Pin the tail on the jail?!

Where Will A New Oahu Community Correctional Center Be Built?
Eleven sites are under consideration, the Hawaii Department of Pubic Safety announced Monday.
Richard Wiens, Civil Beat, November 21, 2016

Eleven potential sites for a new Oahu Community Correctional Center were identified Monday by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety.

“The sites will be “further reviewed against common criteria to produce a short list” that will go through the environmental impact statement process, the department said in a press release.

“The possible locations include:

  • The current site in Kalihi.
  • Near the site of the Halawa Correction Facility.
  • Near the site of the animal quarantine facility in Aiea.
  • Two sites in Kalaeloa off of San Jacinto Street.
  • A Kalaeloa site off of Saratoga Street.
  • A Kalaeloa site off of Roosevelt Avenue.
  • A Kalaeloa site off of Coral Sea Road near the Barbers Point Riding Club.
  • A site near the Mililani Technology Park.
  • Two sites in Waiawa near the H-2 freeway”

The comments on the skimpy 15-page Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice must be postmarked today, November 22nd. It is fifteen pages of spin with little to no information showing that this project – THE LARGEST PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT IN THE STATE – is being fast-tracked with obviously little to no due diligence performed. Now, the day before the comments are due, the state releases 11 potential sites? How absolutely disingenuous, or sneaky, or incompetent can they get? What are they doing …playing PIN THE TAIL ON THE JAIL?


Need your thoughts! 11 sites identified for OCCC

From Kat:

The department of public safety issued a press release today (Nov. 21) that they have identified 11 sites for their BIG NEW OCCC.       

            THIS IS THE DAY BEFORE COMMENTS ARE DUE. I am stunned at how absolutely overt the state is being in its goal to silence the community voice. They didn’t find 11 sites and hatch this plan last night; they waited until the eleventh hour hoping no one would be able to comment.

            Wow, is this the new norm? It seems they are laying down the gauntlet…ready to fight. This is a wake up call folks. Government run amok. What do we do? I’m writing comments and questions after I read it all tonight.

              I love the Hawaiian word for what we must do:  We must be MAKA`ALA – Alert, vigilant, watchful, wide-awake. They have  shown that they will do anything to build their BIG NEW JAIL. What should we do? email me your thoughts and ideas. 

            Here are the links… 

Nov. 21, 2016



I know something I’m always gonna do. I’m gonna fight for justice, no matter what. The state is causing harm to people, families and communities by ignoring the social challenges so many of our most vulnerable people face every day. 

Don’t mourn – ORGANIZE!

Last Night’s Community Justice Dialogue

Report from Kat on last night’s Community Justice Dialogue:

I hope this finds you well and in spirits this Aloha Friday! Last night we had a great crowd at our first COMMUNITY JUSTICE DIALOGUE. Eighty-three people signed in and 81 of those want to continue the JUSTICE DIALOGUE with the community. It’s kind of funny since the department of public safety sent out an email after their scoping meeting touting its great success (around 60 people attended and most were from agencies or contractors!).  At this gathering, the community spoke with such passion and such heart – this is who we are. People are hungry for information and facts. They are sick of the spin. This was so REAL. I knew we had a caring and loving community. I am overjoyed that people want to engage. We had some fabulous handouts that I will share with anyone interested. 

Community Justice Dialogue Tonight!

11-17-16-community-justice-dialogueTonight is our first COMMUNITY JUSTICE DIALOGUE.  This is really shaping up to be a great discussion with our community about how we address the public health and social challenges faced by so many of our struggling neighbors.

Flyer Community Justice Dialogue Nov. 17, 2016

The Honolulu Police Department has just released their latest data and it again confirms exactly what we have been saying…the state wants to build a big new facility in order to hide away our social challenges instead of addressing the needs of our people struggling with them. It is our mission to educate the legislature on the fact that ignoring these issues will only make matters worse for everyone. The data and research support what we in the justice community and the social service community have been saying for a long, long time. Join us tonight and share your mana`o (thoughts).

Below are three items highlighting HPDʻs report. See you tonight!

HPD says 61% of those Arrested Have Mental Health Issues
KHVH News Radio, November 16, 2016

“Most of the people arrested on Oahu have some sort of mental health issue. According to the Honolulu Police Department, 61 percent of the 16,000 people arrested last year were severely mentally ill or abusing drugs. Advocates say the figures point out failures in the state’s safety for homeless, mentally ill and those battling drug addiction. HPD officials say they are stepping up efforts to try and keep the mentally ill out of the criminal justice system.”


