Justice Reinvestment in Hawaii

Justice Reinvestment and Related Juvenile Reforms | Hawaii

Alison Lawrence 12/15/2014

Hawaii flagThe Hawaii Legislature passed justice reinvestment reforms in 2012. The law requires that risk assessments be conducted for inmates being considered for release and that certain low-risk inmates be released after completing the minimum sentence. The law expands probation eligibility for some drug offenders and caps incarceration for first parole rule violations. Pretrial detainees also will receive risk assessments under the new law. The changes are projected to save Hawaii as much as $130 million over five years, including a $3.4 million reinvestment in FY2013 for improved supervision and treatment programs. The law and reinvestment plan, developed by a bipartisan, interbranch justice reinvestment work group, included analysis of victimization, supervision and incarceration rates.

In August 2013, Hawaii launched the Juvenile Justice Reform Project. The project’s goal was to increase public safety and juvenile offender accountability while also reducing juvenile justice costs. A working group was tasked with analyzing the juvenile justice system and developing policy recommendations for the Legislature. In December 2013, the group issued a final report and many of the recommendations were adopted by the Legislature in early 2014. The new law is expected to save Hawaii $11 million by 2019.

Continue reading to learn more about the state’s justice reinvestmentrelated juvenile reforms, and additional resources.

Justice Reinvestment


SB 2776 (2012)

Requires a risk assessment of pretrial detainees to measure the defendant's flight risk and likelihood of criminal conduct while on pretrial release. Instructs the parole board to use a risk assessment when considering release to parole and requires inmates identified as low risk be released at their minimum sentence except for certain violent, repeat and sex offenders. Limits the length of incarceration for certain first-time parole violations. Increases the amount of victim restitution deducted from inmate earnings. 

HB 2515 (2012)

Allows certain second-time drug offenders to be eligible for probation. Limits the length of probation for some class B and C felony offenses.

HB 2012 (2012)

Appropriates $3.4 million for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative for additional staff and support of pretrial risk assessments, research and planning, reentry programs, risk assessment and victims services, parole supervision, evidence-based supervision, drug treatment, and crime victim assistance. 

HB 200 (2013)

Appropriates $4 million in FY2013-14 and $7 million in FY2014-15 in support of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to reopen the Kulani correctional facility and transition inmates and services back to Hawaii.

Full summaries of legislation can be found in NCSL’s Sentencing and Corrections Enactment Database.

State Resources

  • Hawaii Governor Press Release regarding justice reinvestment (Jan. 17, 2012)


Related Juvenile Reforms


HB 2490 (2014)

Requires use of risk and needs assessments prior to disposition. Allows substance abuse and mental health treatment in lieu of delinquency proceedings. Limits residential placement of low-level juvenile offenders. Requires a probation case plan be developed in consultation with the juvenile and the juvenile’s parent, legal guardian, or custodian. Creates “earned probation discharge credits” and requires development of graduated sanctions. Requires the development of reentry plans for certain juveniles committed to the youth correctional facility. Specifies factors to be considered when granting parole. Requires probation officer training on supervision best practices. Establishes the Juvenile Justice Oversight Advisory Council to oversee implementation.

More information on legislation can be found in NCSL’s Juvenile Justice Bill Tracking Database.

State Resources

  • Juvenile Justice Working Group Final Report (December 2013)
  • Hawaii Office of Youth Services, FY 2014 annual report (November 2014), includes information on HB 2490 


Additional Resources

Return to NCSL’s Justice Reinvestment State Resources page or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice program

Share this: 
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox


7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800


444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2015 by National Conference of State Legislatures