Oppose Private Prisons Coming to Hawaii

Aloha Peace ohana,
Please send in testimony to the state legislature ASAP in opposition to SCR 120 which wants a public/private partnership for more prisons in Hawaii.  Please support Ohana Ho’opakele and Pu’uhonua as positive alternatives to prison.  Mahalo.  See my testimony and Ron Fujiyoshi’s testimony below.  To submit testimony go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/
register or sign in at the top right then click on button submit testimony and put in SCR 120  and be sure to click on OPPOSE.
Jim Albertini

Submitted on: 3/22/2014
Testimony for PSM on Mar 24, 2014 13:35PM in Conference Room 224

Submitted By Organization Testifier Position Present at Hearing
Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Oppose No

Comments: Our organization stands in strong opposition to SCR 120. We are opposed to more prisons –public and private. Put a stop here and now to the prison industrial complex of Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) or any other private prisons for profit coming to Hawaii to make money off the misery of Hawaiians, already disproportionately represented in Hawaii prisons. In the 1970s Hawaii only had a few hundred people locked up in the State. Today Hawaii has 6,000 people in lock up. Something is very wrong. Prisons are proven failure. No more prisons. There is more than enough room to confine people who are a danger to themselves or the community. It’s time to focus on Pu’uhonua as alternative to prison, places where people can heal, where we can restore offenders, victims, families, and our communities to wholeness. Build Pu’uhonua on every island. Pu’uhonua is our best hope at reducing crime, reducing recidivism, saving money and making long-term positive change. Otherwise, there is no end in sight to the number of people in lock up. At present rates of growth, in the next 30-40 years there will be 60,000 people in lock up and Hawaii will be spending more on prisons than education and all other human services combined. Is this the direction we want for Hawaii — Hawaii becoming a prison industrial complex along with a military industrial complexes and a playground for the rich while local people are homeless or in prison? I hope not. Pu’uhonua, not more prisons, is the way to go. Mahalo. Jim Albertini

Legislators, wake up!
Prisons are not working!
Why continue to support what you know is not working?
Spending money on prisons is a bottomless hole!
The public does not want anything that smells of PLDC!
Take note of the following:
• On February 15, 2012 Treena Shapiro wrote a story for the Associated Press on the Pu`uhonua bill [Senate bill (SB3016)]. Do you know that eighty-two (82) media reports were carried in thirty-seven (37) different states in the U.S. plus Washington, D.C.? Why did so many different states cover an article of a Pu`uhonua or a Wellness Center? It was because all of these states know that prisons are not working! All eyes are upon Hawai`i to show a model that works at healing pa`ahao.
• Do you know that Attorney Eric Holder held a press conference on August 12, 2013 saying that federal prisons were “warehousing the most vulnerable members of society”? He has taken steps to eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentencing for those not in gangs, not in prison for violent crimes, and not on the top level of drug-dealing. Even he knows prisons are not working!
• Hawaiians had working Pu`uhonua that worked; Pu`uhonua can work today at healing Pa`ahao. Build Pu`uhonua, not prisons!
• Look at our Ohana Ho`opakele website at www.ohanahoopakele.org and see our “Kahea (Call) to Support Pu`uhonua as an Alternative to Prison.” It has 1946 signers that include the majority of Hawaiian cultural practitioners, many religious leaders including all of the Justice and Witness Ministries staff of the United Church of Christ, more than 90 Pa`ahao at Saguaro prison, political leaders including Senator Daniel Akaka, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Mayor Billy Kenoi, past mayors Dante Carpenter, Harry Kim, Lorraine Inouye, Senators Will Espero, Russell Ruderman, Laura Thielen, Brickwood Galuteria, Ex-Senators Pohai Ryan, John S. Carroll, Norman Sakamoto, Whitney Anderson, Representatives Sharon Har, Ken Ito, Chris Lee, John M. Mizuno, Calvin K.Y. Say, Marcus Oshiro, Georgette Jordan, Roy Takumi, Ex-Representatives Marilyn B. Lee, David Hagino, the late ex-Lt. Governor Jean King, Councilmembers Gary Hooser, Ikaika Anderson, Ex-Councilmembers Donald Ikeda, Fred Blas, Dominic Yagong, DHHL Commissioners Renwick Valentine Tassill, Michael Kahikina, Wallace Ishibashi, Gene Ross Davis, Kama Hopkins, Leimana Damate, Ex-commissioners Ian Lee Loy, Perry Artates, Director William J. Aila Jr., Deputy Director Gary Gill, OHA trustees Oswald K. Stender, Carmen Hulu Lindsey, Ex-OHA trustees Mililani B. Trask, Clarence Ku Ching, Moanikeala Akaka, Walter Ritte, OHA staff John K. Rosa, Leona M. Kalima, Ex-OHA staff Stephen Morse, Wardens Peter McDonald, Neal Wagatsuma, DPS staff Martha Torney, ex-warden Glen Hisashima, Hawaii County staff Wally Lau, Jane Horike, Ex-Hawaiian Caucus Chairs Joseph Lewis, Lela M. Hubbard, Prosecutor Mitch Roth, Ex-prosecutor Jay Kimura, Ex-warden David Winett, Lawyers Myles S. Breiner, Carrie Ann Shirota, Lorenn Walker, Kevin Block, Lanny Sinkin, Robert Merce, Tom Yeh, Alan T. Murakami, Lei Kihoi, Kali Watson, Georgette Yaindl, Professors Williamson Chang, Liam Skilling, Marilyn Brown, Sarah Marusek, etc.
Stop spending money on prisons! Turn to Pu`uhonua to heal pa`ahao! Enough already! Keep the Prison-Industrial Complex out of Hawai`i!