Lawmakers: Spike in arrests linked to lack of safety net programs
Allyson Blair, Hawaii News Now, Nov. 16, 2016

“Since 2013, the city’s policy of so-called “compassionate disruption” has increased the number of homeless sweeps on Oahu, spurring scores of people on the streets to shuffle from one community to the next.

“And state Sen. Will Espero thinks the sweeps have also contributed to an uptick in arrests on Oahu.

“Last year, officers made more than 16,000 arrests. Some 43 percent of those arrests — 6,880 in all — involved homeless people, the Honolulu Police Department confirms.

“That compares to 10,824 arrests in 2013. Three years ago, 4,330 arrests (or 40 percent) involved people on the streets.


” State Rep. Della Belatti, chairwoman of the House Health Committee, said the new figures show that more needs to be done to bolster the safety net for people in homelessness and those struggling with mental illness….”


Most Oahu arrests involve those with drug addictions, mental illness
Allyson Blair, Hawaii News Now, Nov. 15, 2016

“And another startling statistic: 43 percent of detainees in HPD’s central cell block last year were homeless. Of those, 72 percent had a serious mental illness or substance abuse problem.

“Advocates say the figures underscore failures in the state’s safety net for the homeless, mentally ill and those battling drug addiction.

“People are in our corrections system because they haven’t had anywhere else to go,” said Trisha Kajimura, executive director Mental Health America of Hawaii. “They haven’t had the proper healthcare, including mental healthcare, or treatment for their illnesses or addictions.”

State public defender Jack Tonaki says non-violent crimes like trespassing, petty theft and disorderly conduct have become a significant part of his case load and have bogged down the system.

“The prison population is going up and taxpayers are paying for that,” he said.

“But advocates say it’s going to take more to make a lasting impact.

“What we need is more community treatment,” Tonaki said. “Especially from the standpoint that many of these people can be treated with medication and lead productive lives.”

The other imprisoned population not mentioned are pre-trial detainees. At a meeting last week, the director announced that 50% of people imprisoned are pre-trial…INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!


The aftermath

We are one week away from our COMMUNITY JUSTICE DIALOGUE at the Center for Hawaiian Studies (Thursday, November 17th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm) – see flyer. Please invite folks to attend.

In the aftermath of the presidential election, it looks like the corporate prisons are the big beneficiaries as their stock is rising. This could mean reversal of the DOJʻs intention to phase out these profiteers. There are two articles about that and the last article is finding some bright spots of criminal justice reform in this quagmire.

Private Prison Stocks Are Surging After Trump’s Win 
Tracy Alloway, Lily Katz, Bloomberg, Nov. 9, 2016

“Two companies that operate detention facilities in the U.S. are breaking out. Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections helped shares of Corrections Corp. rise as much as 60 percent before paring their surge to 34 percent by 10:14 a.m. in New York, while GEO Group Inc. was trading 18 percent higher by the same time.”


Private Prisons Are “Clear Beneficiaries” Of Trump Presidency
The stocks of publicly traded prison companies are soaring.
Matthew Zeitlin, BuzzFeed News Reporter, Nov. 9, 2016

“The stocks of publicly traded private prison companies are soaring early Wednesday in the first day of trading following Donald Trump’s shocking electoral victory.

“Many traders seem to expect a Trump administration to reverse the Obama administration’s August decision to not use privately run facilities to house federal prisoners, or to expand these companies’ involvement in immigration detention.

“Shares of GEO Group are up over 17.5% to $28, while shares of CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) are up 34% to $19. The companies’ shares had fallen at least 35% on the day DOJ announced its policy change this past summer.

“Analysts at Compass Point called for-profit prisons a “clear beneficiary” of a Trump administration. The companies were “were likely to face negative headlines and persistent contract uncertainty under a Clinton White House,” but the analysts predicted that a Trump administration would be “more supportive given its focus on immigration and crime.”


Believe it or not, it was a pretty good night for criminal-justice reform
Radley Balko, Washington Post,  Nov. 9, 2016

Excerpt (last paragraph):
“To sum up, if Trump sticks to the rhetoric and promises we heard during the campaign, the next four years — at least at the federal level — look to be a dark age for reform. The names he’s floating for cabinet positions are nightmarish. But there are still good reasons for reformers to feel optimistic about where voters stand on criminal-justice issues. Yes, America just elected a demagogue. But I’ve seen little evidence that they did so because of his grandstanding on these issues (with the obvious and important exception of immigration). Moreover, given Hillary Clinton’s record, for anyone who wanted to vote on these issues, there really wasn’t much in the way of an inspiring and viable alternative. While that’s probably of little comfort for reformers, good news does come down ballot, where even in an overwhelmingly red election, voters in very red states and counties still managed to drive eight more nails into the coffin of pot prohibition, reject overly punitive prosecutors (and one exceptionally awful sheriff) and embrace reforms aimed at rehabilitation and redemption. Trump’s election aside, there’s still a strong appetite for reform at the state and local level.”

To paraphrase the words of Bette Davis: Fasten your seat belts, itʻs going to be a bumpy ride.

The integrity of men is to be measured by their conduct, not by their professions. – Junius

Mahalo Nui!

c5c7f95245e2b894aff4e3f1937da124YOU ARE THE WAYFINDERS, everyone who works to advance the cause of social justice for our people. Everyone who finds ways to help our communities with the public health and social challenges that so many of our people face each day.

You give voice to those whose voices have been silenced by incarceration, silenced by mental illness, silenced by loneliness and isolation. Our work is never done, our challenges are always HUGE and our resources alwayssmall and never enough to meet the needs.

Yet you continue finding ways to deliver the help, heart, and services that are so desperately needed in our communities. You are my inspiration, my hope, my belief that a better world is possible.


Don’t mourn; organize!

From Kat:

Aloha Justice Advocates!

            I bet you woke up in the same state as I did…happy that the election madness is over and trying to figure out how to move forward after such a bruising battle. I am reminded of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emmerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” We all have great capacity to love, to understand, to accept, to give, to share, to build strong, healthy, and just communities. Our personal power is only limited by our own abilities to access these gifts.

            I am, therefore, choosing to buckle down and work even harder for justice. To work even harder to make people understand that building communities and bridges is a far greater strategy for peace. Now is the time for us all to come together to build the world we want to live in. Donʻt wait for our “leaders”. YOU ARE THE PERSON YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR AND NOW IS THE TIME!

            We start off todayʻs post with a link to a Civil Beat article that outlines the 20 charter amendments for Honolulu that were on the ballot – 16 passed and 4 did not (# 10, 15, 17, and 19). FYI, the two constitutional amendments on the ballot both passed. The state is allowed to use excess revenues with refunding the excess to taxpayers and now small claims court threshold is $10,000 (not $5,000) which will impact people in the lowest economic situation.

            Next is a poll done by Marquette University on Public Attitudes toward Punishment,Rehabilitation, and Reform.


Honolulu Voters Say No To Longer Terms For Mayor, Council
But most of the other charter amendments were passing handily, including more police oversight and money for the Honolulu Zoo.
Anita Hofschneider and John Hill, Civil Beat, Nov. 8, 2016

“Honolulu voters rejected a proposed charter amendment to extend term limits for top political seats and appeared to narrowly approve establishing a Department of Land Management .

“With most precincts reporting, voters backed amendments that give the Honolulu Police Commission more power to fire the police chief and create an office focused on mitigating climate change.

“There were 20 proposed charter amendments on the ballot. The charter is reviewed every decade by the Honolulu Charter Commission.”


Public Attitudes toward Punishment, Rehabilitation, and Reform: Lessons from the Marquette Law School Poll
Michael M. O’Hear, Marquette University – Law School
Darren Wheelock, Marquette University Department of Social and Cultural Sciences
October 27, 2016
6 pages
Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2016
Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 16-13

Since the late 1990s, many opinion surveys have suggested that the American public may be growing somewhat less punitive and more open to reforms that emphasize rehabilitation over incarceration. In order to assess current attitudes toward punishment, rehabilitation, and the criminal justice system, we collected survey data of 804 registered voters in Wisconsin. Among other notable results, we found strong support for rehabilitation and for the early release of prisoners who no longer pose a threat to public safety. However, we also found significant divisions in public opinion. For instance, while black and white respondents largely shared the same priorities for the criminal justice system, black respondents tended to see the system as less successful in achieving those priorities. Additionally, we found significant differences in the views of Democrats and Republicans, with Republicans more likely to favor punishment as a top priority and Democrats more likely to support rehabilitation. Finally, we found that survey respondents that hold negative views of African Americans are significantly less likely to support rehabilitation, even after statistically controlling for the other variables in the model.

