Notes from 8.1.16 Program Committee Mtg of HCR 85 Corrections Task Force

Here are the notes from Monday’s Program Committee Meeting. This memo from the newly appointed Chair really sets the right tone. As you will see from the notes, some members are just intent on incarceration despite the fact that 74% of the people incarcerated are C felons, misdemeanants, petty misdemeanants, probation and parole violators. We need to seriously educate these folks, if that is at all possible.

On another note, there was supposed to be a Research subcommittee, but that has now become the Education committee (with no pushback from anyone!).

It can be frustrating, but it is important to attend these meetings and voice our concerns. Kat has tried to just listen and say little at the first couple of meetings but frankly, she’s bursting!



August 1, 2016 Meeting

Present:  Justice Wilson (Chair of HCR 85 Task Force), James Hirano, Matt Taufetee, Sen. Nishihara, Rep. Takayama, Keith Kaneshiro, Bob Merce, Sidney Nakamoto 

There were people in the audience who were not allowed participation as we had been promised. The community was again relegated to comments at the end of the meeting. IT APPEARS WE ARE LOCKED OUT OF THIS ENTIRE PROCESS. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IS IN THE “THANK YOU FOR SHARING, NOW SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP” SECTION OF MEETINGS AND TO TESTIMONY AT PUBLIC HEARINGS THAT WE ARE TOLD WILL BE HELD.

Chair Wilson opened the meeting at 2 pm.

The Chair reported on the status of the Hawaiian Subcommittee meetings. It was announced that the date for the Hawaiian Subcommittee Public Hearing originally scheduled for Saturday, August 27 will be rescheduled. He said that the committee’s 3 priorities were:

  1. Change the culture in the system to Aloha,
  2. Support funding for correctional staff training, and
  3. Support transition funding to help those reintegrating with their communities in the areas of employment and treatment.

The committee elected a Chair and Co-Chair. Bob Merce is the Chair and James Hirano is Co-Chair of the Program Subcommittee.

After Bob took the reins as Chair, the committee had a brief discussed what they thought the role of the subcommittee should be. Chair Wilson thought there should be a discussion of the logistics.

Bob handed the committee a four-page memo (attached) that he produced with his thoughts about the role of the Program Subcommittee. He spoke about developing a set of principles:

  1. Philosophy: Human and humane approach to corrections
  2. Punishment: Incarceration ISthe punishment
  3. Normality: As feasible, prison/jail should mirror the outside world
  4. Policies:  Should be based on evidence, job training, therapy, mastery of life skills, evaluations, highly trained staff, focus on reentry/reintegration

Several suggestions were made to establish a baseline of all evidence-based programs that are currently operational. The committee should focus on reentry, Justice Reinvestment (Warden Hirano said MCCC has been doing this for 20 years – interesting since JRI started in 2005!), and restitution.

PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE Kaneshiro bragged about his stint as director of Public Safety and the drug treatment programs HE had. He mentioned that Halawa had a drug treatment module, however, when KASHBOX opened at Waiawa, that became the drug treatment program for O`ahu facilities.

KASHBOX used to have a 12-step program that is not in existence now due to a constitutional challenge (separation of state and church).

He pontificated about bringing in Nainoa Thompson and some of the crew of Hokulea to Waiawa to teach navigational skills to the men and HE also a baking program at WCCC. There was also Hawai`i Correctional Industries (HCI) but the program faltered when CCA took their best workers.

It was suggested that job fairs be held at facilities where people would be ready to transition to the community. Bringing employers and unions to meet people who would soon be returning to their communities.

The Track 4 (incarceration) of the Maui Drug Court Program was discussed and it was reported that 90% of the people in Drug Court go through this program. It was mentioned that there was a need for an in and out component.

This is where the committee showed its real intent, they LOVED the Track 4. No one questioned why 90% of the people in the Maui Drug Court are placed in Track 4 (they relapsed) but they seemed to love the lock `em up part! It was suggested that we might separate modules for the various specialty court clients: i.e. Drug Court, Veteranʻs Court, Mental Health Court and Takayama suggested that the new OCCC could have a similar unit to MCCC. So the intent of this task force appears to be build, build, build. Helping our people struggling with various challenges like mental health issues, substance disorders, poverty, and houselessness? Not so much.

A member wondered the % of people on parole or probation who are revoked for a dirty drug screen. A discussion ensued about the 20,000 people on probation and the impossible number of cases each probation officer has – up to 220 cases. Nakamoto said Adult Production does risk assessments and they focus on the high and medium risk individuals, approximately 60% have co-occurring disorders (substance disorder and mental health issue such as depression).

Hirano said that on Maui, as a person approaches Minimum custody, a program committee sees the person to determine if they are ready to be released.

It was noted that the average literacy level of incarcerated people is 5th or 6th grade.

Takayama suggested that the Program Chair contact the Chair of the Reentry Commission, Wendell Murakawa.

Nishihara mentioned that leadership is talking about bringing in mainland experts.

The next meeting of the PROGRAM SUBCOMMITTEE is

The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.


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