors has resulted in a 60% rise in
Hawai`i’s incarcerated population from 1995-2008.

served by New York State drug offenders released in
2005 (29.8 months).”20

HAWAI`I’s incarcerated
population
Hawai`i’s prison population has grown at a faster rate
21
(2.4%) than the national average of 2.0% since 2000.

“The population of the State of Hawaii increased 8.7%
during the period of 1999-2008, while the number of
reported Index Offenses declined 13.7% during the
18
period of 1999-2008. The total Index Crime rate in
2008 was the lowest on record since the start of
statewide data collection in 1975. Hawaii’s Index Crime
rate decreased in 2008, down 12.7% from the rate
reported for 2007. A total of 49,454 Index Crimes were
reported statewide in 2008, yielding a rate of 3,839
offenses per 100,000 resident population. The violent
Index Crime rate in Hawaii decreased 1.4% in 2008, and
19
the property Index Crime rate decreased 13.4%.”
Hawai`i’s budget for fiscal year 2010-2011 is
$5,144,178,085 and $5,267,648,691 for fiscal year 20112012. The Department of Public Safety’s (PSD) budget
for fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 is
$250,527,729, making PSD’s allocation almost 5% of the
entire state budget. These figures exclude the Judiciary
and other criminal justice agency costs.

7000

Everyone Pays: A Social Cost Analysis of Incarcerating Parents for
Drug Offenses in Hawai’i, p.64, Lengyel, Thomas E.; Brown, Marilyn;
June 2009.
18
Index Crimes - Murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault,
burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. However, due to
a different method of counting, arson is not included in the totals of
reported Index Crimes and Index & Part II Offenses.
19
Crime in Hawaii 2008: A Review of Uniform Crime Reports,
Research & Statistics Branch, Crime Prevention & Justice Assistance
Division of the Attorney General.
http://hawaii.gov/ag/cpja/main/rs/Folder.2005-1205.2910/copy_of_cih2007/Crime%20in%20Hawaii%202007.pdf

Prison Pop

5000

Contracted

4000
3000
2000
1000
0

Below is a chart from the Department of Public Safety’s
2008 Annual Report showing the yearly inmate
population numbers. The chart on the left is the total
population incarcerated by Hawai`i and includes the
individuals in contracted facilities during the same year.

Inmate
Population* from
1970-2008
1970
300
1980
926
1985
2,045
1990
2,625
1995
3,583
2000
5,127
2001
5,412
2002
5,569
2003
5,657
2004
5,958
2005
6,092
2006
6,251
2007
6,045
2008
6,014

“Hawai’i, perhaps without fully realizing it, sponsored 197
of these extravagant semi-public dramas when it
incarcerated the cohort of drug offenders who left prison
in 2006. This public theater gouged a spillway draining
the reservoir of the state’s tax dollars to the tune of
$28,000 per day for every day of the average drug
offender’s time served, or $840,000 per month. In one
year’s time the state’s share of costs for this cohort
summed to about $10 million, or almost the amount of
additional funding recommended by the 2004 Task
Force to fund the gap in substance abuse treatment for
drug offenders in the state. Reframed, this means that
Hawai’i would have been able to fund this need had it
shortened the average sentence for drug offenders by
10 months, bringing it close to the average sentence

17

6000

Contracted Out
of State
Facilities
1996
300
1997
300
1998
600
1999
1,178
2000
1,079
2001
1,194
2002
1,232
2003
1,295
2004
1,579
2005
1,730
2006
1,844
2007
2,009
2008
2,014

In the 1970’s the prison population in Hawai`i numbered
roughly 300. However, 39 years later, there are more
than 6,000 incarcerated individuals in Hawai`i – many of
these individuals are housed in the U.S. away from their
family and friends. This is because there is no space to

20

Everyone Pays: A Social Cost Analysis of Incarcerating Parents for
Drug Offenses in Hawai’i, p.64, Lengyel, Thomas E.; Brown, Marilyn;
June 2009.
http://www.alliance1.org/Research/materials/EveryonePays_Full.pdf
21
Sabol, West and Cooper 2010:18

house them in Hawai`i. She stated that this is an iissue
22
of chronic overcrowding.

