S.R. NO.













supporting the establishment of a veterans court within the Hawaii state circuit court.




     WHEREAS, the Hawaii prison system is severely overcrowded, and further alternatives to incarceration are needed; and


     WHEREAS, judges in Hawaii have reported an increase in criminal cases that involve veterans as defendants; and


     WHEREAS, a veteran means a person who served on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, a reserve component, or the national guard and was federally activated and honorably discharged; and


     WHEREAS, research confirms that a significant number of veterans return from combat with a combat-related mental health condition such as post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, substance abuse, or other mental and emotional health conditions; and


     WHEREAS, veterans courts in other states across the country have succeeded in turning around the lives of many veterans before they enter the criminal justice system; and


     WHEREAS, veterans courts can assist participating veterans with rehabilitation, medical care, mental health, substance abuse, housing, employment services, and counseling assistance; and


     WHEREAS, a veterans court will serve the dual purposes of addressing the special needs of our State's veterans and reducing crowding in the State's prisons and jails; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii is the only State in the nation with the presence of all five branches of the military and has a high number of returning combat veterans; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii is a unique venue for a veterans court to succeed, given the State's military population; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2012, that this body supports the establishment of a veterans court within the Hawaii state circuit court; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Administrative Director of the Courts, the Director of Public Safety, and the Director of the Office of Veterans' Services.









Report Title: 

Veterans Court Within the Hawaii State Circuit Court