BY JIM ALBERTINI – Ohana Ho’opakele’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block the reactivation of Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) is set for hearing on Monday, June 30th at 2PM in Hilo Circuit Court before Judge Glenn Hara.
At issue if whether the State Department of Public Safety (DPS) violated Hawaii Environmental laws and Act 117 signed into law in 2012 which said Kulani is to be the preferred site for a Pu’uhonua as an alternative to prison.
On Friday, June 20, 2014, Judge Hara denied Ohana Ho’opakele’s Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ). Ohana Ho’opakele president, Palikapu Dedman said, “Watching how easily Judge Hara dismissed our Motion for Summary Judgment when the Attorney General’s lawyers hardly spoke against the motion, it becomes clear to us that the Environmental Assessment is mainly a procedure for the State of Hawai`i to develop whatever they want with just a show of protecting the environment. The process does not stand for the protection of the public and definitely not for protecting the rights of Hawaiians. We have provided clear evidence that Kulani is on Crown Lands. Money generated from Kingdom of Hawaii Crown Lands should be used for the betterment of Hawaiians and not to pay public officials working against the interest of Hawaiians.” The rejection of the MSJ opens the way for the reactivation of Kulani prison with a ceremony set for July 1st from 10AM-1PM at Kulani.
Dedman said, “The Department of Public Safety has been under fire not only for failing to establish a Pu’uhonua at Kulani, but for numerous escapes in the state’s prisons, routine cancellation of prisoners visitation with families, corruption within the system, guard drug trafficking, and now inviting the Prison Industrial Complex to Hawaii to profit off the misery of Hawaiians and further fleece the taxpayer.”
Dedman said, “The key issues in the case are really being ignored. Those issues are:
1. The disproportionate number of Hawaiians in prison. Native Hawaiians make up more than 60% of Hawaii’s prison population. There are nearly 6000 people locked up under the DPS. More than 3000 are Hawaiians
2. The prison system is not working. It’s a failed system with a 709% increase between 1980 and 2008, now costing $249 million annually.
3. The Pu`uhonua and the use of ho’oponopono is the best model to heal Hawaiian pa`ahao, families and our communities. It has a proven track record in Hawaiian culture and tradition. The State has to stop oppressing Hawaiians. Together let’s do something positive. A Model Pu’uhonua, not a prison, at Kulani would be a step toward justice. “
Dedman said, “The Third Circuit Court’s function seems to be just to pass judgment on the first level of review, leaving deeper reviews for the Appeals court level or higher. The problem with this is the added expense to appeal, making it almost impossible for those with little funding.”
Dedman said “Ohana Ho’opakele officers and supporters will be outside the entrance to the Hilo Court House at the Kanawai Mamalahoe sculpture “Law of the Splintered Paddle” and available for comment at 1PM Monday, June 30, 2014. Dedman said, “If Judge Hara rules against Ohana Ho’opakele’s request for a preliminary injunction on June 30th, there will be a protest beginning at 9AM outside the Kulani main gate on Tuesday, July 1st, when the prison reactivation ceremony at Kulani is planned.”
Submitted by Jim Albertini of the Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action on the island of Hawaii.