RESOLUTION FOR PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT FOR NEW CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
I apologize for not getting the notices out for this reso. Things are flying fast to meet tight deadlines and it is difficult to let you know what’s up in time for you to submit testimony. Mahalo to CAP, Maui Chapter and `Ohana Ho`opakele for alerting folks to all who submitted testimony, MAHALO PIHA!
On March 24th, Senator Espero’s Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs heard SCR 120 re Public Private Partnership Agreements. There were at least 50 testimonies in opposition with only the administrative agencies supporting – the Department of Public Safety in strong support. The community came out solidly against the idea of more prisons…public or private!
Building more prison beds is what legislators do when they don’t want to face the real issues, i.e. sentencing reform, alternative sentencing, ho`oponopono, restorative justice. It is lazy justice to just lock someone up instead of working to address their issues and needs. This is just what the Lingle administration did. AG Mark Bennett testified at hearings for sentencing bills that “we should just send them over there” (referring to Arizona). Sadly, our legislature appears to be in favor of building more prison beds without a critical look at the system. At least Sen. Espero inserted language that the department must provide the legislature with information about the current imprisoned population. There are so many ways to reduce the incarcerated population and enhance public safety that are being ignored. We need to let the legislature know we don’t want to increase prison beds.
FIX UP!DON’T BUILD UP!
Yesterday, April 2nd, the Committee on Ways and Means (Senate $ committee) held the final Senate hearing on SCR 120 SD1. There was lots of discussion. Sen. DelaCruz (Mr. PLDC) asked why the reso was going down one path instead of looking at alternatives. Of course, his alternatives are not the same as ours.
The committee called the Director up for questioning, it was clear to all that he was way beyond his depth as he stuttered and stammered and finally said that he was the ‘prison guy’ not the ‘financial guy’. I guess that says it all about where the department and this administration are going. It’s all about keeping 6,000 people imprisoned. It appears they have abandoned Justice Reinvestment that has successfully reduced the imprisoned populations of places like NY and Texas and decreased crime. The fact that the department is clueless about the public private partnership agreement they are strongly supporting, was revealing. It was, frankly, pitiful and depressing to watch.
It really makes one wonder…is this about elections or justice???
The reso was amended (it’s still bad). Here are the links to the committee report from WAM and the SD2 version of the resolution.
The resolutions are crossing over to the other chamber today. The House will now have to refer it to committee (most likely Public Safety – PBS – and Finance – FIN) and the committee will have to schedule a hearing for SCR 120 SD2. I will try to get as much advance notice from PBS as possible, but frankly, that will probably not happen. Chair Aquino gets his notices out late; his way of giving the agencies what they want and ignoring the public voice. Many, many legislators have complained to me about him and all I can say is “He’s your colleague. Do something!”
I will try my best to get you notices on this reso as soon as they are available. We need to have plenty people urging a safer and more sensible approach to wrongdoing. Crime is at the lowest rate since 1975.
Prison creates criminal behavior. A diverse array of community programs, economic development, and educational opportunities will help strengthen our communities, restore our families and rebuild the broken lives from which many of our incarcerated come. WE CAN DO THIS…IF WE REALLY WANT TO!
Call or email your legislator today and ask if he/she wants safe, healthy, and just communities. If the legislator says “Yes!” then tell them NO MORE PRISONS! Here are the contact lists for House members:
All House members: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/members/legislators.aspx?chamber=H
“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. A radical approach to the US criminal justice system means we must go to the root of the problem. Not reform. Not better beds in better prisons. We are not called to only trim the leaves or prune the branches, but rip up this unjust system by its roots.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.