  1. Conclusion

Despite a general reduction in public punitiveness, reformers face a complicated and challenging political environment as they try to shift the criminal justice system to a more rehabilitative orientation. Even as many voters express support for rehabilitation, they express no less support for ‘‘giving criminals the punishment they deserve.’’ Reformers must also contend with a widespread mistrust of the effectiveness of criminal justice officials. Although poor evaluations of the system might suggest an openness to real structural change, mistrust can cut both ways: voters might be skeptical of giving more discretion or resources to officials who are not believed to be using their current levels of discretion and tax dollars prudently. It is also clear that criminal justice remains a matter of real partisan and racial division. Reformers may need to frame their arguments quite differently for different audiences. For instance, Republicans seem rather less inclined than Democrats to view cutting prison budgets as an important priority. More concerning may be the possibility that some of the resistance to rehabilitative approaches is connected to deep-rooted racial resentment. None of this is to suggest that reform initiatives are futile, but it does highlight some of the reasons why repeated demonstrations of the greater cost-effectiveness of alternatives to incarceration have not led policymakers to embrace such alternatives in a more decisive fashion.


Please work through your grief. The people we advocate for need us now,  more than ever.



“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Dr. Martin Luther King

What does the DOJʻs announcement actually mean?

Todayʻs stories are follow ups to yesterdayʻs Justice Department announcement about ending their contracts with private/corporate prisons. The stock of CCA, GEO and MTC, the profiteers with whom DOJ contracts took a nose dive after the announcement.

While we are happy that this announcement was made, it is not the be-all and end-all for these shysters. CAVEAT EMPTOR – LET THE BUYER BEWARE! Watch how they try to convince jurisdictions that they should be granted contracts for reentry services. This is worrisome since Hawai`iʻs half-hearted “commitment” to reentry is limping along. (The reentry bill was passed in 2007.) These snake-oil salesman will be working double-time to gain reentry contracts.

The first article is from Civil Beat and highlights the fact that Hawai`i just signed a 3- year contract with 2 one-year extensions with CCA. The second article is an analysis of what the DOJʻs announcement actually means.


Justice Department Will Stop Using Private Prisons
The federal government’s decision comes a couple of weeks after Hawaii extended its contract with a for-profit prison in Arizona.
Rui Kaneya, Civil Beat, August 19, 2016


What You Need to Know About the Private Prison Phase-Out
With the feds cutting back, the companies are down but not out.
Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Projcet, August 18, 2016




“We ought to commit ourselves to building a human rights movement – FOR EDUCATION, NOT INCARCERATION; FOR JOBS, NOT JAILS A movement that will end legal discrimination against people released from prison, discrimination that denies them human rights to work, to shelter, to education, to food.” – Michelle Alexander


Meeting Notice: Program Committee of the HCR 85 Effective Incarceration Task Force

YOUR VOICE MATTERSThis notification is for the Program Committee of the HCR 85 Effective Incarceration Task Force (formerly called the Prison Reform Task Force, then the Corrections Task Force). The community needs to speak up at these meetings (although we have been put at the end of the agenda) because the goal of this task force is to build more jail beds…not reform a broken system.

Program Subcommittee Meeting
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
2:00-3:30 p.m.
Capitol in Senate room 225

YAY! DOJ will end the use of corporate prisons!

Today we CELEBRATE that the Justice Department will end the use of private/corporate prisons!

Sadly, Hawai`i just signed a new contract with CCA to incarcerate our people in their dungeons, despite the fact that 74% of our imprisoned population are Class C felons, misdemeanants, petty misdemeanants, parole and probation violators.

Letʻs celebrate that that at least the federal government has seen the problems in these facilities and decided to discontinue renewal of their contracts while Hawai`i has ignored these problems for 21 years.


Justice Dept. says it will end use of private prisons
Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, August 18, 2016

“The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.”


Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons
Jessie Hellmann,, August 18, 2016


Mahalo to all the people of conscience who have spoken out against the corporate takeover of justice. THIS IS YOUR VICTORY!

On behalf of all our people inside these profit-making prisons and their families, many who donʻt see their loved ones for years, MAHALO NUI LOA FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!