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Group has 38 ideas to reduce Native Hawaiians in prison

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:51 a.m. HST, Dec 27, 2012

A task force that spent a year studying ways to reduce the number of Native Hawaiians in prison and involved in other parts of the criminal justice system submitted a list of 38 recommendations to the state Legislature today. 

Among them is the suggestion that resources be directed toward children of incarcerated parents to reduce the number of families with successive generations in prison.

Children of incarcerated parents are at higher risk of winding up running into legal problems themselves, while education and programs for at-risk youth are inadequately funded, it said.

Incarceration and recidivism will likely decrease as poverty, unemployment, health care, housing and education are improved, the report said.

Native Hawaiians make up about one-quarter of the state’s population, but about 40 percent of the state’s inmates and those on parole.

A law created the task force after a 2010 report highlighted the disproportionate representation of Native Hawaiians in prison, on probation, on and other aspects of the criminal justice system.

The report supports Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s aim to bring back to Hawaii inmates held in private prisons on the mainland. Keeping inmates in these prisons, removes them from their home, culture, family, job prospects and community support, it said.

The task force recommended that the state recognize and support efforts to promote indigenous cultural practices in the criminal justice system. The report said this has been successful already in the Native Hawaiian community and has also worked in places like Australia, Canada and New Zealand. 

Approaches such as sentencing circles, mediation and community justice are options for some defendants, the report said.

The task force had nine members, including Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe and representatives from the attorney general’s office, Honolulu prosecutor’s office and the state public defender’s office. 

They held public meetings on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kauai last summer and visited inmates at Halawa Correctional Facility and the Women’s Community Correctional Center.

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Bigdog_MD wrote:
#1. Stop committing crimes #2. Stop committing crimes #3. Stop committing crimes
on December 27,2012 | 11:02AM
olos73 wrote:
Agree with @Bigdog_MD 100%. You cannot keep them out of prison if they keep on breaking laws and committing crimes.
on December 27,2012 | 12:08PM
64hoo wrote:
first time they commit a crime turn kahoolawe into an alcatraz type prison but teaches them about how to be a responsable citizen and help them become law biding citizens.
on December 27,2012 | 06:32PM
DiverDave wrote:
Right Bigdog, What they don't need is more raced based Polynesian only programs! With over 800 already in this State, as well as all the the Public programs like Section 8 free housing, EBT foodstamps, welfare etc. if anything these programs only show that more programs at the tax payer expense is NOT the answer.
on December 27,2012 | 02:29PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Hey, that answer is too simple....................drugs will do you in.
on December 27,2012 | 08:16PM
islandsun wrote:
And none of those ideas will work.
on December 27,2012 | 11:07AM
laachang wrote:
" removes them from their home, culture, family, job prospects and community support" The idiots were obviously not concerned with any of these things when they were out drugging and doing the crimes. Why, then, should this become the basis for bringing them back to the State? And what about their victims and the victims families? Let the prisoners rot in those private prisons. We don't want or care to have them back----Native or not!!!!
on December 27,2012 | 11:52AM
allie wrote:
Sadly, many of the recommendations were predictable given the bad composition of the group. Why not say, "You know..Hawaiians..take some individual responsibility and take care of your children, follow the law and get a job. Stop blaming everybody but yourself. Rescue yourself. Stop waiting for handouts from others or demanding something for nothing. Get moving!"
on December 27,2012 | 11:59AM
DiverDave wrote:
Correct allie!
on December 27,2012 | 02:30PM
hunebasami wrote:
My hawaiian relative have never been to prison, not on drugs, not uneducated, not needing health care, not unemployed. Which Hawaiian are you talking about. Where do they come from. Mine went to Kamehameha, Saint Louis, MIT and so on. Their fathers were either Chiness or Japaness. Their mothers were Hawaiian.
on December 27,2012 | 12:17PM
DaMenace168 wrote:
Ahhh, so what you're saying is that your realtives are NOT true native hawaiians... only hapa. Therefore, they're not the typical uneducated, unemployed hawaiian due to the good traits of the asian genes (study, work hard, save $$$)!!! Funny how people like to say their hawaiian when they only have 1/4 of the gene.
on December 27,2012 | 12:48PM
allie wrote:
That is my point: tens of thousands of Hawaiians ARE doing well because they are following a simple American formula for success: work hard, take responsibility, defer gratification, study, get the best education possible, marry a responsible loving person, work hard, save, raise your children well and teach them good values, support the child's teachers and school, be a responsible loving parent and teach your child how blessed they are to enjoy precious liberties. Most Asians and Westerners who came here with rags on their back did this genrations ago and enjoyed amazing rates of social and occupational mobility.
on December 27,2012 | 02:25PM
DiverDave wrote:
Nice! allie
on December 27,2012 | 10:26PM
Kawipoo wrote:
Remove their testicales so they have no more kids!
on December 27,2012 | 12:39PM
brian606 wrote:
We already have sentencing circles- the criminals get released on probation, commit more crimes, and get sentenced to more probation.
on December 27,2012 | 01:28PM
st1d wrote:
thought the headline meant there was interest in weight reduction programs for hawaiian prisoners.

hard to find fault with bigdog md's three ideas, though.

on December 27,2012 | 01:34PM
whs1966 wrote:
Wow! The headline makes it sound like the Native Hawaiians in prison are going to be shrunk. It should have included the words "...the number of. Native Hawaiians...
on December 27,2012 | 02:46PM
Graham wrote:
The task force should have looked at Hawaiian families that are succeeding, those not in prison, etc. and find what is making them successful.
on December 27,2012 | 02:51PM
allie wrote:
Most ARE succeeding.
on December 27,2012 | 05:12PM
konag43 wrote:
you have to start with the parents of the children first. educate the parents make it mandatory for these parents to take counceling classes teach them to have self worth and self esteem i would say half of the parents come from disfuctionary familes doing drugs , beating up their spouses and their children etc. etc. gotta fix from the top down. hey diverdave. haoles and filipninos and every other race collect food stamps, wlefare and section 8 programs as well.
on December 27,2012 | 03:14PM
HD36 wrote:
Mail them a free pack of contraceptives once a month.
on December 27,2012 | 04:05PM
iwanaknow wrote:
They wouldn't use them since less kids equal less government money. They'd just sell them or toss them out.
on December 27,2012 | 08:32PM
poidogjohn wrote:
"Incarceration and recidivism will likely decrease as poverty, unemployment, health care, housing and education are improved, the report said." No sh*t, Sherlock. Isn't that the stock answer for most of our state's, our country's, the world's woes? How generic can this report be? I hope we aren't paying a lot for this task force. Bringing home those incarcerated abroad will also swell the local prison system, the ACLU will order early release for the lesser offenders, releasing them into the general public and the cycle will continue.....until the time comes when "poverty, unemployment, health care, housing and education improve." I'm not holding my breath.
on December 27,2012 | 05:42PM
rayhawaii wrote:
Drugs and alcohol, the downfall of the Hawaiian people, a proud race of people reduced to the lowest of all races in their own their own land.
on December 27,2012 | 07:40PM
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