CAPWATCH HEADS UP: Must defeat these bills!

From Kat:

CAPWATCHWhat a shock I received this morning as I continued to download House and Senate Justice bills and these two bills from the Governor’s package appeared:

HB 2388 – EXEMPTING NEW OCCC FROM CHAPTER 343 – EIS LAW

Creates an exemption from Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §343-5 for a jail facility to be built adjacent to Halawa Correctional Facility and funding therefore and makes clarifying amendments.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/HB2388_.pdf

SB 2917 – EXEMPTING NEW OCCC FROM CHAPTER 343 – EIS LAW

Creates an exemption from Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §343-5 for a jail facility to be built adjacent to Halawa Correctional Facility and funding therefore and makes clarifying amendments.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/SB2917_.pdf

Not 24 hours after the state of the state address, where Governor Ige spoke about TRUTHFULNESS saying:

“It begins with being truthful. We, in government, are obligated to be truthful, even when the truth is not easy or popular. When we live without truth, our actions fail to pass the test of time. Moreover, we tend to repeat our mistakes because we have not learned from them.

The community has not been engaged in anything to do with this proposal. We are being told what the plans are, despite the law. The only partnering is with the private sector (developers). 

  • 353-16.37  Community partnering. Regardless of the method for funding new prison facilities, the department of public safety shall develop and implement a community partnering process to be incorporated into the request for proposal; this partnering process shall include a community hearing for the purpose of soliciting community input.

The only time the Governor spoke about engaging the community, it was about engaging the Kalihi community on what should happen to the OCCC land on Dillingham. Absolutely NO ENGAGEMENT of the Justice community on this new proposal.

In speaking about his new OCCC plan, the Governor said, “One of the harshest realities facing us today is that we need to tear down the Oahu Correctional Facility in Kalihi and build a new facility in Halawa. The jail is severely overcrowded and in disrepair and we must take action.Therefore, I am introducing a bill to move this forward.”

I guess the Governor forgot to mention that he was going to do this WITHOUT ANY ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW AND NO PUBLIC INPUT, which is what would happen if his plan to exclude this project from Chapter 343 prevails.

Why are environmental reviews important?

Every development proposal has potential impacts and it is important to identify them up front. It gives the community a chance to weigh in on a project, it demands a thorough review of the “No Build” alternative (it appears the administration does not want to consider), and promotes transparency in the use of state funds.

The other law passed in 1998 states:

  • 353-16.35  Development or expansion of in-state correctional facilities.(a)  Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the governor, with the assistance of the director, may negotiate with any person for the development or expansion of private in-state correctional facilities or public in-state turnkey correctional facilities to reduce prison overcrowding; provided that if an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is required for a proposed site or for the expansion of an existing correctional facility under section 343-5, then notwithstanding the time periods specified for public review and comments under section 343-5, the governor shall accept public comments for a period of sixty days following public notification of either an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.

(b)  Any development or expansion proposal shall address the construction of the facility separate from the operation of the facility and shall consider and include:

(1)  The percentage of low, medium, and high security inmates and the number of prison beds needed to incarcerate each of the foregoing classes of inmates;

(2)  The facility’s impact on existing infrastructure, and an assessment of improvements and additions that will be necessary;

(3)  The facility’s impact on available modes of transportation, including airports, roads, and highways; and

(4)  A useful life costs analysis.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, “useful life costs” means an economic evaluation that compares alternate building and operating methods and provides information on the design, construction methods, and materials to be used with respect to efficiency in building maintenance and facilities operation. [L 1998, c 227, pt of §5; am L 2003, c 221, §1]

(So it appears that the fact that the legislature passed this law to give the community a chance to weigh in is proving to be problematic for this administration. How shameful when just hours before there was all this talk about truth and compassion.)

The Governor then went on to say,The facility will be designed to take advantage of all that we have learned about incarceration, and the need to give inmates a real opportunity to change their lives….”

What? The purpose of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) is to REDUCE THE IMPRISONED POPULATION. I spoke to Sen. Ige when he was the WAM Chair about JRI in 2014 and gave him a counter-proposal that CAP wrote with suggestions for reducing the imprisoned population and the building of any new facilities. I also had a meeting with Gov. Ige’s staff about JRI a few months ago. Apparently the Governor’s response was that he would implement JRI AFTER OCCC is relocated and built.

In yesterday’s speech Gov. Ige spoke about GOVERNING WITH COMPASSION saying, “Governing in the right way is about people. That’s why we will do what needs to be done with compassion.”

This is so incredibly disappointing, but very revealing. Makes one wonder just what “people” the Governor is talking about.

WE NEED LOTS OF VOICES TO DEFEAT THESE BILLS that open a very wide door to gut project reviews. As a community, WE SHOULD ALL BE OUTRAGED!

Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.
– 
Atifete Jahjaga

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