Female Incarcerated Population
2.00%

Who is incarcerated?

Community
Minimum
Medium

60% of the incarcerated population is comprised of
people of color. Native Hawaiians are greatly
overrepresented in the prison system. Hawai`i’s prison
population increased by 20% - at a time of the nation’s
lowest crime rate. Even with a decrease in the crime
rate, though, the state’s focus was on incarceration. Part
of this can be explained by who we incarcerate. In
Hawai`i we mainly incarcerate low-level
level drug offenders,
especially female offenders. Ultimately, overcrowding
23
leads to stories of prison abuse.

INMATE CLASSIFICATION
Classification is a scientific assessment of who needs to
24
be confined and who does not. Research shows that
over-classification
classification increases the likelihood of rearrest
after release.
A study commissioned by the Department of Public
Safety in 2007 revealed that Hawai`i has been over
overclassifying our incarcerated population and failing to use
tools that allow for community supervision, rather than
25
imprisonment.
The
majority
of
Hawai`i’s
incarcerated population are nonviolent offenders
(63% male, 84% female) and, as the following charts
show, 66% of females and 54% of males are classified
as Minimum or Community, the least restrictive custody
levels.

Male Incarcerated Population
10.00%

Community
Minimum

23.00%

Medium
Maximum

36.00%
31.00%

32.00%

48.00%

Maximum

18.00%

The Department of Public Safety describes custody
levels as:
Community: Individuals who are eligible to participate in
community release programs such as work furlough,
extended furlough or residential transitional living
facilities;
Minimum: Individuals who have demonstrated that they
can function with minimum supervision in a correctional
setting or in the community under direct supervision;
Medium: Individuals whose institutional conduct and
adjustment require frequent supervision OR intervention;
Maximum: Individuals who are a threat to the safe
operation of a facility.
More than 95% of Hawai`i’s incarcerated population will
eventually return to the community. The Classification
system shall guide placement decisions, including
transition into the community with adequate supervision
(i.e. work furlough, electronic monitoring
monito
furlough,
extended furlough, etc.) In so doing, prison beds will be
reserved for those who need to be incarcerated. And
those who can be safety placed and better served in the
community, will be released. This approach will reduce
the prisoner population
ation and result in cost-savings
cost
to
taxpayers since incarceration is far more costly than
community supervision.

ADMISSIONS TO PRISON
via Revocation
Revocation means the approved term of probation or
parole is voided and the individual may be incarcerated if
the conditions of probation or parole were violated, an
individual violated the law, or associated with criminal
companions. In Hawai`i many revocations are for
positive drug tests.

22

Ann and Me, Chesney-Lind, Meda, 2009.
Ann and Me, Chesney-Lind, Meda, 2009.
24
DOES PRISON HARDEN INMATES? A DISCONTINUITY-BASED
DISCONTINUITY
APPROACH, M. Keith Chen and Jesse M. Shapiro; Cowles
Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University, Cowles
Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1450, January 2004.
25
Validation and Re-Design
Design of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety
Jail and Prison Classifications System Report, Patricia L. Hard
Hardyman,
PhD, September 5, 2007.
23

The Sentencing Simulati
Simulation Model showed that since
2000, the annual percentage of parolee and probationer
revocations admitted to prison ranged between 42.2%
and 50.0% of all new prison admissions. It is expected
that this percentage will continue to climb.
Hawai`i does a poor jjob of preparing individuals for
reentry and supporting them wh
while under community
supervision and over-penalizes
penalizes individuals via revocation
through technical violations instead of through new
felony convictions. More and more of those being sent
to/back to
prison are already under community

100.0%

supervision and end up re-incarcerated because of poor
education, lack of marketable job skills, and broken
family connections.

Recidivism Rate

Prison admissions via revocation have been a major
feeder to the growing prison population (a population
that has grown despite the decrease in crime).
26

In a memo to Senator Espero , the Hawai`i Paroling
Authority reported, by island, the technical violations and
length of time given each parolee between January 1
and December 31, 2008.
In 2008, HPA revoked the parole of 244 individuals
for technical violations. The combined length of time
that these 244 individuals were given for what HPA calls
‘technical violations’ was 467 years. That means that
HPA committed the taxpayers to more than $21 million
in parole revocations in just 1 year.
It is not unlikely that in the near future the majority of
new prison admissions will be comprised of individuals
already under community supervision.

Based on a 36-month follow-up period that begins
from start of probation, release to parole, or “maxed
out” prison release date.

Felony probationers with DAG (Deferred Acceptance of
Guilt) and DANC (Deferred Acceptance of No Contest)
pleas not included and felony probationers in jail/prison
are excluded.)
There has been a gradual decline in Hawai`i’s
statewide recidivism rate over the past decade. The
2009 recidivism rate (51.3%) is 19.0% (12.2 percentage
points) lower than the 2002 baseline recidivism rate
(63.3%).

26

January 2009 Memo from Richard Yes, HPA to Sen. Espero detailing
the 2008 parole revocations by island, technical violations, and length
of time given each parolee.
27
All recidivism data from State of Hawai’i FY 2006, Recidivism
Update, April 2010, Interagency Council on Intermediate Sanctions
http://hawaii.gov/icis/documents/copy_of_copy_of_SARADVSI%20Exploratory%20Study%20%28Oct%202008%29.pdf

20.0%

Probation

*Parole

**PSD

51.3%

51.2%

61.5%

This decline is especially apparent for parolees, whose
51.2% recidivism rate in 2009 represents a 29.8%
decline in recidivism since 2002. However, felony
probationers have a 4.5% decline in recidivism, which
amounts to only a marginal change in recidivism since
2002.
100.0%
90.0%
80.0%
70.0%
60.0%
50.0%
40.0%
30.0%
20.0%
10.0%
0.0%

Local and national research shows that we can do
something about reducing the recidivism rate. The
evaluation of the MEO BEST Reintegration program
highlights the efficacy of programs that are culturally
appropriate. The Interagency Council on Intermediate
Sanctions’ October 2009 Fiscal Year 2006 Recidivism
Update defines recidivism as:



40.0%

Agency

Hawai`i’s 2009 Recidivism Rate = 51.3%27

Any re-arrests or revocations after the start of
probation service date, released to parole date, or
“maxed out” prison release date.

60.0%

0.0%

Hawai`I’s recidivism rate



Recidivism Rates by Agency

80.0%

Recidivism Rates for Felony
Probationers & Parolees

63.3%

FY 1999

55.1%

52.5%

51.3%

FY 2003

FY 2005

FY 2006

The Baseline recidivism study (of probationers and
parolees) included 1,869 Felon Probationers and
Offenders Released to Parole for the FY 2006 Cohort.


The Recidivism rate for the FY 2006 cohort group
was estimated at 51.6%.



This is an 11.7 percentage point decline from the
FY 1999 cohort group.



The percentage rate decline in recidivism was
18.48%
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT RECIDIVISM

The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of
28
Corrections reports.


Appropriate treatment reduces recidivism by 30%



Inappropriate treatment increases recidivism by 6%



Traditional punishment increases recidivism by 7%

28

US Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, reports
(based on review of 154 “controlled studies).

SMART
JUSTICE
Strategies

Reform sentencing laws
Repeal Mandatory Minimums
“MMS are blunt instruments that fail to distinguish
between low and high-level, as well as hardcore versus
29
transient drug dealers.” Current mandatory minimum
sentencing laws eliminate judicial discretion. These laws
are problematic because they tie the courts’ hands and
mandate longer prison sentences, regardless of whether
the Court believes the punishment is appropriate, based
on the facts of the case. Repealing mandatory minimum
sentences would restore judicial discretion and further
the cause of justice. Prosecutorial discretion is
essentially conducted behind closed doors, whereas that
of a sentencing judge is conducted in an open
courtroom. Thus, by shifting the locus of the use of
discretion, mandatory sentencing not only fails to
eliminate the use of discretion, but also subjects it to less
public scrutiny. “There is a better solution. Repealing
mandatory minimum sentencing laws not only saves
taxpayers the burden of subsidizing a bloated prison
system, but it gives states (and courts) the freedom to
30
choose more effective alternatives to reduce crime."

