Gov: 'Bring All Prisoners Back' From Mainland

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Neil Abercrombie's New Day plan calls for stopping the practice of sending prisoners out of state.

As a candidate for governor, he argued that the practice sends dollars out of state that could instead be used to create jobs and service opportunities.

"Sending prisoners out of state is also against the basic values of Hawaii, essentially turning prisoners into commodities to be held by the lowest bidder," he argued.

In a press conference Wednesday, Abercrombie went a step further in his ambitious plan for penal reform.

"I hope everybody knows I intend to work as quickly as I can to bring all prisoners back," he said when asked by a reporter about a recent lawsuit filed by Hawaii prisoners charging abuse by their mainland captors. "I don't want to send anybody out of the state — it's dysfunctional."

Bringing the 1,939 men and one woman currently incarcerated in two Arizona facilities (the woman is being held in Denver) will require not only new prison space, but comprehensive programs to facilitate the reentry of nonviolent offenders into the community.

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