Juvenile/Youth Justice

As you know, Hawai`i started on the road of juvenile justice reform last session with the passage of Act 201 (HB 2490) that reserves Hawai`i Youth Correctional Facility for youth that need to be separated from the community and need more intense treatment. (It costs $199,000/year to incarcerate one youth.). This law allocates $1,260,000 for community-based services for youth. With one residential substance abuse treatment program for youth and the courts reporting that at least 60% of youth in their courts have substance abuse problems, we know that most youth would be better served in community programs that directly treat their needs and that help them navigate their way to a safe, healthy and fulfilling future.

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) released a paper on community-based supervision, which is excerpted below and attached in full.

Next are two studies on juvenile records and the importance of keeping them sealed. You might remember that Kat had a couple of rather unpleasant (for him!) encounters last session with a prosecutor from Maui who was pushing a bill to unseal juvenile records. CAP and the Judiciary helped defeat both Senate and House versions of the bill and the prosecutor was livid (while Kat and the judge were high fiving outside, just kidding)! So below are  summaries of the studies. showing  Hawai`i has a dismal showing (between 28 -32%) in this area.

CAP  will continue working in this area and welcomes all who would like to help out, There is lots of good work being done in this area right here and we need to get the state to focus on those programs that work with our youth. Our community is caring and creative and we can help our youth by listening more to what they have to say and opening every opportunity to them to realize a bright, safe, healthy and just future.

Community-Based Supervision: Increased Public Safety, Decreased Expenditures
Downloadable tip sheet by National Juvenile Justice Network’s Fiscal Policy Center and theSafely Home Campaign.

As a society, we all want safe neighborhoods and prosperous communities. To achieve these goals, however, we need to redesign our juvenile justice systems.

“Currently, our juvenile justice system is like a maze that does not have a way to get in and out. A lot of youth, no matter how they enter the juvenile justice system, get on a path that leads straight to secure custody, with no way out. We know that other routes must be made available — like those that lead to mental health services, addiction services, or services that help youth mature into responsible adults — and that these must be made into two-way paths, so that youth can get where they need to go in the most effective and efficient way possible. If we do this, we can improve outcomes, and achieve safer neighborhoods for everyone.

“A longstanding and growing body of research shows that pre-trial detention and post-adjudication incarceration for youth can have extremely negative ramifications for the youth’s ability to get back on the right track.[1]Youth prisons and detention facilities have been shown to be dangerous, ineffective, and unnecessary. Community-based supervision programs for youth [2]both cost less than confinement and provide increased rehabilitative benefits for youth [3]This brief tip sheet will describe a few fundamental characteristics of community-based supervision programs and will summarize their average costs.”


FAILED POLICIES, FORFEITED FUTURES: A Nationwide Scorecard on Juvenile Records
Juvenile Law Center, 2014

Juvenile records need better protection. A study of each state’s policies on keeping juvenile records confidential and allowing for those records to be expunged shows that the nation limits opportunities for youth by failing to protect them from the harmful effects of their juvenile records.

Core Principles for Record Protection 

Ideal systems will ensure that:

■ Youths’ law enforcement and court records are not widely available and are never available online

■ Sealed records are completely closed to the general public

■ Expungement means that records are electronically deleted and physically destroyed

■ At least one designated entity or individual is responsible for informing youth about the availability of sealing or expungement, eligibility criteria, and how the process works

■ Records of any offense may be eligible for expungement

■ Youth are eligible for expungement at the time their cases are closed

■ There are no costs or fees associated with the expungement process

■ The sealing and expunging of records are automatic—i.e., youth need not do anything to initiate the process and youth are notified when the process is completed

■ If sealing or expungement is not automatic, the process for obtaining expungement includes youth-friendly forms and is simple enough for youth to complete without the assistance of an attorney

■ Sanctions are imposed on individuals and agencies that unlawfully share confidential or expunged juvenile record information or fail to comply with expungement orders

“Few states come close to meeting these standards. The average rating across all 50 states and the District of Columbia was only 3 stars.

No state received 5 stars overall (80-100%).

