Initiative Aims To Bring Hawaii's Prisoners Home

Rj Brown

UPDATED 6/29/11 8:55 a.m.

Bringing Hawaii inmates housed in mainland prisons home to the islands is one of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's aims. On Tuesday, he introduced a new initiative that he says represents a major step toward that goal.

The new "Justice Reinvestment" program will gather public safety data to help streamline Hawaii's justice system. Ultimately, the program will be used to shape public safety policy. One of its primary goals is to bring Hawaii prisoners home. To date, Abercrombie said that between 200 and 250 Hawaii inmates have come home from the mainland.

"We're, as everyone knows, firmly committed to eliminating the need to send individuals out of state with regard to prison circumstances," Abercrombie said Tuesday, flanked by city and state officials. "We want to reunite families. We want to try and reintegrate people into society, and in some instances, integrate them for the first time into society. We want to reduce recidivism. The Justice Reinvestment initiative is going to create a comprehensive plan, not just to bring prisoners back home, but a comprehensive justice plan."

Currently, about one third, or 2,000, of Hawaii's adult prison population is housed out-of-state, according to the Justice Center, a national nonprofit that will serve as a parter to the state in establishing the new initiative.

Hawaii is the latest to join a growing number of states that have adopted the program.

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