March 7, 2022                                   

For Information:
Ryan Leong, 808.392.7455


Ala Moana Hotel on Sunday March 20th and Café Julia on Monday, March 21st

Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Men of PA‘A, ‘Ekolu Mea Nui, Going Home Hawai‘i, Papa Ola Lōkahi, and the ACLU of Hawai‘i–collectively working as Hui Hoʻiwai–are pleased to announce the creation of the Hui Hoʻiwai Reentry Summit. The summit is taking place at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu on Sunday, March 20, 2022 and at Café Julia on Monday, March 21, 2022.

Hui Hoʻiwai is an informal working group of advocacy and reentry organizations striving to shine the light on the power within our communities and fighting to end the dehumanization of incarcerated people. The organizations that comprise Hui Hoʻiwai push for a paradigm shift where the default is not to put people in cages for violations or offenses. This reentry summit is an opportunity to build connections and foster vital discussion of these issues, see presentations on evidence-based practices, and learn from speakers with direct and lived experience about what works to enhance successful reentry.

Iopa Maunakea, Founder of Men of PA‘A said, “We cannot expect different results if we keep doing things the same way. The system we’ve had in place for too long does not set us up for success and it divides people. We need to believe in and invest in people coming out of the criminal legal system. It’s about people helping people helping people.”

Kānaka Maoli, Native Hawaiians, as well Pacific Islanders and Black people, are disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system in numerous and damaging ways. Hui Ho‘iwai is the joining of forces to meaningfully address these issues and strategize to bring transformative and lasting reform to a severely broken system. As representatives from Hui Hoʻiwa have said, “We believe in community investment and accountability that is therapeutic and restorative, not punitive.”

Dr. Jamee Miller, Co-Founder and President of ‘Ekolu Mea Nui said, “Our state continues to perpetuate a punitive criminal justice system. It is like a trap, once you’re in it’s very difficult to get out–even for the “model” incarcerated person. Once out, navigating reentry has its own challenges. It’s time we embrace the tools and wisdom of our Kupuna and shift to a pono system where true healing through native Hawaiian practices can occur.”

Les Estrella, President and Chief Executive Officer of Going Home Hawai‘i, said, “Reentry is not just about helping any one person transition successfully, but about caring for our community itself. Providing services to help people succeed puts them on a better pathway, which is why we always say ‘no new crime, no new victims.’ Reentry services is one of the smartest investments we can make and successful reintegration is one of the most important crime-prevention tools our communities have!

“We have seen the evidence that connection to culture and identity is integral to Hawaiian well-being,” Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels, Executive Director of Papa Ola Lōkahi, said. “Ho‘iwai provides the opportunity to address needs and resources with a cross-disciplinary approach. So we are better prepared to support persons facing reentry, their families and communities.”

In addition to in-person attendance, virtual options for the Hui Hoʻiwai Justice Reform Summit are available. The registration link for the Hui Ho‘iwai Reentry Summit is available here. 

Kūkākūkā and workshop topics will include: Justice reform, culturally-based interventions, Ho‘okanaka process, reducing recidivism, reimagining reintegration, decarceration, impact on ‘ohana, healthcare options, and trauma-informed recovery. The full agenda for the summit is available here.

The summit pillars are:

            E Ho‘olako ia a‘e nei me ka Hanohano
         E na Hawai‘i pio‘ole me ka mana‘o

            Enrich with pride our work...
Cherish Hawai‘i of our peoples values

            Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua
            Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers, flowers
            thrive where there is water as thriving people are found 
            where living conditions are good

            E lawe i ke a‘o a mālama, a e ‘oi mau ka na‘auao
            The person who takes teachings and applies them
            increases their knowledge

            Refers to massive upheavals that change the landscape,
            overturn the normal, reverse the flow and sweep away the
            prevailing or assumed

Lewis Conway, Communities and Coalition Storyteller with the ACLU National office said, “There can be no sustainable drop in rates of recidivism until we embrace successful reentry as an antidote for mass incarceration. Society must embrace the reality that 95 percent of the people currently in prison are coming home, and we have to find a better way to onboard them back into our families, our neighborhoods, and our communities.”

Carrie Ann Shirota, ACLU of Hawai‘i Policy Director said, “We need to reduce the number of people in our jails and prisons through bail reform and other decarceration strategies that enhance community safety. Simultaneously, we must provide comprehensive reeentry support services to help people rebuild their lives after incarceration. Housing is one of the fundamental needs for people to successfully transition. Without providing people stable housing, we’re creating this class of people that will almost be perpetually houseless. We must do better, and this summit is a chance for us to explore a better way forward.”

For information on participation and tabling opportunities at the summit, please contact Monica Espitia at mespitia@acluhawaii.org.

# # #

Men of PA‘A (“Positive Action Alliance”) is an organization dedicated to helping men stay clean and sober through community service. Its mission is to be of service in our community with intent and purpose; to foster partnerships and collaborations with other organizations.

The mission of Ekolu Mea Nui is to transform Hawaii's justice system through Native Hawaiian cultural practices and values, with a vision of a pono justice system in Hawai‘i that heals and empowers individuals, ‘ohana, and communities, and a goal to innovate alternatives to incarceration, restore the human spirit, build resilient ‘ohana, and change laws and policies.

Going Home Hawai‘i (GHH) is the name given to efforts on the Big Island to reintegrate justice-involved individuals into the community and the workforce. GHH is  nonprofit organization providing direct reentry and recovery housing services and also serves as the governing body of the Hawai‘i Island Going Home Consortium.

GHH members offer solutions and support for one another as providers, legislators, volunteers and concerned citizens who would like to create safer communities. It is through this collaborative effort that GHH has been and continues to be so successful.

Mission: Going Home Hawai`i assists justice involved men, women and youth with reintegration into community life through employment, education, housing and appropriate services. 

Vision: Embracing our culture as E Ho’okanaka, persons of worth, we as Hawai`i fulfil our promise of equity and inclusion to all who are justice involved, through pathways of health, healing and aloha.

Papa Ola Lōkahi is the Native Hawaiian Health Board established in 1988 to raise the health status of Native Hawaiians to the highest possible level, which is achieved through strategic partnerships, programs and public policy.

The mission of the ACLU of Hawai‘i is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds.