Funding Will Boost County Services for Crime Victims
A collaboration of county, state and federal agencies is helping to expand services for victims of crime on the Big Island.
The county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will receive six new positions including two victim counselors, two counselor assistants and two legal clerks, Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi said today.
The state funding comes as part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a program Gov. Neil Abercrombie has embraced in an effort to boost public safety and law enforcement efforts across the state.
The six positions, which already exist but are not filled because of a lack of funding, will be split evenly between the county prosecutor’s offices in East and West Hawaii.
The Prosecutor’s Victim Assistance Unit provides a variety of services to crime victims including outreach.
“After a crime, victims are often eager for information on the perpetrator and the criminal case,” Iboshi said in a statement. “They are concerned about safety and worried about medical bills or recovering from losses arising from the crime.”
The unit currently provides services to victims of violent crime through the end of the offenders’ prosecution. The addition of the JRI-funded positions will allow it to expand to also assist victims of property crime, and continue those services through the offender’s incarceration or supervision period, she said.
The Justice Reinvestment Initiative involves a collaboration with the state Legislature, state Judiciary, state Department of Public Safety, US Department of Justice and the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
In Hawaii the JRI aims to reduce spending on corrections by bringing Hawaii inmates back from private prisons on the mainland – which is anticipated to save $7 million – and reinvesting the savings to fill key unfilled positions, and to expand training and support treatment programs in the community to reduce recidivism.