Its a creative and well-intended bill the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed, but one that on second thought should be killed.
Inmates would be able to earn early-release credits for good behavior. The credit earned would be equal to 10 days for each month. The earned credit would be deducted from the inmates minimum sentence so long as the Hawaii Paroling Authority "is satisfied" that the inmate wont commit another crime and endanger society.
At first blush, thats a reasonable incentive for an inmate to be on his or her best behavior.
However, the state has a paroling authority, which already has a process for reducing minimum sentences. Since it is the authority that reviews the severity of the crime in setting a minimum sentence, and then becomes familiar with an inmates performance as it reviews applications for parole throughout the inmates term, it is the authority that is in the best position to determine when an inmate should go free. Thus the paroling authority should have as much flexibility as possible instead of being handcuffed by this bill.
We realize that the paroling authority is stricter than some would wish. But rather than micromanaging the paroling authoritys functions, lawmakers would make a better start by rescinding some of the overly tough mandatory sentencing laws theyve passed in recent years that are a lot harder on inmates than the paroling authority.