On July 21, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs 2012 Task Force invited those concerned about the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians who are incarcerated. A University of Hawaii Maui College building filled quickly with families of the imprisoned, along with previous offenders and their pastors. Many agencies in the justice system, courts, prisons and treatment centers had officials testify that we must reach our young generation early and develop intergenerational care with our elders - the kupuna - in our schools and activity centers.
New Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamana'opono Crabbe and his task force were on Maui to inquire why Hawaiians were overrepresented in every stage of Hawaii's criminal justice system. Many addressed this tragedy in testimonies and with suggestions and plans to improve and expose the deep problems brought by low levels of educational, vocational or financial achievement, family factors, history of antisocial behavior, temperament and personality factors, substance abuse, pro-criminal associates, lack of empathy, no self-control skills and other factors that are highly associated with criminal conduct.
The families and associates in the numerous agencies of the justice system appreciate the effort of the task force and all of those who were willing to share how their nonprofits, churches and resources could collaborate and connect benefits to improve and heal our communities.
Pua Manuia-Stempler Hashimoto
Maui Community Correctional Center