Ige’s budget reflects continued reliance on outdated, ineffective and injurious policies

Inside the governor's Supplemental Budget proposal are requests for money meant to crack down on the houseless and to explore private prison options

Will Caron

“Keep public places public”—the governor’s new phrase for keeping the public out of public spaces, per his supplemental budget request. He’s asking for money to beef up security to crack down on the homeless at public locations.

Specifically, $419,302 for deputy sheriffs positions to “support homeless and illegal camping operations.”

To be fair, he’s also asking for $50 million for homelessness programs like Housing First and rapid rehousing and $75 million for the affordable housing revolving funds, which is great. But the perceived need for those extra sheriffs to force houseless people into shelters and other housing programs is a proven waste of taxpayer dollars and a contributing factor to our overcrowded jail and prison population.

Speaking of prison “highlights,” the governor wants $10 million for Department of Public Safety statewide facility master plans (they’ll be ADA accessible though, so, at least we can incarcerate the disabled without worrying about a lawsuit there), as well as an additional $33 million for new prison housing facilities and site assessments on each of the neighbor islands and and other $4.7 million for the department’s general administration and lump sum CIP.

Also, embedded in the capital improvement project budget, way down at the bottom, is $1 million for planning and assessment of public-private prison partnerships. Because making a profit off of incarcerated individuals has never, ever led to human rights-violating conflicts of interest.