Hawaii, where 75 percent of youths released from the state's juvenile correctional facility are sentenced or convicted again within three years, is trying to crack down on recidivism, reports the Washington Post. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill yesterday aimed at reducing the state's juvenile facility population by over half in five years. It calls for justice system officials to write “reentry plans” before juveniles are released from correctional facilities and revises probation requirements.
Should the plan lower recidivism rates, Hawaii could save an estimated $11 million, the governor's office said. The state is already betting on it, investing $1.26 million from its anticipated savings in “proven programs” like mental health and substance abuse treatment. Juvenile arrests in Hawaii for violent and property offenses have fallen by 28 percent from 2002 to 2011, and the overall number of those admitted to the state's youth correctional facility declined 41 percent as of 2013, according to the bill. The legislation was the result of a working group that included Hawaii lawmakers, law enforcement, community service providers, and assistance from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Public Safety Performance Project. The U.S. Justice Department has committed to funding training, planning, and education in implementing the law.