As many as two-thirds of all criminal convictions in Hawaii lead to mainland incarceration, typically in private prisons in Arizona. Through the years, mainland prisoners have been subjected to numerous issues that do not seem to occur in the public, island-based correctional facilities, such as the following:
- Higher levels of violence caused by lower staffing levels and the desire for greater profits
- Housing practices that place non-gang members and rival gang members together in close quarters
- A lack of confidentiality in phone communications between prisoners and their attorneys
The use of private mainland prisons is justified by a lack of space in Hawaii prisons and the reduced costs of mainland incarceration. Still, no justification outweighs basic prisoner safety and the challenges families face when trying to remain close to their incarcerated loved ones. For these and other reasons, the state of Hawaii developed the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) - a plan that would essentially redirect some funds used to pay for mainland incarceration programs to rehabilitate the state prison system and bring Hawaii inmates home.
Unfortunately, while the Governor endorsed JRI in early 2012, actual implementation is not likely to begin until 2015. Until that time, numerous prisoners may continue to be subjected to unfair or dangerous treatment by the authorities at private mainland prisons.
If someone you care about faces issues pertaining to his or her civil rights within any Hawaii prison facility, seek support from a criminal defense attorney experienced in prisoner rights. The right lawyer can make a vital difference to the health and safety of someone you love.