Legislature Passes Measure to Support Pilot Program for Women’s Court
The Hawaiʻi State Judiciary applauded the Hawaii State Legislature for its support of a three-year pilot program to create a Women’s Court.
House Bill 2421 appropriates approximately $700,000 for equipment, contracted services for mental health, substance abuse, as well as seven temporary positions.
“Women enter the criminal justice system in pathways distinct from men’s,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “We must establish different policies and tools to keep justice-involved women out of jail and prison. It will take innovation to enhance public safety by helping women break the cycle of re-entering the criminal justice system.”
The Chief Justice thanked legislative leaders in both houses for their strong support of this measure, along with the Women’s Legislative Caucus, the Women’s Prison Project, and Hawai‘i Women Lawyers.
Recktenwald also commended the legislature for its passage of Senate Bill 2390, which increases the number of associate judges on the Intermediate Court of Appeals from five to six, enabling the court to address its heavy workload.
“During the last 15 years, the number of appeals filed and the complexity of many of those cases continued to grow,” said the Chief Justice. “An additional judge will allow the ICA to produce well-reasoned decisions more expeditiously, providing a great benefit to the public and improving the administration of justice in Hawaiʻi.”
Capital improvement project funding was approved for work on aging buildings, including, among others, replacing a faulty fire alarm system at Kaʻahumanu Hale, replacing the roof at Kapuaiwa Building, and installing a backup chiller at Hale Hoʻomalu, the juvenile detention facility in Kapolei which operates 24/7.
Recktenwald added funding was restored for two Hawaiʻi island judicial positions, one in the Circuit Court and another in the District/Family Court, and for guardians ad-litem and court-appointed counsel contracts, which are crucial in assisting certain individuals in need.
“We were also pleased to receive $1.2 million for civil legal services,” said the Chief Justice. “These providers support our community in many critical ways and this funding will help ensure they can continue to do so.”
“Our legislators work diligently each session, analyzing hundreds of requests, and making very difficult funding decisions,” said the Chief Justice. “The Judiciary is extremely grateful for the response to our general fund and Capital Improvement Project requests, as well as Women’s Court, the ICA judicial position, and other requests.
“On behalf of the Judiciary, I want to express my deep appreciation to Senate President Ronald Kouchi, House Speaker Scott Saiki, Ways & Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz, Finance Chair Sylvia Luke, Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads, and Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs Chair Mark Nakashima for their enormous support,” said the Chief Justice. “I also want to thank House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti and Rep. Linda Ichiyama for their strong support of the Women’s Court and ICA judicial position.”