Following successful reforms to its criminal justice system in 2012, Hawaii developed policy recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of its juvenile justice system, improve outcomes for youth and families, and ensure policies and practices are grounded in data and research. If passed, these 24 recommendations, which come from extensive analysis and research done by Hawaii's Juvenile Justice Working Group, are expected to reduce recidivism and safely rehabilitate more youth in their communities. The recommendations were presented on December 13, 2013 to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, and House Speaker Joseph Souki and will be introduced in the 2014 legislative session.
Prior to Hawaii's 2012 criminal justice reforms, the state was sending about one-third of its adult inmates to mainland facilities, at a cost of more than $60 million a year. Following an analysis of the state's sentencing and corrections policies by a bipartisan, inter-branch working group, data-driven policy options were presented to the legislation. On June 20, 2012, Governor Neal Abercrombie signed a comprehensive set of reforms that improve pre-trial risk assessment processes; focus on high risk offenders; and using swift, certain, and appropriate responses to supervision violations. These reforms are expected to save the state approximately $130 million over five years, and allow the state to bring inmates housed in mainland prisons back to Hawaii facilities.