STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1199
RE: S.C.R. No. 7
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Human Services and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.C.R. No. 7 entitled:
"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, TO WORK WITH THE FAMILY REUNIFICATION WORKING GROUP AND OTHER COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS TO DEVELOP A PLAN TO ESTABLISH VISITATION CENTERS AT ALL STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES AND JAILS,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to request the Department of Human Services, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, to work with the Family Unification Working Group and other community stakeholders to develop a plan to establish visitation center at all state correctional facilities and jails.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Youth Services Network, Hawaii Children's Action Network, Blueprint for Change, Community Alliance on Prisons, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and four individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services.
Your Committees find that children of incarcerated parents experience grief and loss, similar to the experience of divorce or the death of a parent. Studies show that children of incarcerated parents are at increased risk of abuse or neglect, and more likely to have mental health problems, difficulty in school, and be incarcerated themselves. Regular visitation provides opportunities to sustain the parent-child bond while a parent is incarcerated, which can alleviate many of these problems. Visitation also provides benefits to the parent, including increasing the chances of successful reintegration into the community upon the parent's release. Your Committees further find that prison is not a suitable environment for children to visit their incarcerated parents. Developing a plan to establish children-friendly visitations centers in all prisons and jails will ensure the wellbeing of children of incarcerated parents, encourage visitations, and provide an opportunity to begin breaking the cycle of generational incarceration.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Requesting the Department of Human Services to include in its reports to the Legislature an assessment of any child accommodations in current visitation areas in prisons and jails and recommendations to improve any specific issues; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Human Services and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that are attached to this report, your Committees concur with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 7, as amended herein, and recommend that it be referred to your Committee on Judiciary, in the form attached hereto as S.C.R. No. 7, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Human Services and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair
RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair