MEDIA ADVANCE for MONDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2013
Dated and released, Friday December 20, 2013
PRESS CONFERENCE: Monday, December 23, 2013
Third Circuit Court, Hilo District Court
777 Aupuni St. Hilo, HI
at the Kanawai Mamalahoe Statue
Contact: Palikapu Dedman (808) 959-4930
Ronald Fujiyoshi (808) 959-9775 & (808) 345-9688
“LAWSUIT SEEKS PU’UHONUA NOT PRISON AT KULANI”
HILO, HAWAII – The nonprofit Ohana Ho`opakele announced today that three Hawaii County residents presently incarcerated at Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona have joined a lawsuit to prevent the State’s planned reactivation of Kulani prison unless and until it has considered a Kulani pu`uhonua as an alternative.
According to Ho`opakele President Palikapu Dedman, “Hawaii prisons already are filled disproportionately with native Hawaiians. Isn’t it time the State of Hawaii does something different and stops feeding this so called criminal justice system that thrives on the misery of the Hawaiian people.”
On August 2, 2013, Ho`opakele filed a complaint in Hilo District circuit court requesting an injunction to prevent the proposed reactivation of Kulani prison unless and until such time the State prepares an environmental impact statement that specifically considers activating a Hawaiian pu`uhonua at Kulani camp and grounds. Ho`opakele filed the complaint after the State Office of Environmental Quality Control published on July 8, 2013 a “Final Environmental Assessment” and “Finding of No Significant Impact” prepared by the State Dept. of Accounting and General Services for the Dept. of Public Safety’s proposed Kulani prison reactivation project.
“In 2012, The State Legislature passed Act 117 that specifically directed the Dept. of Public Safety to work with Ohana Ho`opakele in developing a plan for a pu`uhonua at Kulani camp and grounds,” Dedman said. “The Department has not worked with us to develop a plan, and instead has called Act 117 ‘an unfunded mandate.’”
Ho`opakele considers the State’s plan to reactivate Kulani prison as the ground floor of a scheme envisioned by the State Dept. of Public Safety announced on November 14, 2013 to expand prisons and prison populations throughout the Hawaiian islands.
“I think we have all heard at one time or another that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” Dedman continued. “Either insanity has taken ahold, or anyone proposing more prisons and more prisoners in Hawaii simply does not desire or expect any different results.”
According to Mr. Fujiyoshi, who also serves on the Ho`opakele Board of Directors, the three new plaintiffs are among a total of one hundred thirteen Saguaro pa`ahao that had contacted Ohana Ho`opakele seeking to join the lawsuit. “These island men incarcerated at Saguaro that have joined our case are native Hawaiian, local residents, and serving sentences imposed by our Third Circuit courts. Also, each of these men had signed on to Ohana Ho`opakele’s Kahea for building Hawaiian pu`uhonua, not State prisons, well before the lawsuit had been filed. Two of them have been writing to state officials to formally request placement in a Kulani pu`uhonua.”
Ohana’s Kahea was issued on March 21, 2011 and presently has received 1,856 endorsements from Hawaii residents and international supporters.
“On November 7, 2013, on the steps of the Kuhio federal building in Honolulu, Ho`opakale petitioned U.S. attorney General, Eric Holder to come to Hawaii to investigate the disproportionate number of native Hawaiians in Hawaii state jails and prisons. Today, we file this amended complaint in our Hilo District circuit court asking for justice from Judge Glen H. Hara. A State Prison is based on punishment. Hawaiian pu`uhonua is based on healing, and healing the individual, family, and community. Pu`uhonua can never be one program in a prison. It is the very alternative to prison,” said Dedman.
Copies of Ohana Ho`opakele’s amended complaint will be made available to members of the media at the above-captioned conference on Monday, December 23, 2013, or upon request.
Excerpts from Ho`opakele’s Amended Complaint, Civil No. 13-1-0474, filed December 23, 2013
· DAGS environmental assessment did not consider a single alternative, including pu`uhonua, to the Dept. of Public Safety’s proposed reactivation of Kulani Prison, or any alternative uses for the Kulani campus and grounds, or any other sites to locate a prison in Hawaii County or elsewhere.
