Neighbor Islands Get Update on Juvenile Justice Reform

October 17, 2013, 10:45 AM HST · Updated October 18, 5:59 AM
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Maui court building dockets, photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui court building dockets, photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The first in a series of neighbor island meetings will take place on Maui this Friday, Oct. 18, to discuss recommendations for the state’s juvenile justice system.

The meetings are intended to inform the public and stakeholders of progress made by the Hawaiʻi’s bipartisan, inter-branch working group, according to an announcement today by Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui of Maui.

Efforts by the group to reform the state’s juvenile justice system were launched in August, 2013.

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“Using data, research and local knowledge to craft policy, we will achieve better outcomes for our youth,” said Tsutsui in a state issued press release.

“Making the system work better for our youth and their families through less costly alternatives to confinement is key to putting Hawaiʻi at the forefront of juvenile justice reforms,” he said.

The group is led by House Committee on Human Services Chair Representative Mele Carroll of Maui, Department of Human Services Deputy Director Barbara Yamashita, and Senior Family Court Judge Mark Browning.

“We need to make sure our juvenile justice system is targeted and effective in putting youth back on the right track and protecting public safety,” said Carroll in a statement.

“Understanding what drives costs and recidivism in our system will ensure we are being proper stewards of both the taxpayer dollars and the youth entrusted to juvenile justice across Hawaiʻi,” she said.

Over the next two weeks, the group will meet with stakeholders to “share findings, and solicit local perspectives.”

The Maui meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, at the J. Walter Cameron Center, Conference Room 1, in Wailuku.

Additional neighbor island meetings include the following dates, times, and locations:

  • Kauaʻi: Monday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Kauai Circuit Court, Puuhonoa Kaulike Building;
  • Kona: Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 10 a.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room, Building C, 2nd Floor, West Hawaiʻi Civic Center; and
  • Hilo: Thursday, Oct. 24, at 1 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room of Hale Kaulike.

State officials say the end result will be a, “comprehensive package of policy recommendations intended to improve outcomes in juvenile cases, maintain public safety, and contain costs.”

***Supporting information courtesy State of Hawai’i.

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