Incarcerated Parents; Programs and Services
Establishes a task force to develop a pilot program for a child-friendly visitation center at a state correctional facility. Appropriates funds. Effective 7/1/30. (SD2)
TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2004
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to social services.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that during the 1990s, the number of incarcerated parents in the United States grew by approximately fifty-nine per cent. The legislature further finds that currently there is no means of determining the exact number of incarcerated individuals with minor children in Hawaii, due to the fact that no procedures are in place for collecting such data.
Studies indicate that the children of incarcerated individuals suffer from a multitude of negative consequences, including the possible displacement from their home and separation from their primary or secondary caregiver. As a result, these children experience strong emotional reactions to the incarceration and disruption in home-life, leading to a significant increase in the likelihood of becoming involved in the criminal justice system themselves. State policies support the breakdown of the family through the institution of termination proceedings and the failure to facilitate the continued relationship between incarcerated individuals and their children, when such relationship is in the best interest of the child. Instead, denial of visitation can often be used as a means of punishment or discipline of the incarcerated individuals, while those who truly suffer are instead the children. However, strengthening family relationships can lessen the possibility of future incarceration after release from a correctional facility.
Therefore, the legislature determines that the State should take an active role in aiding these families through the provision of assistance and services to ensure that these children may maintain strong relationships with their incarcerated parents and grow into well-adjusted, contributing members of the community.
The purpose of this Act is to establish a child-friendly visitation center task force to develop a pilot project that may be established at any state correctional facility to facilitate appropriate child visitation of incarcerated parents.
SECTION 2. Child-friendly visitation center task force. (a) There is established, within the department of public safety for administrative purposes, a child-friendly visitation center task force. The purpose of the task force shall be to develop a pilot program for the development of a child-friendly visitation center for state correctional facilities to support children of incarcerated parents and to strengthen family bonds.
(b) The task force shall be composed of the following:
(1) The director of public safety, or a designee, who shall serve as the chairperson of the task force;
(2) The deputy director of the corrections division of public safety;
(3) The administrator of intake service centers of the department of public safety;
(4) The institutions divisions administrator of the community correctional centers;
(5) The director of health or a designee;
(6) The director of human services or a designee;
(7) The executive director of the office of youth services or a designee;
(8) A representative of the family court of the first circuit court;
(9) The director of the children's justice center of Oahu;
(10) The superintendent of education or a designee;
(11) The attorney general or a designee;
(12) A representative of the child protective services, department of human services;
(13) A representative of the law enforcement community;
(14) A representative from Good Beginnings Alliance;
(15) A representative from the Institute for Family Enrichment;
(16) A representative from the Hawaii Coalition of Dads;
(17) A representative from the community alliance on prisons;
(18) A representative from the union;
(19) A representative from Victory Ohana;
(20) A representative from the Community Assistance Center;
(21) A public member representative of incarcerated parents, to be selected by the director; and
(22) A public member with experience in working with children of incarcerated parents, to be selected by the director.
(c) The purpose of this task force shall be to develop a pilot program for the development of a child-friendly visitation center that may be established at any state correctional facility. The task force shall examine the policies, procedures, and operations of state correctional facilities and develop recommendations for a development plan of the pilot program that shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) The construction of child-friendly visitation center facilities that shall meet security requirements of state correctional facilities;
(2) Provision of a clean and enclosed facility with books, toys, and other materials that will enhance the visitation atmosphere;
(3) Research of the feasibility of private and public partnerships to raise funds and donations for the establishment and maintenance of child-friendly visitation centers;
(4) Development of parenting classes throughout the state correctional system and follow-up courses to ensure the continued use of skills learned;
(5) Provide the appropriate, necessary support services or programs to children of incarcerated parents;
(6) Determine accurate demographic data on the families of incarcerated parents, including custody, caregiving arrangements, and needed services;
(7) Designation of a family service coordinator at the facility whose role is to facilitate contact and support reunification;
(8) Strengthen the family bond between children and parents, that may include providing support services or programs to the incarcerated parent, involving parents in decisions concerning their children's care, and enabling family visitation by incarceration location to facilitate contact; and
(9) Development of a review process to evaluate the pilot program.
(d) The members of the task force shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for expenses, including travel expenses, necessary for the performance of their duties.
(e) The director of public safety shall submit a report of the activities of the task force, including findings, recommendations, and proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the 2005 regular session. The task force shall cease to exist on June 30, 2005.
(f) No later than six months after the task force has submitted its development plan to the legislature, but not prior to the adoption of a concurrent resolution by the legislature approving the task force's recommendations, the department of public safety shall take steps to implement programs for children of incarcerated parents, as well as programs for incarcerated parents, pursuant to the recommendations of the task force. The department shall contract with nonprofit health and human service agencies, communities of faith, and other relevant agencies or organizations to establish and implement the recommended programs or services.
SECTION 3. The director of finance is authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the sum of $ , or so much thereof as may be necessary, and the same sum, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for fiscal year 2004-2005, for the design and construction of a child-friendly visitation center at a state correctional facility.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of accounting and general services for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. The sum appropriated in section 3 for the capital improvement project authorized by this Act shall not lapse at the end of the fiscal biennium for which the appropriation is made; provided that all moneys from the appropriation unencumbered as of June 30, 2006, shall lapse as of that date.
SECTION 5. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ , or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2004-2005, for the statewide implementation of parenting classes and after care services for incarcerated parents.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of public safety for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2030.