14 states received 2 stars (20-39%): Pennsylvania, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Colorado, Hawaii (28%), Kansas, Michigan, Delaware, Utah, Minnesota, Arizona…”


JUVENILE RECORDS: A National Review of State Laws on Confidentiality, Sealing and Expungement

“Policy Recommendations

“As this National Review illustrates, many states are not doing enough to protect children from the direct and collateral consequences of their juvenile records. With our Core Principles in mind, we recommend the following:

States should:

■ Adopt polices consistent with Juvenile Law Center’s Core Principles to keep records confidential during and after proceedings and prior to expungement eligibility.

■ Adopt policies consistent with Juvenile Law Center’s Core Principles to a) immediately seal records upon a child’s case closure; b) provide opportunities for automatic expungement; and c) notify youth when records have been automatically sealed or expunged.

■ Collect data to track the number of youth obtaining expungements successfully.

■ Prohibit employers from inappropriately considering juvenile adjudications in their hiring process.

■ Adopt policies ensuring that access to juvenile record information is limited to individuals or entities associated with the juvenile proceeding.

■ Require that a youth has a right to an attorney to provide post-disposition representation for sealing and expungement.

■ Adopt policies consistent with Juvenile Law Center’s Core Principles to ensure records can be expunged free of charge.

“Judges and Juvenile Court Personnel should:

■ Ensure confidentiality of proceedings and information regarding juvenile records during and after proceedings and in accordance with state law.

■ Inform youth of the consequences of their juvenile adjudications.

■ Inform youth at their adjudication and disposition hearing of their right to sealing or expungement.

■ Inform youth of their jurisdiction’s procedures for sealing or expungement of records

■ Inform youth in writing, when they become eligible for expungement by application, that they have the right to petition for expungement and how to do it.

■ Ensure that juvenile record information is made available only in compliance with state law.

■ Establish procedures for informing youth of their eligibility for expungement.

■ Develop materials and information packets which explain the consequences of juvenile adjudications, record retention, and the right to expungement for distribution to youth and their families at disposition and when their cases are closed.

■ Provide youth with notice and verification that their records have been expunged.

■ Create youth-friendly sealing or expungement application forms that youth can complete on their own without the assistance of an attorney.

■ Process petitions or applications for expungement free or charge.

“Defense Attorneys should:

■ Using language tailored to a client’s level of understanding, in line with National Juvenile Defender Center Standards,259

■ Inform youth at all stages of juvenile proceedings of the collateral consequences of a juvenile adjudication.

■ Explain to youth that their records can be sealed or expunged in accordance with state law.

■ Inform youth during plea negotiations or when entering admissions or guilty pleas   when their records will be eligible for sealing or expungement.

■ As part of post-disposition representation, file expungement or sealing petitions on behalf of eligible clients.

Youth-Serving Agencies should:

■ Develop educational materials for distribution to youth and families about the consequences of juvenile records and their rights to sealing and expungement.

■ Conduct trainings with youth in juvenile placement facilities on the consequences of their records and how they can seek expungement.

Records of juvenile crime can have far-reaching consequences, including affecting a youth’s ability to join the military, pursue higher education, obtain employment, secure housing, or receive public benefits. Juvenile Law Center undertook this National Review to highlight state practices related to the confidentiality, sealing or expungement of juvenile records. We hope the Review will be used to mitigate the negative consequences of young people’s system involvement after they exit the system. Retaining juvenile records too often undermines important societal goals, including community protection, by preventing young people from successfully reintegrating into their communities. We also aim to promote best practices by highlighting statutes and practices that ensure that confidentiality of juvenile record information is protected and that children can truly have a “second chance.” We hope that policymakers and advocates will use our Core Principles to assess their jurisdiction’s current practices and enact measures to better protect youth from the harmful effects of system involvement. Juvenile Law Center is available to assist jurisdictions in considering how to implement legislative and policy changes that are consistent with our Core Principles. If you are interested in technical assistance, please contact us at info@jlc.org.”

There is a nationwide focus on juvenile justice right now, so the time is absolutely right to move Hawai`i along the right path, which started last session. Our job, as community members, is to help the community understand that by doing things differently, by treating the youth and the family to strengthen both, if appropriate, and by listening to the voices of the youth that want to be heard, we can all help build safe, healthy and just communities.


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