HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

861

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to corrections.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Act 179, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019, established the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission to ensure transparency in the State's correctional system; support safe conditions for employees, inmates, and detainees; and provide positive reform towards a rehabilitative and therapeutic correctional system. The commission is responsible for overseeing the State's correctional system, establishing maximum inmate population limits for each correctional facility and monitoring crucial reentry programs, facility educational and treatment programs, rehabilitative services, work furloughs, and parole services. Since its inception, the commission has played a leading role in ensuring the health and safety of inmates and addressing the department of public safety's coronavirus disease 2019 response, despite being unable to hire any staff for the first three years of its existence.

The Hawaii correctional system oversight commission has also been diligently scrutinizing the department of public safety's plans to construct a new correctional facility in the city and county of Honolulu. During this process, the commission noted that despite the project's large costs, plans had been developed without meaningful input or guidance from the community and the facility planners had failed to identify factors driving the State's correctional facility population. The commission also concluded that, due to changes in circumstances as well as reformed criminal pretrial and sentencing practices, many of the assumptions made at the time the facility's environmental impact statement was written have changed. The commission recommended that planning for the new correctional facility be paused so that additional review and crucial planning could be conducted.

The commission has also been closely monitoring other correctional facilities throughout the State. For example, the commission recently highlighted extensive problems at the Hawaii community correctional center in the county of Hawaii, including severe overcrowding, major safety and security issues, and a lack of programs and basic services. Specifically, the commission observed inmates being held in units with broken security locks and no plumbing or source of natural light. Some of these issues may also violate federal detention standards. Accordingly, the commission noted the need for immediate facility and infrastructure improvements at the facility.

The legislature finds that many of Hawaii's correctional facilities, including the Hawaii community correctional facility and Oahu community correctional facility, are dilapidated and outdated. The conditions in these facilities are so severe that the health and safety of inmates and corrections staff are threatened, creating potential liability issues for the State.

Therefore, the legislature believes that planning for new or renovated correctional facilities in every county must begin now. Because the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission has a vital role in oversight and the establishment of correctional policy, the legislature believes it is logical that the commission be included in the planning process. Including the commission in the planning process will also help to avoid the issues that have plagued efforts to build a new Oahu community correctional facility.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Require the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission to oversee and have the authority to approve or disapprove the development or expansion of any new or existing correctional facility;

(2) Prohibit moneys for construction or other capital expenditures from being:

(A) Requested in the executive budget process; or

(B) Expended,

unless the project has been approved by the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission;

(3) Appropriate moneys to and authorize staff positions for the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission to perform these expanded oversight duties; and

(4) Appropriate moneys to the department of public safety to begin planning new or redeveloped correctional facilities in each county.

SECTION 2. Chapter 353, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"353- Construction and development of new correctional facilities; approval of Hawaii correctional system oversight commission required. (a) The Hawaii correctional system oversight commission shall oversee and have the authority to approve or disapprove the development or expansion of any new or existing correctional facility.

(b) No moneys for construction costs or other capital expenditures shall be:

(1) Requested from the legislature pursuant to part IV of chapter 37; or

(2) Expended,

for the purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, expansion, extension, or enlargement of a new or existing correctional facility unless the purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, expansion, extension, or enlargement has been approved by the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission.

(c) To facilitate the oversight and approval or disapproval of a proposed new or expanded correctional facility as provided in subsection (a), the department shall provide any relevant information about the proposed project to the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission upon the commission's request.

(d) As used in this section, the terms "capital expenditures" and "construction costs" have the same meaning as in section 37-62."

SECTION 3. Section 353L-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) The commission shall:

(1) Oversee the State's correctional system and have jurisdiction over investigating complaints at correctional facilities and facilitating a correctional system transition to a rehabilitative and therapeutic model;

(2) Establish maximum inmate population limits for each correctional facility and formulate policies and procedures to prevent the inmate population from exceeding the capacity of each correctional facility;

(3) Oversee the proposed purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, expansion, extension, or enlargement of a new or existing correctional facility, and approve or disapprove those proposed plans, as provided in section 353- ;

[(3)] (4) Work with the department of public safety in monitoring and reviewing the comprehensive offender reentry program, including facility educational and treatment programs, rehabilitative services, work furloughs, and the Hawaii paroling authority's oversight of parolees. The commission may make recommendations to the department of public safety, the Hawaii paroling authority, and the legislature regarding reentry and parole services; and

[(4)] (5) Ensure that the comprehensive offender reentry system under chapter 353H is working properly to provide programs and services that result in the timely release of inmates on parole when the minimum terms have been served instead of delaying the release for lack of programs and services.

To achieve these ends, the commission shall authorize the oversight coordinator to adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91."

SECTION 4. 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 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 for the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission to:

(1) Oversee the development or expansion of new or existing correctional systems pursuant to this Act; and

(2) Establish full-time equivalent ( FTE) permanent positions necessary to perform the functions established by this Act.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission for the purposes of this Act.

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 2023-2024 for the department of public safety or successor agency to plan new or redeveloped correctional facilities in each county; provided that the Hawaii correctional system oversight commission shall be consulted in and provide oversight over the planning and design process.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of public safety or successor agency for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023; provided that the amendments to section 353L-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, in section 3 of this Act shall not be repealed when amendments to that section are enacted on January 1, 2024, pursuant to Act 278, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Corrections; Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission; DPS; Correctional Facilities; Appropriations

 

Description:

Requires the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission to oversee the development or expansion of new or existing correctional facilities. Prohibits moneys for construction or other capital expenditures from being requested in the executive budget process or expended unless the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission has approved the project. Appropriates moneys to and authorizes staff positions for the Hawaii Correctional System Oversight Commission to perform expanded oversight duties. Appropriates moneys to the Department of Public Safety to begin planning new or redeveloped correctional facilities in each county.

 

 

 

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