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Group seeks Hawaiian wellness center at Kulani prison site

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:49 p.m. HST, Aug 06, 2013

HILO >> A lawsuit claims the state failed to consider the Kulani Correctional Facility as a site for a wellness center, Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.

The group Ohana Hoopakele promotes rehabilitation programs that are based on Hawaiian cultural practices. The group is challenging the state's finding that reopening the minimum-security prison will have no significant environmental impact.

Supporters of wellness centers say there needs to be alternative, culture-based methods to rehabilitate incarcerated Native Hawaiians.

The state plans to re-open Kulani next year. It was closed in 2009 to help balance the state budget.

The group claims not considering the site as a wellness center is a violation of Act 117. The act directs state officials to prepare a plan for a wellness center on state land and refers to Kulani, 20 miles outside of Hilo, as an ideal location because of its existing infrastructure and because the area is a place of "deep spirituality for the Hawaiian people."

Not considering the site "continues and exacerbates the harms to Native Hawaiians as described in the report of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights," the lawsuit states.

Officials say reopening the prison, which will house an estimated 200 inmates, will help reduce the number of prisoners sent to mainland correctional facilities.

According to the Community Alliance on Prisons, Hawaiians represent a disproportionate majority of the state's 6,000 inmates, a number that includes 1,800 serving their sentences on the mainland.

State Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai has said Hawaiian cultural programs will be incorporated at Kulani.

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sailfish1 wrote:
"Hawaiians represent a disproportionate majority of the state's 6,000 inmates, a number that includes 1,800 serving their sentences on the mainland" Why is this? Are Hawaiians more prone to commit crimes?
on August 6,2013 | 08:08PM
DiverDave wrote:
Yes. They are at the top of all lists bad, and bottom of all lists good. The program has never been tested and has no cred. It and some snake oil will bring no recidivism. Ya right!
on August 6,2013 | 09:14PM
star08 wrote:
Blessings to those who seek peace. To the ones who seek healing rather than punishment.
on August 6,2013 | 10:11PM
DiverDave wrote:
Problem is that they sought crime and me ham. Now that they have been convicted they just want to get out of their cell. Just an excuse to indoctrinate them into the sovereignty silly fringe mindset.
on August 6,2013 | 11:32PM
DiverDave wrote:
Problem is they sought crime and me ham. Now that they are convicted they will do anything to get out of their cells. Just another way to propagandize them into the sovereignty fringe.
on August 6,2013 | 11:41PM
DiverDave wrote:
Sorry, the robot didn't take the fist entry right away.
on August 6,2013 | 11:43PM
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