State lawmakers in both the House and Senate sent letters to Gov. David Ige and Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda urging that a women’s work furlough program be kept open.

The Department of Public Safety has plans now to terminate a contract with the YWCA’s Fernhurst branch in Makiki, the only work furlough program available to women in the state. The department has said it must cut the contract because of expected budget cuts this year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

“We strongly urge the State of Hawaii and the Department of Public Safety to continue this critical investment in a rehabilitative correctional system through well-developed and structured commmunity-based work furlough programs to assist women inmates to transition back into society,” the lawmakers say in the letters, which are signed by all 25 members of the Senate and 34 representatives in the 51-member House.

Multiple reports in the past year have also urged the state to move to a corrections model more geared toward rehabilitation than punishment.

The Legislature on Friday passed a pared down budget, which includes cuts to the public safety department.

Read the letter below

Letter to PSD (Text)

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