STAND. COM. REP. NO. 170

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.B. No. 917

 

 

 

Honorable Colleen Hanabusa

President of the Senate

Twenty-Fourth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2007

State of Hawaii

 

Madam:

 

Your Committee on Public Safety, to which was referred S.B. No. 917 entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose of this measure is to return female Hawaii prisoners incarcerated on the mainland to Hawaii for the remainder of their incarceration.

Specifically, this measure would appropriate funds to the Department of Public Safety to develop a plan by January 1, 2008, and to return all female Hawaii prisoners incarcerated in mainland facilities back to Hawaii by July 1, 2009.

The Department of Public Safety; Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Community Alliance on Prisons; Government Efficiency Teams, Inc.; Hawaii Substance Abuse Coalition; Hawaii Youth Services Network; TJ Mahoney & Associates' Ka Hale Hoala Hou No Na Wahine; and three individuals submitted testimony in support of this measure.

 

Your Committee finds that sending incarcerated offenders to the mainland creates a wider rift in the family than incarcerating the offender in-state, since the cost of phone calls and video conferencing can be prohibitive. With regard to women prisoners who are mothers, this separation creates another victim, their children. There is a growing amount of evidence that children whose parents are incarcerated are more likely to have socialization problems and exhibit deviant behavior.

Your Committee further finds that separating mothers from their children compounds the problems that brought the offender to the correctional facility in the first place. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has noted that the different rehabilitation needs of women requires emphasizing relationship issues, such as engaging in family therapy in which children are present with their offender mothers. Additionally, children are a great motivating factor in the rehabilitation of their offender mothers as evidenced by the fact that incarcerated women who are involved with their children have fewer write ups and are more engaged in their rehabilitation programs.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Public Safety that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 917 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety,

 

 

 

____________________________

WILL ESPERO, Chair