Expand IN-community
SERVICES
Expand Community Drug Treatment Services
For every $1 spent on drug treatment in the community,
you save approximately $18. Substance abuse
treatment provided in the community is more costeffective than imprisonment. Individuals with substance
abuse histories compose a large portion of the prison
29

Mandatory Minimum Penalties: Their Effects on Crime, Sentencing
Disparities, and Justice System Expenditures, 5. THE IMPACT OF
MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES,5.4 Mandatory Sentences for
Drug Offences
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/rs/rep-rap/2002/rr02_1/p5_3.html
30
Mandatory minimum sentencing busts budgets and bloats nonviolent prison rolls, The Jurist – Legal News and Research, University
of
Pittsburgh
School
of
Law,
March
12,
2010.
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/hotline/2010/03/mandatory-minimumsentencing-busts.php

population. Substance use/abuse plays a role in the
commission of certain crimes. Treatment delivered in the
community is one of the most cost-effective ways to
31
prevent such crimes.
Expand Community Mental Health Services
Mental health litigation has established the legal right to
treatment in custodial facilities—for pretrial detainees as
well as sentenced inmates. Among its benefits, good
mental health treatment can reduce security risks by
minimizing the symptoms of mental illness, thereby
decreasing potential disruptions to jail routines and
injuries to staff and detainees. The problems jails
experience in connection with mentally ill detainees are
associated with the absence of criminal justice policies,
procedures, and standards specifically addressed to this
group
of
offenders.
Deficiencies
in
training,
communication, and resources result from viewing the
jail in isolation, rather than as an integral part of a
criminal justice system (that includes the police, the
courts, defense attorneys, and prosecutors) with
linkages to mental health and other human services
32
based in the greater community .
Increasing investment in community-based treatment,
improving diversion from prison and jail, and ensuring
that those leaving prison have adequate care, all will
reduce the financial burden of imprisoning community
members suffering with a mental illness.

EARLY RELEASE
Develop Residential Reentry Centers (RRCs)
“Inmates who are released through RRCs are more
likely to be gainfully employed and therefore less likely to
recidivate as compared to inmates who are released
from a prison directly to the community. We have
recently begun to place inmates at low risk for recidivism
(based on their age, criminal history and other
criminogenic factors) and with few reentry needs
(housing, employment, family ties) directly into home
confinement wherever possible, allowing us to allocate
the RRC beds to those with a need for the services and
33
structure provided in that environment.”

31

Aos, Steve, Polly Phipps, Robert Barnoski, and Roxanne Lieb. 2001.
The comparative costs and benefits of programs to reduce crime.
Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.
32
Statement of Harley G. Lappin, Director, Bureau of Prisons before
U.S. Sentencing Commission, Regional Hearing on the State of
Federal Sentencing, Austin Texas, November 20, 2009
http://www.ussc.gov/AGENDAS/20091119/Lappin.pdf
33
Providing Services for Jail Inmates with Mental Disorders, NIJ
Research in Brief, Travis, Jeremy, and January, 1997.
http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/162207.txt 34The High Budgetary Cost of
Incarceration, John Schmitt, Kris Warner, and Sarika Gupta, June
2010, Center for Economic and Policy Research.
http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/incarceration-2010-06.pdf

34

The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration, John Schmitt, Kris
Warner, and Sarika Gupta, June 2010, Center for Economic and Policy

One concrete proposal for cutting expenditures on
incarceration would be to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders in prison and jail by half (with no
34
change in the incarceration rates for violent offenders).

