STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2565

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 2345

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Colleen Hanabusa

President of the Senate

Twenty-Fourth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2008

State of Hawaii

 

Madam:

 

Your Committees on Human Services and Public Housing and Public Safety, to which was referred S.B. No. 2345 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO CHILDREN,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose of this measure is to establish a bill of rights for children of incarcerated parents.

 

Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by Community Alliance on Prisons, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, the Hawaii Youth Services Network, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents, and one private citizen. Testimony in opposition to this measure as written was submitted by the Department of the Attorney General and the Department of Human Services. Comments on the measure were submitted by the Department of Public Safety.

 

Your Committees find that there is an estimated 6,000 children in Hawaii who have a parent that is incarcerated, and that children of incarcerated parents are six to seven times more likely than their peers to become incarcerated themselves. Your Committees further find that these children are placed in vulnerable positions without their parents, can experience trauma and disorientation due to the incarceration, can be the subject of stigma and ridicule and school, and do not receive proper supportive services.

 

Your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Changing the "bill of rights" into "guiding principles" to be used by state agencies when dealing with children of incarcerated parents;

 

(2) Adding three new principles including that the children shall be treated with dignity and respect, that their safety and care are of paramount importance, and that state support shall be provided where possible as resources permit;

 

(3) The right to see and touch their parent was changed to communication avenues shall be made available for children to see, speak to, or visit their parents, if they so choose; and

 

(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and style.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Human Services and Public Housing and Public Safety that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2345, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2345, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Human Services and Public Housing and Public Safety,

 

____________________________

WILL ESPERO, Chair

 

____________________________

SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair