Juvenile justice reform in Hawai`i could save millions

Reforming the Juvenile Justice System Could Save Hawaii Millions
Anita Hofschneider, Honolulu Civil Beat, Dec. 13, 2013

“Hawaii is spending nearly $200,000 per bed per year to house juvenile offenders, most of whom got in trouble for non-violent low-level crimes.

But the state could save millions of dollars a year by focusing only on the most serious offenders and putting the savings back into the community to help with mental health and substance abuse programs for young offenders, juvenile justice experts say.

A new report released on Friday outlined a series of reforms that could reduce the number of kids detained by 60 percent and save $11 million by 2019.


Here are 24 recommendations from the report:

1.       Focus HYCF Beds on More Serious Youth

2.       Reinvest the Savings in Local Alternatives

3.       Provide Funding for Critical Treatment and Services in Communities

4.       Refocus Efforts on Substance Abuse Needs

5.       Review Eligibility for Mental Health Services

6.       Guide Rehabilitation in HYCF with Findings of Fact

7.       Clarify the Criteria Used to Release Youth from HYCF

8.       Require the Creation of Offender Reentry Plans

9.       Provide Clear Diversion Authority for Youth Who Do Not Need Justice System Interventions

10.   Standardize Criteria for Informal Adjustment

11.   Codify Current Administrative Monitoring Practices

12.   Provide for a Risk and Needs Assessment to Assist Judges in Disposition Decisions

13.   Use Risk and Needs Assessments to Drive Supervision

14.   Create Case Plans to Focus Probation on Successful Outcomes

15.   Require at Least One Home Visit for Probated Youth

16.   Provide Annual Training for Probation Officers

17.   Create Graduated Sanction and Incentives for Probated Youth

18.   Invest in Proven Practices to Reduce Reoffending

19.   Establish a System of Earned Discharge for Youth to Incentivize Success

20.   Provide for Collaboration Between the Judiciary and Mental Health Clinicians

21.   Provide a Pathway to Earlier Referrals and Access to Mental Health Services

22.   Enhance Interagency Collaboration

23.   Collect, Analyze, Report and Discuss Outcome Measures and Justice System Data

24.   Empower an Oversight Committee to Monitor Reforms and Report Outcome Measures

♦ ♦ ♦

Don’t jail youths for misdemeanors, group advises
Derrick DePledge, Star Advertiser, Dec. 14, 2013

“Juveniles convicted of misdemeanors should no longer be sent to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, a working group recommended Friday, a policy change that could reduce the facility’s average daily population by 60 percent and save the state $11 million over the next five years.

The working group urged the state to use the savings to invest $2 million a year to strengthen juvenile probation and reduce recidivism.”



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