comscore Letters: Legal system needs substantial reforms; Wearing a mask should be normal practice here; Trump will struggle now that he’s out of office | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Legal system needs substantial reforms; Wearing a mask should be normal practice here; Trump will struggle now that he’s out of office

Emphasizing the arrest rates of inmates released to curb COVID-19 misses the mark (“Isle inmates freed due to COVID commit crimes,” Star- Advertiser, Jan. 15). Along with increased enforcement actions, Hawaii’s abysmal re-entry system ensures high recidivism rates. Inmates typically aren’t provided with meaningful housing placement or legal documentation assistance.

Rampant COVID-19 infections in Hawaii and Arizona correctional facilities were readily foreseeable. The state Legislature’s relative inertia helped facilitate this ongoing public health disaster and human rights catastrophe.

COVID-19 and future pandemics counsel an end to “business as usual,” including the overcriminalization of poverty and behavioral health problems.

Hawaii’s criminal legal system, which has effectively abandoned rehabilitation, must be reformed. A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts notes that Hawaii has the highest average term of probation in the nation at 59 months, with 1 in 55 residents under supervision.

This is hardly a wise use of increasingly scarce public resources.

Nikos Leverenz



Inmates should not have been released

A recent reported study showed that 6 out of 10 inmates released early because of COVID 19 have been charged with more offenses (“Isle inmates freed due to COVID commit crimes,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 15). The Criminal Justice Institute reported out of 108 emergency-released inmates in April, 58% have been charge with more new offenses.

The question arises: Why were inmates released in the first place when they were incarcerated after being convicted for their crimes? The taxpayers had to pay for this needless study. The courts were responsible for incarcerating the inmate and even with the 58% reported new offenses, state Rep. Sonny Ganaden said the ongoing study will allow calculated risks of the emergency releases to be assessed.

When a convicted inmate is given priority treatment over law-abiding citizens, it is definitely time to consider new leadership in your community.

Patrick N. Custino



Be steadfast, unshaken in these trying times

The year 2021 arrives full of hope and courage. After a year of collective crisis, we have all once again had to refocus and reassess what’s truly important.

Our shared values are evolving in a world of constant change and upheaval. There are challenges still ahead for us. Yet, we now stand here in this pivotal moment to create a unique story, to etch our own marks into the fabric of this universal human experience.

In Hawaii, we have aloha in our hearts to guide us in our everyday lives, and we know that we need not protest injustices with violence.

Queen Liliuokalani has left us a lasting legacy of how to respond to injustice with faith, commitment and her peaceful motto of onipaa, being steadfast and unshaken in the face of trials. Like the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., may her peaceful light shine brightly for us today.

Shana Wailana Kukila



Wearing a mask should be normal practice here

About a decade ago when I was visiting Okinawa, I was stricken by the flu. The hotel I was staying in was kind enough to give me a mask to wear. I wore it even though I was self- conscious, since it was my first time wearing one.

But as I walked around Naha, the capital of Okinawa, I noticed no one gave me a second look, since masks are widely used by ill people.

Then I saw another foreigner on the sidewalk not wearing a mask who then loudly coughed, and the stink eye the locals passing by gave him.

Now, here in Honolulu as I walk around masked, I notice about half the people I pass are not wearing any masks at all. And they strut around that way, in defiance of safe protocol and considerate behavior.

Ed Kuba



Trump will struggle now that he’s out of office

I write this as Donald Trump has one more full day as president. These are some accounts that I expect to be reading in the future. There will be a plethora of stories that will emerge in the coming days about the horrible, crazy and bizarre things that Trump and his allies have done over the past four years.

Trump’s location is not the only part of Trump that will be moving south. I expect his health also will be in decline. There are several reasons to expect this: his age, his unhealthy lifestyle and his stress levels. I expect his stress levels will increase because his legal problems will grow. He no longer can hide behind the office of the presidency. He no longer has his Twitter account to attack others and blow off steam.

The Republicans will fracture into those who will forever remain loyal and those who will be in increasing denial about their support of Trump.

The German term schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) will be the word of the day for many days to come.

Robert Woliver



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