Criminal Justice Reform in Hawaii


Hawaii has had a steady increase in incarceration rates for years, namely from 1980 to 2006. However, from 2006 to 2014, incarceration rates dropped by 19%. This drop is due to First Circuit Judge Steven Alm’s probation reform pilot program, Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), which launched in 2004 to reduce recidivism and probation violations.


By establishing clear, swift, and immediate consequences for probation violations, HOPE has reduced recidivism by 55% and saved taxpayers between four and six thousand dollars per inmate per year. Since 2005, Hawaii has passed several other reforms that include:

These reforms have caused incarceration rates to decline, ensured that prisoners have the necessary documents to begin the reintegration process into society, and taken the first step in recognizing the human dignity of female prisoners; however, Hawaii still has a ways to go in creating a fair criminal justice system.

Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.