Latest Articles

  • Inmate Work Furlough Program: Statistical Success or a Public Danger?

    · By Rui Kaneya

    Behind his desk, Keith Kaneshiro keeps a binder full of faded newspaper clippings — a compendium of Honolulu’s true crime stories going back for decades.

    As he thumbs through the binder, the city’s top prosecutor says it presents one meta-narrative: that the precipitous drop in Honolulu’s crime rate during the late 1990s and early 2000s was a result of mass incarceration, made possible by his successful lobbying effort to secure more out-of-state prison beds.

    “Because so many guys are in prison, the crime rate has gone down,” Kaneshiro said. “Prison works. Incarceration works.”

    Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro is troubled that the state’s work furlough program is admitting inmates who don’t have a job lined up.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    This is why Kaneshiro finds it baffling that, in recent years, the notion of prison reform has become the cause du jour — both in Hawaii and across the country — and worries that programs like work furlough, the state’s flagship re-entry initiative, are putting the public at risk.

    Kaneshiro points to his binder, which contains a number of articles about furlough “walkaways” who go on to commit a new crime.

    According to the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, 20 furlough participants on Oahu have failed to return to custody so far this year, though only three are accused of committing new crimes.

    “We all think that everybody coming out of prison has to be 100 percent never going back. You know, that is not going to happen.” — Kat Brady, coordinator of the

  • Hawaii Capitol to Prepare for ‘Active Shooter’ Scenario

    · By Nathan Eagle

    The Hawaii Capitol has never been the scene of a shooter running amok, although there have been incidents of white powder arriving in the mail (turned out to be sugar), suspicious bags left unattended and telephone threats.

    But with reports on the mainland of gunmen firing indiscriminately in schools, movie theaters and other public places, state officials say it’s time to prepare for the worst.

    The Honolulu Police Department is offering two sessions on “active shooter” preparedness this month for the hundreds of people who work at the Capitol.

    It marks the first time such training has been offered for those in the heart of state government, according to Paulette Abe, chamber coordinator of the House Sergeant-at-Arms Office.

    Police are planning to give anyone who frequents Hawaii’s Capitol Building, pictured here at night, training for the first time on what to do in an ‘active shooter’ scenario.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    Hawaii is following a national trend of preparing for the unlikely event of an active shooter. With stories in recent years of lone gunmen walking into movie theaters, schools and other public places to kill people at random, there has been a wave of training offered throughout the country.

    “We are fairly isolated but that doesn’t mean we aren’t susceptible to these types of attacks,” said state Sen. Will Espero, who chairs the Public Safety Committee.

    “Considering the state of the world and the type of situation we’re in at the

  • Hawaii Takes ‘A Big Step’ in Making Police More Accountable for Misconduct

    · By Nick Grube

    A recently passed measure will force county police departments to provide more information about misconduct.

  • Honolulu Police Want to Keep Misconduct Away From Public Scrutiny

    · By Nick Grube

    Legislation is advancing that would require full disclosure about officers who get suspended for misconduct.

  • Prison Builders: Hawaii’s Billion Dollar Problem

    · By Nick Grube

    Overcrowding and aging facilities have the state looking at an expensive overhaul of its prison system.

  • Can Misconduct Bill ‘Validate’ Public Trust in Hawaii Police?

    · By Nick Grube

    A Senate measure that would require more information about bad cops to be made public passes Senate committee.

  • Hawaii Lawmaker Wants New Statewide Agency To Monitor Police

    · By Nick Grube

    The bill would create an oversight board that could revoke a police officer’s license for misconduct.

  • Will Espero’s Hawaii Senate District 19 Survey

    · By The Civil Beat Staff

    Read Espero’s answers to six questions.