Stand w/ #FernhurstWOMEN: Help Save Hawaii’s Only Community Based Work Furlough Program

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Stand with the #FernhurstWOMEN: Help Save Hawaii’s Only Community Based Work Furlough Program for Women

The Challenge

The State Department of Public Safety has informed the community that they are ending the YWCA Fernhurst community work furlough program on June 30, 2020 and will transfer the women currently in the program back to prison. 

The consequences of losing this program will be felt in our communities around the state for generations to come. 

About the Program

YWCA Fernhurst is the only community-based furlough program in the state and serves up to 23 women from across the state at a time, providing a community-based furlough program for women who are between a year and 6 months of being released on parole or completion of their sentence.    

YWCA Fernhurst is a highly structured program with clearly defined expectations of both staff and program participants.  The program setting is trauma informed, gender responsive and culturally coherent.  Long term goals of the program include positive coping skills, access to positive social networks, employability skills, financial independence, and access to permanent affordable housing.

Why it Matters

  • Over the last five years, YWCA Fernhurst has helped nearly 200 women with approximately 80% of them having successfully completed the program.
  • More than half of our residents are Native Hawaiian. 
  • More than three-quarters of them are mothers.
  • The statewide recidivism rate for women parolees is 34%. The recidivism rate for graduates of the Fernhurst program, between 2015 and the first quarter of 2019, was 16% or less than half the statewide average.
  • Studies on recidivism show that former offenders who are not incarcerated for at least two years after being released from their sentences are unlikely to recommit crimes.
  • It costs the PSD an average of $198/day for the state to house an inmate. The contract amount under the furlough program is $120/day.
  • Keeping one individual out of prison for one year would result in a net savings to the state of more than $72,000.
  • In 2017, with the supportive testimony from the Department of Public Safety, the House and Senate passed HCR 158, which encouraged the Department of Public Safety to continue and to expand its structured, community-based work furlough programs to assist female inmates transition back into society.  
  • In 2018, HCR 85 Task Force on Prison Reform presented their final report to the legislature in which they concluded that Hawaii’s correctional system “was not producing acceptable, cost effective, or sustainable outcomes and needs immediate and profound change.”  
  • The primary recommendation of the task force was that Hawaii immediately begin to transition from a punitive to a rehabilitative correctional system and stated that YWCA Fernhurst should be used by the State as a model for other programs.

Ways you Could Help



Kepola, Maryann, Jen, Lois and Kim

Graduates of the Fernhurst Program, #FernhurstWOMEN


Today: FernhurstWOMEN is counting on you

FernhurstWOMEN needs your help with “Governor David Ige: Stand w/ #FernhurstWOMEN: Help Save Hawaii’s Only Community Based Work Furlough Program”. Join FernhurstWOMEN and 168,220 supporters today.