CAP Watch: 2014 Justice Bills – MAHALO for your support!

imagesAloha!

On behalf of Community Alliance on Prisons, Kat is happy to report – and to THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT – that the following bills CAP worked on this session have been or are about to be signed into law.

Mahalo to everyone who weighed in on these bills. We had a much better year than most folks, thanks to you. We had 12 bills we worked on go to conference (which is great!).Nine bills passed conference and only one was not good (HB 2205). Hopefully 3 more good bills will be signedon Tuesday.

See more on SB 60, which the Governor plans to veto, under “Bills we will continue to work on”.

SB2609 – RELATING TO MINIMUM WAGE – Became ACT 82 on  5.23.14

SB2315 – $ FOR DPSAFETY SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT @ HALAWA – Became ACT 147on 6.24.14

SB2308 – $ FOR CHILDREN of INCARCERATED PARENTS PGMS. – Became ACT 148 on 6.24.14

HB2363 – $ FOR PILOT REENTRY PROGRAM – Became ACT 149 on 6.24.14

HB2205 – RELATING TO CRIME  – Became ACT 118on 6.20.14

All the bills in Green are good and we hope the Governor releases the money asap.

HB 2205 sadly has a mandatory minimum of one year for “habitual property crime” (which could be 3 shoplifting misdemeanors). CAP fought to give the court the option of probation, which got added, but the bill promotes mandatory minimums at a time when the rest of the world is finally seeing the harm these cookie cutter sentences cause. A one year sentence means a person is not inside long enough to get real treatment/programming; yet has plenty of time to learn bigger and better crimes as the taxpayers pay…and pay…and pay.

BILLS ABOUT TO BE SIGNED:

On Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the Governor is signing HB 2116 that Eliminates Juvenile Life WithOut Parole. This bill entitles a person convicted as a juvenile to a parole hearing after 20 years. The US Supreme Court has already rendered three decisions regarding JLWOP, calling it unconstitutional.

The Governor will also be signing HB 2490, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative that reforms juvenile probation and increases programming for youth. We encourage the Governor to release the funding ($1,260,000) asap to get a good network of programs up and running.

CAP hopes that the Governor will also sign HB 2037, Project Kealahou, a program for girls that is much needed and doing cutting edge work with girls and the staff who work with them. We urge the administration to allocate the funding so that this program can help our girls by broadening its reach and strengthening our communities.

BILLS WE HELPED DEFEAT:

HB 1573 and SB 2403 would require juvenile justice information (which is sealed by the courts) to be handed over to law enforcement. CAP strongly objected to this and was backed up the Judiciary. Both bills never made it out of committee (to the absolute ire of a Maui Prosecutor).

HB 1717 and SB 2128 was a law enforcement bill that wanted to change the law on evidence preservation. CAP did plenty of research on this issue and consulted with several attorneys resulting in our testimony in strong opposition. We helped defeat this bad bill in both House and Senate Committees to prevent it from crossing over.

SB 2507 required a mandatory minimum sentence for crimes against elders. CAP’s objection was to the mandatory minimum requirement and removal of judicial discretion.

HB 2237  was another prison litigation bill. On the face of it, it may have appeared reasonable…a person must exhaust administrative remedies before they could file a suit. The problem is that the grievance system is so rigged against the incarcerated individual. In Saguaro they have an ‘informal resolution’ procedure or something like that.  What it means is that there is NO PAPER TRAIL. A bill like this has a chilling effect on public disclosure of prison conditions.

BILLS WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK ON IN 2015:

SB 60 RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS BILL:
Cap has been told that the Governor is going to veto this bill because of the objections raised by various agencies. More work is needed on this measure and there may be a working group convening to address the issues. Kat will keep you posted.

EYEWITNESS ID:
This was a heartbreaker for us. CAP has been working to develop statewide protocols for eyewitness identification. Misidentification by eyewitness has been found in 75% of the wrongful convictions since 1989. The Honolulu Police Department promised last session to support a task force to do so and then they testified against it.  Ain’t no sunshine. We’ll keep at it until those protocols adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Innocence Project are adopted statewide.

SB 2215 – MEDICAL AMNESTY/OVERDOSE PREVENTION
This was sad. It needed a Senate Judiciary hearing and despite the strong support of Department of Health and the incredible evidence from Hawai`i (below), it died before crossover.

  • The number of drug overdose deaths – a majority of which are from prescription drugs – in Hawaii increased by 68 percent since 1999 when the rate was 6.5 per 100,000. Nationally, rates have doubled in 29 states     since 1999, quadrupled in four of these states and tripled in 10 more. From

*       From 2005-2012, drug poisoning/overdose was leading cause of fatal injuries in Hawai`i surpassing falls, motor vehicle, drowning and other injury-related deaths

  • In Hawai`i, in 2011 there were 207 deaths from unintentional drug poisonings/overdose

 

“…equal justice depends on individualized justice,
and smart law enforcement demands it. “
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

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