Ben Cayetano today blasted the latest Pacific Resource Partnership attack ad aimed at maligning his two terms as Governor.
The TV commercial falsely accuses Cayetano of endangering public safety by recklessly pardoning more prisoners than any other Hawaii Governor.
What the PRP ad conveniently forgets to mention is that Governor Cayetano had the most pardon applications (397) of any governor in the history of the state. During his eight years as Hawaii’s chief executive, Governor Cayetano pardoned only 51 percent of the cases presented to him.
For the record, previous governors pardoned a greater percentage of applicants than Governor Cayetano. For example, Governor Waihee granted pardons for 72 percent of the requests, Governor Burns 70 percent and Governor Ariyoshi 67 percent of
The Governor explained that every pardon was assiduously examined on its merits by a number of different parties. “95% of my pardons,” said Governor Cayetano, “were based on the recommendations of the Hawaii Paroling Authority or the public safety officials.”
“Each pardon,” said Cayetano, “was granted after a careful review process and often applicants were of an advanced age and sometimes terminally ill. Some of the inmates were pardoned after release from prison when they had already served their sentences. Many asked for pardons in order to obtain employment and I granted this to them.”
“Many of the pardons,” said Cayetano, “also came at a time when our prisons were overcrowded and we were spending millions of tax dollars housing inmates at mainland facilities.” He explained that there was an incentive to release non-violent offenders who were unlikely to endanger the public because the prisons were over flowing and the Legislature did not provide funding to build more prison space.
Governor Cayetano criticized PRP for attempting to instill fear into the public with ads that condemn him for pardoning individuals convicted of “homicide” and “rape”, while neglecting to mention that the individuals were convicted of negligent homicide from drunk driving or statutory rape.
He also suggested that pardoning prisoners is the job of a governor and has absolutely nothing to do with running City Hall.
“I won’t be pardoning anyone as Mayor,” he said. “It’s not part of the job description.” The Governor proudly stands by his record as both a guardian of public safety and a compassionate Chief Executive Officer.