House Speaker Scott Saiki has asked Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke to restore funding for the YWCA Fernhurst Women's Program, which is a community-based work furlough program for women. The Department of Public Safety (PSD) recently announced its intent to cut funding for this program.
The Fernhurst program is highly successful and addresses the unique needs of women inmates. It is designed to be gender-responsive, trauma-informed and culturally sensitive, and supports re-entry and rehabilitation. All program recipients receive wrap-around services from life-skill coaching to job readiness and job retention. According to the PSD annual report, it costs an average of $198 per day for the State to house an inmate (PSD subsidizes $120 per day of this amount). YWCA usually fundraisers to cover the gap.
The state's annual share of the program is $450,045.
The House Finance Committee will restore the funding through an appropriations bill on Tuesday, June 30. If approved by the House, the bill will then advance to the Senate for its consideration.
"Continuing the funding for Fernhurst is a no-brainer. This is a highly-effective program that helps women transition back into society. The alternative to closing Fernhurst, which is to incarcerate women, is completely unacceptable," Speaker Saiki said.