Hawaii is unique in that it is an island State consisting of 8 major and 129 minor islands (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 23). The State is also unique in its ethnic diversity and lack of a racial majority. According to 1990 census data, Hawaii had representatives from 11 separate ethnic categories with several categories reflecting more than one specific ethnic group (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 25).
In 1996, Hawaii's youth population under age 18 was approximately 306,500 (Casey Foundation 1998).
Of the State's children, approximately 2 percent were living in families with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level in 1995. Further, it is estimated that in 1995, approximately 17 percent of Hawaii's children under age 13 were living in working-poor families or families where at least one parent was working 50 or more hours a week but the family's income was still below the poverty level (Casey Foundation 1998).
Hawaii ranked 19th in the country in terms of teen birth rate for 1993. This same year, the birth rate in the State was approximately 30 births per 1,000 young women ages 15-17. This was up from 23 births per 1,000 young women in 1985 (Casey Foundation 1996, p. 55).
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System
Unlike other States, Hawaii has only State and county levels of government. Local government is vested in each of Hawaii's four counties: the city and county of Honolulu and the three counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 27).
Jurisdiction for cases involving juvenile offenders falls under the Family Courts, which have four judicial circuits. The Family Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over both juveniles having committed delinquent acts and those committing status offenses (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 36). A circuit court judge, designated as the Senior Family Court Judge, is the chief administrator of the Family Court. However, the Family Courts are also assigned district judges, who adjudicate matters related to juvenile law violations and status offenses. Only the Senior Family Court Judge is authorized to hear waiver of jurisdiction cases for juvenile offenders (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 36).
The State Department of Human Services, Office of Youth Services is responsible for providing appropriate placements and services for juvenile offenders. To this end, the State has several prevention and intervention programs and one secure detention center, Hale Ho'omalu, which is located on the island of Oahu (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 37). The Office of Youth Services also operates the only juvenile correctional facility in the State, the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, also on Oahu (Hawaii Office of Youth Services 1994, p. 39).
Offense Patterns and Processing of Juvenile Female Offenders
The following statistics give an overview of the information available on female offending and processing patterns in Hawaii:
Approach to Female Offenders
In 1996, Hawaii formed a steering committee to address the needs of young women in Hawaii's juvenile justice system. In the summer of 1996, CRA provided technical assistance to the committee through OJJDP technical assistance program. As a result of the work of this steering committee, the Hawaii Girls Project was developed. The committee comprises service providers and concerned individuals with representation from each of the island counties.
The steering committee has focused primarily on the area of education and has sponsored a series of forums in various communities to increase awareness of issues concerning girls and to encourage effective gender-specific programs. At its onset, the focus of the committee was on girls at-risk and young female offenders, but the committee recognized that early intervention and prevention are essential and that the issues facing all girls must be addressed. A "kick-off" forum, called "The State of Girls in Hawaii," was held in September 1996. Four subsequent forums in 1996-97 provided data on Hawaii's population of girls at-risk, training on gender-equity issues, sharing of experiences from local programs that provide girls' services, and exploring methods of system improvement. In October 1998, there will be a statewide conference, "The Power of Girls," that defines the needs of girls and focuses on effective programming at the community level.
The Hawaii Girls Project produced an information packet in the summer of 1998. The packet contains inserts on "Facts About Girls," recommended actions for decisionmakers, things that individuals can do, and local and national resources. The packet was produced to convey information to service providers, agency decisionmakers, community leaders, and concerned individuals. A leaflet is also being prepared that will summarize the packet.
Concurrent with its education efforts, the committee contracted the services of the Center for Youth Research at the University of Hawaii to conduct research on girls at-risk. The first report, Girls-at-Risk: An Overview of Female Delinquency in the Fiftieth State, was released in September 1997. This study examines the gender differences in arrests, self-reported delinquency, self-reported gang involvement, and gender differences at the Hawaii Correctional Facility. The second report, Girls-at-Risk: An Overview of Gender-Specific Programming Issues and Alternatives, was released in April 1998. This report examines the inadequacies of the current level of services for girls and profiles both local and national programs that have demonstrated successes. A third report will be released soon that focuses on ethnicity and girls at-risk.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1996. KIDS COUNT Data Book. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1998. KIDS COUNT Online Data Service. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Chesney-Lind, Meda. 1997 (September). Girls-at-Risk: An Overview of Female Delinquency in the Fiftieth State. A report to the Hawaii Girls Project, Vol. 1. Center for Youth Research, University of Hawaii.
Chesney-Lind, Meda. 1998 (April) Girls-at-Risk: An Overview of Gender-Specific Programming Issues and Alternatives. A report to the Hawaii Girls Project, Vol. 2. Center for Youth Research, University of Hawaii.
Hawaii Girls Project. 1996. Hawaii Girls Project Resource Handbook. Office of Youth Services, Honolulu, HI.
Hawaii Office of Youth Services. 1994. Hawaii Formula Grant Program Grant Application and Three Year Program Plan. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Hawaii Office of Youth Services. 1995. Hawaii 1995 Challenge Activity E Grant Application. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Hawaii Office of Youth Services. 1996. Hawaii 1996 Plan Amendment. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Poe-Yamagata, E., and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.