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.”
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
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.
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
A recently passed measure will force county police departments to provide more information about misconduct.
Legislation is advancing that would require full disclosure about officers who get suspended for misconduct.
Overcrowding and aging facilities have the state looking at an expensive overhaul of its prison system.
A Senate measure that would require more information about bad cops to be made public passes Senate committee.
The bill would create an oversight board that could revoke a police officer’s license for misconduct.
Read Espero’s answers to six questions.