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Judiciary says Court System Suffering from Budget Cuts and Furloughs

December 13, 2010, 12:04 PM HST · Updated December 15, 2:37 PM
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Two dozen probation positions have been eliminated and wait times have more than doubled for some judiciary services in Hawaii.  The negative observations are among a list highlighted in a report entitled “Justice in Jeopardy” released today by the Hawaii State Judiciary.  The 17 page report details impacts of reduced services and funding on court users and the general public.

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Here on Maui, the Judiciary’s Maui/Molokai Drug Court program lost four full-time equivalent positions after suffering a $420,000 cut to its annual allocation.  The wait time for drug treatment services on Maui increased to 13 months. That’s up from the 8-12 month wait reported in May 2008.

“These reductions have had substantial negative effects throughout the judicial system, by reducing, delaying and in some cases eliminating important services. Notably, Hawaii’s families and most vulnerable citizens have been significantly impacted,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald in a media release issued today.

According to the report, the State’s general fund appropriation was reduced by $19.7 million in the last two years; while furloughs have eliminated in excess of 600,000 available work hours for staff.

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The Department also noted the elimination of 24 adult probation positions with the First Circuit court, resulting in an increased caseload for individual probation officers.  The result, the judiciary says, is an increased risk of probation violations or commission of serious crimes that endanger the community.

“Adequately funding the state court system is an investment in justice, and an investment in our democracy that should not be compromised even during tough economic times,” said Recktenwald.

(Posted by Wendy Osher, supporting information courtesy Hawaii Judiciary)  *** If you enjoyed this story, you may also like our post on the upcoming Hyundai Tournament of Champions including FREE Admission and Special Deals for Kamaaina.

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