INCREASE AND FUND
SUPPORTIVE SERVICES
Probation
Probationers accounted for more than half the total
growth in the correctional population since 1990. Overall,
the correctional population increased by nearly 2.5
million, or 57 percent, from 1990 to 2005. Failure rates
on probation are high and have remained relatively
35
stable (at around 40 percent) . In Hawai`i, 1 in 32 adults
is under some form of community supervision (1 in 45 on
probation or parole; 1 in 108 in prison or jail).36
HOPE Probation
Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement
(HOPE) started in 2004 with three dozen offenders. The
first evaluation was limited to drug-involved probationers
assigned to HOPE who are not being supervised for
domestic violence or sex offenses. With support from
the Hawai`i legislature, the program was expanded. By
early 2009, more than 1,500 probationers had been
placed on HOPE.
In a one-year, randomized controlled trial, HOPE
probationers were 55 percent less likely to be arrested for a
new crime, 72 percent less likely to use drugs, 61 percent
less likely to skip appointments with their supervisory officer
and 53 percent less likely to have their probation revoked.
As a result, they also served or were sentenced to, on
average, 48 percent fewer days of incarceration than the
control group.37

Reform Parole
Parole revocations account for a high number of
admissions to prison, most for technical violations. In
2007,
technical violations
accounted for the
reincarceration of 33% of the individuals on parole. To
reduce prison admissions for technical violations,
intermediate sanctions and community support services
should be expanded. Parole reform should include
increasing support and treatment programs for
Research. http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/incarceration2010-06.pdf
35
U.S. Department of Justice, 2006.
36
1 in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections, Pew Center on
the States, March 2009.
http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewcenteront
hestatesorg/Fact_Sheets/PSPP_1in31_factsheet_HI.pdf
37
Managing Drug Involved Probationers with Swift and Certain
Sanctions: Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE, Angela Hawken, Ph.D. and
Mark Kleiman, Ph.D., December 2009.

individuals on parole, and implementing alternatives to
incarceration instead of revocation. Recidivism studies
consistently show that inmates who are going to return
to crime do so quickly (Langan et al. 2002, National
Research Council 2007). If prisoners can remain
completely arrest free for the first year after release, they
have low probabilities of recidivism thereafter.
Successful parole policies should build in
motivational incentives. Current parole contacts
should increase sufficient motivational incentives and
positive rewards to encourage parolees to stay involved
in treatment programs. Research shows that offenders
should be involved in programs for a minimum of 3 to 6
months to achieve measurable positive outcomes (Aos
et al. 2006, Hser et al. 2004, National Institute on Drug
Abuse 2006, National Research Council 2007).
Pilot HOPE Parole Program
The 2010 Legislature passed Concurrent Resolutions
requesting the Hawai`i Paroling Authority to establish a
2-year pilot project for at least 30 parolees who are high
risk.
Improving probation and parole services and supports
could save states millions of dollars. By shifting the
modality of supervision to one of support and service,
states could send fewer people back to prison for
technical violations.

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT
Justice Reinvestment is an initiative of The Council of
State Government’s Justice Center to reduce spending
on corrections, and increase public safety. The Justice
Center uses a four step approach: 1) Analyze the prison
population and spending in the communities to which
people in prison often return; 2) Provide policymakers
with options to generate savings and increase public
safety; 3) Quantify savings and reinvest in select highstakes communities; and 4) Measure the impact and
enhance accountability.
A growing number of states have partnered with the
Justice Center and developed data-driven policies that
save taxpayer dollars and direct some of those savings
to strategies that make communities safer and stronger.
As part of a “Smart Justice” strategy, we envision bipartisan policy makers and stakeholders in Hawai`i
working in partnership with the Justice Center to build
safer communities. Learn more about the successful
outcomes of Justice Reinvestment in other jurisdictions
at http://www.justicereinvestment.org.

For more information about this paper, contact
Community Alliance on Prisons kat.caphi@gmail.com

 

 

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