Abercrombie pledges corrections system overhaul

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Gov. Neil Abercrombie told a class of 26 adult corrections officer recruits Friday that they are getting in on the ground floor of what he described as a statewide initiative to revamp and reorient the corrections program.

Visiting the class with state Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai, Abercrombie said that the planned reopening of Kulani Correctional Facility in early July is just a start, and plans are in the works to replace antiquated and overcrowded Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo and build a jail facility in Kona.

“As you know, the west side of the island is growing in numbers and density and in ways there’s a new Judiciary complex over there. So, my plan includes building jail facilities, correctional facilities on the Kona side and eliminating the necessity of going back and forth with prisoners,” he said. “… What that means is there are going to be more opportunities in terms of professional openings on that side. … There are going to be new opportunities in what are now nonexistent positions and responsibilities. All that’s part of an integrated plan and opening Kulani is just a step in an overall plan for the Big Island.”

Abercrombie said that the planned reopening is “right on the kinipopo,” time wise. The plan is to eventually house 200 inmates in the minimum security facility on the slopes of Mauna Kea outside Hilo and to eventually return all Hawaii inmates housed in private prisons on the mainland.

“Part of the reason it’s taken us as long as it has … to get Kulani opened is that we were making the switch of the Youth ChalleNGe program that’s up at Kulani,” he said. The National Guard program for at-risk youth, which has been using the Kulani facility, is being moved to the Keaukaha Military Reservation.

The governor said he received approval Thursday of a $350,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help fund initial training for an agricultural program at Kulani using inmate labor. He said it’s part of $8 million in grant funding earmarked for what he described as a sustainable program which will include greenhouses and other agricultural infrastructure plus recycling of green waste to energy.

“I think this is gonna lower the recidivism rate,” he said. “We’re not only gonna be training people, we’re gonna be giving people a sense that they are not just in a hopeless situation marking time … Road, water and power construction means there’s gonna be jobs in the construction industry, as well.”

He added that the program would tap the expertise of the state Department of Agriculture and the agriculture program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Abercrombie said he has a six-year plan for revamping the state’s corrections system that includes closing Oahu Community Correctional Center, which he described as “inadequate” from the day it opened. He said he believes he can find a private developer who can make a better use of the land OCCC occupies in the lower Kalihi neighborhood of Honolulu and who will fund and build a jail elsewhere.

The governor, who is up for re-election this year, is facing a primary challenge from State Sen. David Ige. A Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now poll last month of registered voters gave the incumbent governor a 47 to 38 percent edge over the Leeward Oahu Democrat. That same poll gave likely GOP challenger Duke Aiona a 48 to 40 percent lead in a head-to-head matchup. Aiona was the lieutenant governor in the administration of Abercrombie’s predecessor, Linda Lingle, who shuttered Kulani in September 2009.

Abercrombie called the closure, which Lingle touted as a cost-cutting measure, as “a misstep.”

“When Kulani closed, it wasn’t just the facility closing,” he said. “… I know that people had to leave their families and leave the islands to take jobs elsewhere. I know that people got bumped because we didn’t have adequate personnel in the facilities that we did have. Closing Kulani caused a whole disruption in our corrections system.

“… The question that has to be asked right now is, ‘What’s the cost of sending people out of the state?’ Not just in dollars-and-cents terms, but in lost opportunities for dealing with our own difficulties, in our own way, inside our own home, inside our state.”

Asked afterwards about a lawsuit filed against the state by the Native Hawaiian group Ohana Ho‘opakele and joined by three inmates incarcerated at an Arizona facility over the state’s alleged failure to implement Act 117 and establish a pu‘uhonua or place of refuge or healing at Kulani, Abercrombie said he wouldn’t comment on the litigation.

“What we’re here today about is to see to it Kulani not only reopens, but that these young men and women who are thinking about having a career in corrections understand that they’re going to be part of an initiative towards the complete revamping and reorientation of the corrections program … throughout Hawaii. And the Big Island is the kickoff to that.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

– See more at: http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/abercrombie-pledges-corrections-system-overhaul#sthash.FCpD1mte.276ggxMo.dpuf