· DAGS did not consult the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Dept. of Hawaiian Homelands, Kulani campus and grounds neighbor Kamehameha Schools, or Ohana Ho`opakele in preparation of the environmental assessment.
· The environmental assessment did not consider the issues of traditional Hawaiian usage and practice, preservation of specific endangered and threatened plant and animal species, use of federal funds, public recreational access, road-building, fencing, and multi-user conflict that were identified in DLNR’s environmental assessment of the Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve Management Plan wherein Kulani camp and grounds is wholly located.
· In 2009 when Kulani Prison was closed it had capacity to house one hundred sixty pa`ahao, and the Kulani prison reactivation plan proposes a capacity for two hundred twenty eight pa`ahao. The environmental assessment did not consider any effects and impacts of, or alternatives to, incarcerating 37.5% more prisoners than the seven (7) dormitories were designed for and last most recently housed.
· The environmental assessment not consider that in June 2010, native Hawaiians comprised 41% state prison population, or that since the mid 1990’s, native Hawaiians have been receiving longer prison and probation sentences than persons of other races and ethnicities, and that with the exception of Native Americans, native Hawaiians have been the most likely to receive a sentence of imprisonment.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that, by county, excepting only Kalawao (Kalaupapa, Moloka`i), Hawaii County’s population is constituted by the greatest percentages of Native Hawaiians, Other Pacific Islanders, and Persons of Two of More Races, collectively 42% County population.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that Hawaii County’s population is experiencing the deepest money poverty, at 16% population, and lowest per capita and money incomes in the state of Hawaii.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that in each of FYS 2011 and 2012, Hawaii County jails were occupied by one point eight (1.8) men for every one (1) jail bed the facility was designed for.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that during FYS 2011 and 2012, while Hawaii County’s adult population comprised 13.5% state population, Third Circuit courts sentenced 25% felony convictions to prison, 21% Misdemeanor convictions, and 33% Violations convictions, and supervised 20% state adult probation caseload.
· The environmental assessment did not consider, and the Dept. of Public Safety has not developed a community benefit and enhancement package to mitigate the negative aspects of reactivating Kulani Prison in the District of South Hilo, County of Hawaii, State of Hawaii.
· The environmental assessment did not address any reactivation of the helipad facility and, therefore, may have failed to consider any of diverse direct, secondary, and cumulative effects and impacts of helicopter transportation to and from a reactivated Kulani Prison.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that the United States of America did not annex the Hawaiian Islands in 1898, and that there existed no “public lands” for the Republic of Hawaii to transfer to the USA and no “ceded lands” for the USA to transfer to the State of Hawaii.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that Tax Map Key (3)2-4-008:009 spans nearly 8,000 acres of Hawaiian Crown lands and that the State of Hawaii is obligated to use Crown lands to benefit native Hawaiian heirs to this land.
· Even if Kulani camp and grounds is contained within ceded lands, the environmental assessment does not address how the proposed disposition of ceded lands containing Kulani camp and grounds as a minimum security prison contributes to the betterment of the native Hawaiian people or any of the other federally prescribed uses of ceded lands.
· The environmental assessment did not consider that Act 117 states, in part the legislative finding that “a pu`uhonua, or wellness center, based on Hawaiian cultural practices will help the native Hawaiian community and community at large. . . . The cultural practices of pule, ho`oponopono, aloha `aina, mahi`ai, la`au lapa`au, and aloha will help create a sensitive setting. A culturally based pu`uhonua will restore and maintain a better atmosphere and relationship between family, friends, community, and society.”
· The environmental assessment did not consider that Act 117 states, in part, the legislative finding that “the site formerly used as the Kulani correctional facility. . . . is a place of deep spirituality for the Hawaiian people, and pragmatically, it has the infrastructure and historical precedent for use in sustainable living.”