MAKU’U, Hawaii: Ohana ho’opakele is throwing a Ho’olaulea fundraiser in the hopes of raising money to plan and build a Pu’uhonua and Hawaiian healing center on the Big Island as an alternative to prison.
Bill HB 2848 SD2, which passed the 2012 Hawaii State legislature, requires Department of Public Safety to plan for a model wellness center that employs native Hawaiian cultural practices on state land. The site of the old Kulani Correctional Facility is a possible candidate for the location. The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Neil Abercrombie to become law.
Organizers say $10 donation gets you in to the event at the Makuu Farmers Market on Saturday, May 26 from 10 am to 5 pm. Live music will be provided by: Keli’i “skippy” Ioane, Kaliko Guys, Diana Aki, Ben Ka’ili and friends, George and Keoki Kahumoku, Brother Waltah, Brudah Cuz, and Terry Napeahi with Howard Pe’a.
The donation also gets you a stew plate. (Beef or vegetarian.) Tickets are available at Papa Mu Gallery in Prince Kuhio Plaza, 959-1101. For more information you can contact Ohana Ho’opakele president Sam Kaleleiki at 937-7193.
Organizers say there will also be an educational tent where “people can sign Ohana Ho’opakele’s KAHEA in support of the Pu’uhonua, watch a few short videos, see photo displays of i Makahiki ceremonies in prisons, and share ways their talents and skills can contribute to the Pu’uhonua effort. Everyone’s kokua is important.”
Supporters issued a media release offering some backround and reasons for the fundraising:
Statistics reveal that Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) have the worst incarceration rate of any ethnic group in Hawaii. In fact using data from the Hawai’i Criminal Justice Data Center, researchers for a 2010 report from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) found that the disproportionate impact of the criminal system accumulates at each stage of the process for Kanaka Maoli. They have a higher incidence from the decision to arrest, to longer sentences and longer probation’s. Data shows that Kanaka Maoli make up 24% of the general population but nearly 40% of the prison population. Adding to these troubling statistics, Kanaka Maoli make up 41% of those incarcerated in out-of-state facilities, isolating them from the ‘aina, cutting them off from their culture, and creating upheaval in their families. 60% of Hawai’i prisoners, in 2000 were classified as nonviolent offenders. If nonviolent offenders were diverted from prison to community-based programs, Hawai’i’s existing prison beds would be more than enough to confine hardened violent offenders. Shifting emphasis to community-based programs would eliminate the need for new prisons in Hawai’i or elsewhere, save taxpayers money and reduce recidivism by treating, not punishing, substance abuse.
Pu’uhonua would provide reintegration and rehabilitation help to Kanaka Maoli and others with an emphasis on Hawaiian cultural programs such as Ho’oponopono and Aloha Aina along with community service to benefit the Hawaii island community.
Ohana Ho’opakele’s vision is to have Pu`uhonua (Decentralized Wellness Centers – residential and non-residential) on all islands as an alternative to building more prisons. Samuel Kaleleiki, President of Ohana Ho’opakele said “Pu`uhonua are places open to all, not just Kanaka Maoli, where the traditional ho`oponopono process of making right will be used to help heal individuals, families, and communities. We believe Pu`uhonua centers are for the good of all Hawai`i’s people and can provide real hope in saving money, reducing recidivism, crime prevention, and long-term positive change.”
Next month, there will be an Ohana Ho’opakele Planning meeting on building a model Pu’uhonua. The gathering will be on Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 9-12 noon in the Lounge room at the Church of the Holy Cross, 440 Lanikaula St. Hilo (across from the new UHH building). Organizers say all who are interested in helping in this effort are welcome and encouraged to participate.