Fall 2002 Home   Newsletters

Winter 2002

Convention Edition 2003

Impossible Electoral Contest (Jean Aoki)
Jean Aoki Honored
Hawaii Clean Elections Coalition (Grace Furukawa)
This Land Was Your Land
Howard Criss
Initiative and Referendum Study (Marian Wilkins)
Travel Fundraiser (Grace Furukawa)
Recent Publications Available in League's Library
Local League News - Honolulu (Pearl Johnson)
Local League News - Hawaii (Marian Wilkins)
Local League News - Kaua'i (Carol Bain)
Local League News - Maui (Andrea Dean)

Local League News - Hawaii

On December 7, Judge Ronald Ibarra addressed a joint meeting of the East and West Hawaii League chapters, at Waikoloa Village.

Judge Ibarra explained the workings of the new Drug Court that is just getting underway on our island. So far they have had only two cases but hope to have many more candidates in lieu of having to send all offenders to criminal court. Maui and Honolulu counties already have drug courts, as have many other jurisdictions on the mainland. They have been shown to be more successful in rehabilitating drug offenders than our present system.

Judge Ibarra explained how several people or departments work as a team to help drug users. At first when judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers etc. started meeting, it appeared a bit adversarial. Then they all came to understand the experiences and resulting attitudes of others, and they were able to cooperate very well.

The Judge said that offenders who have committed crimes of violence are not eligible for Drug Court. The program is designed to channel adult, substance abusing offenders from clogged courtrooms to a system where they will receive a comprehensive continuing program of treatment, drug tests, and other types of follow-up supervision. Offenders will actually be supervised in some manner for a year.

We were surprised to learn that a probation officer has an average of 150 cases to follow up on. A Drug Court probation officer has 25. This fact alone helps the officer keep track and maintain personal contact with the offenders.

The Big Island has two Drug Courts for the two areas of East and West Hawaii. Even though it has been shown cost effective nationwide to have a Drug Court system, the experience in Hawaii suggests that community involvement is needed to meet expenses.

Judge Ibarra is a dynamic supporter of this innovative way to treat drug offenders. He convinced us and we encourage others to support these efforts.

Marian Wilkins

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