27 Dec Tuesday, December 19, 2017 From Kat Brady
Sorry not to post yesterday…lots of other stuff crowding out my day as I waded through the Alternatives Analysis of the DEIS for OCCC. Life has been hectic as there have been many calls from various sectors of the community trying to understand what is going on with OCCC. They are shocked when they learn who is imprisoned there and appalled that our system is so punitive when crime is at a record low level. They are disheartened that our legislature is more interested in building jails and prisons than in building justice and people. Every imprisoned person is a member of our community and more than 98% are returning to their communities someday. We must do everything we can to ensure that when a person is released, s/he is ready to rejoin their community to get their lives going to meet their social goals (school, job, training, etc.).
Yesterday, Civil Beat had a great article on alternatives that CAP has been closely involved with – the Community Outreach Court and LEAD – Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. LEAD is the front-end diversion program; the Community Outreach Court clears warrants and tickets for low-level offenses at the back end. Both of these projects were facilitated by Heather Lusk, the Executive Director of The CHOW Project, which stands for the Community Health Outreach Work to Prevent AIDS Project. Heather has been Hawai`iʻs terrific LEADer, bringing everyone together to build the infrastructure of LEAD and building a strong interdisciplinary hui.
Community Outreach Court doles out community service and uses social workers to help defendants get off the streets by Natanya Friedheim / December 18, 2017
…This month, the program will expand from its single location in downtown Honolulu to District Court divisions around Oahu. The Legislature added $442,000 to the state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 for the program. Eventually, lawmakers will decide if the program should expand to other islands.
… Community Outreach Court isn’t equipped to help people with severe mental health issues — those who go before judges and don’t understand where they are or what’s going on. Unfortunately, traditional courts and jails have become a repository for that population, said Tonak.
Such cases are typically referred to a jail diversion program administered by the state Department of Public Safety and the Adult Mental Health Division of the Department of Health.
For others, Community Outreach Court can clear people’s records, easing the way for housing and employment.
We ARE making progress and we need to keep promoting a diverse array of community alternatives to incarceration. These two alternatives are a start and we must convince the legislature that we need to reform the entire system from arrest through parole to create a TRUE system of justice and not just a system that processes people.
Attached is a terrific OpEd written by Carrie Ann Shirota of the Hawai`i Justice Coalition on better alternatives than building a BIG OCCC! Mahalo nui Carrie Ann…I hope others are encouraged to write letters to the editor or Op Eds to educate the community on this disastrous plan.
As you know, I have been immersed in the appendices of the DEIS, where all the real information lives. Attached are sections of Appendix E – Alternatives Analysis. Itʻs 5 pages of the 29-page report. The alternatives analysis is ONLY ABOUT BUILDINGS it does not look at alternatives to building a new jail.
This is outrageous since Hawai`iʻs department of public safety is currently in crisis with sex assaults and 4 suicides in the last several months. SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG AND A BIG NEW JAIL IS NOT GOING TO FIX THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS THAT EXIST IN THIS DEPARTMENT.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: RAISE YOUR VOICE FOR JUSTICE!
Send your questions and responses to:
· Lance Y. Maja, Dept. of Accounting and General Services firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Vincent Shigekuni, PBR Hawaii & Associates, Inc. OCCC@pbrhawaii.com; and
· the Office of Environmental Quality Control email@example.com.
Please remember that the consultants respond only to questions.
ALL RESPONSES TO THE DEIS ARE DUE BY JANUARY 8, 2018
Mahalo for being a caring community. Please send some aloha to those serving sentences near and far. The holidays are especially difficult for the people inside and their `ohana, the invisibly incarcerated.