Treat Addiction and Mental Health

Addiction to methamphetamine and other substances drives the vast majority of criminal behavior in Honolulu. We must face this epidemic head-on, with the courage to approach the issue with compassion and decency. Wherever possible, my Administration will support long-term rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. We will implement diversion programs. We will treat addicts as the members of our community that they are and strive to help them escape the cycle of addiction.

Similarly, too many people struggling with mental illness are incarcerated. But rather than being properly treated, they are released back into our community with the same, or exasperated, issues. If elected, my Administration will work with HPD, and mental health professionals, to get these individuals into treatment facilities. Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys will be trained on the impacts of mental illness and trauma, and we will work to develop alternatives to incarceration for low-level, non-violent offenders in need of help.

Support Minimization of Cash Bail

We are in need of genuine bail reform. If elected, office policy will dictate a recommendation of release without conditions, rebuttable only if there is clear evidence that an individual is a flight risk or threat to our community or themselves. I will not tolerate punishing people for being poor. Our jails are overcrowded and overburdened by non-violent detainees who have no business being incarcerated. This must stop, and will stop, when I’m elected.

Charge with Restraint

Defendants can be charged with every conceivable offense so as to strengthen the hand of the prosecutor in the negotiations process. This will not happen under my watch. If elected, charging decisions will be based on an evaluation of what is right under the circumstances. Defendants will not be charged because they can be, but only when they absolutely should be. This is the right thing to do and will streamline litigation to permit the parties to focus on what matters, rather than on collateral issues tagged on as prosecutorial insurance.

Treat Children Like Children

My Administration will work intimately with juvenile offenders and the courts to seek out long-term solutions to get young people back on track. We need to treat children like children, support them, and recognize that their conduct is often the result of a dysfunctional home. While public safety will always be our primary concern, juvenile offenders are entitled to special consideration and compassion. Deputies that will handle these cases will be chosen by their proven ability to apply reason, decency, and creativity in executing their duties.

Prison Reform

Prisons and jails must be reserved for those that constitute genuine threats to our society. But even for those that commit the most egregious of crimes, and so must be segregated, we cannot forget that no matter how lost they may be, these are people: sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, partners and friends.

We achieve nothing by treating inmates like animals. In fact, we only compound our problems as the vast majority of inmates will one day be released back into our communities.

Accordingly, my Administration will wholeheartedly support a transition of the prison system from the strictly punitive to the therapeutic. This is morally correct and will enhance our safety.

Similarly, I will support an end to our reliance on the private prison system. While perhaps making economic sense, the reality is that private prisons are, by their nature, immoral. Businesses require growth to survive and this creates an improper incentive for prisons to lobby for arcane laws and sentencing guidelines. While our current government facilities – for example Halawa and OCCC – are by no means models of excellence, they are nonetheless a better alternative to private incarceration.

Liberty is simply too fundamental for it to be pawned off onto the private sector. We need to expect more, and demand more, from our government. It is the only entity that should be in the business of confinement.