Bail Reform Meeting to Shrink the Human and Financial Cost of Jails in…

“Under the constitution, you are supposed to remain free until proven guilty, but in Hawai‘i, you only remain free before trial if you can afford it. This is not only unjust and unconstitutional; with half of the people in Hawai‘i jails being held pending trial because they cannot afford cash bail, it is also one of the major causes of overcrowding in our jails.” -- Mateo Caballero, ACLU of Hawai‘i legal director.

Responding to urgent issues of inequity, lack of meaningful education and job training, and state plans to build a jail costing over $500m (without addressing prisoners far from home in for-profit prisons in Arizona) The Hawai‘i Justice Coalition is hosting an open community meeting on bail reform, Friday, August 3rd, 6-8pm, at the First Unitarian Church (2500 Pali Hwy, Honolulu).

Carrie Ann Shirota, Chair of the Hawai‘i Justice Council Steering Committee, notes that other states have reduced incarceration and crime rates through bail reform, in conjunction with comprehensive “smart justice” policies. “These proven, evidence-based approaches can help us to reduce overcrowding in Hawai`i jails, save taxpayer dollars, and avert the need for building a new jail to replace OCCC, currently estimated at over $500 million.”

At the community meeting, expert panelists criminal defense attorney Rustam A. Barbee, ACLU of Hawai‘i legal director Mateo Caballero, and ACLU of Hawai‘i Legal Fellow Ainsley Dowling, will provide insight into Hawaii’s bail system. Coalition members will provide updates on the proposed new jail to replace OCCC, including assessment of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project, which was published on July 8th. Community members are encouraged to join the discussion and to learn about important ways they can help as this issue heads to our lawmakers in the 2019 legislature.

Hawai‘i Justice Coalition seeks to shift state spending priorities from mass criminalization and incarceration towards rehabilitation, education, restorative justice, health and human services. Hawai‘i Justice Coalition founding member organizations include The ACLU of Hawai‘i, Americans for Democratic Action Hawai‘i, The Community Alliance on Prisons, Democratic Socialists of Honolulu, Hawai‘i friends of Restorative Justice, Hawai‘i Health and Harm Reduction Center, and the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu. Click the image above to see and hear our PSA.

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