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Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force presents report

MEDIA RELEASE

The nine-member Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force has presented its findings and recommendations to the Hawaii Legislature.

The 28-page report reflects the perspectives and insights of more than 159 people who participated in various community meetings across the state in July and August.

The meetings prompted the Task Force’s 49 findings and 38 recommendations for addressing longstanding concerns about the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians who are in prison in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.

Among the key findings is a lag in efforts to give Native Hawaiian inmates a fighting chance when they get out of prison. Key recommendations included a need for an emphasis on education to reduce the rate of recidivism and to give Native Hawaiian inmates hope for their future.

“It is a tragedy that in their homeland, Native Hawaiians are over represented at every stage of the criminal justice system,” said Michael Broderick, chairman of the Native Hawaiian Task Force and CEO at YMCA Honolulu. With its findings and recommendations, the Task Force has laid the groundwork for real change. But for anything significant to change, all of Hawaii must take responsibility to address this unacceptable and sad reality.”

Kamanaopono Crabbe, vice chairman of the Native Hawaiian Task Force and chief executive officer at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, added: “There is no looking away from this issue. The Task Force’s recommendations provide an opportunity to take meaningful action. We no longer have an excuse not to try.”

In 2010, OHA released the study “The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System.” In 2011, OHA advocated for the passage of Act 170, creating a Task Force to: Formulate policies and procedures to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii’s criminal justice system by looking for new strategies to reduce or avoid unnecessary involvement of these individuals with the criminal justice system.

Section 2(b) of Act 170 continues: The Task Force shall recommend cost-effective mechanisms, legislation and policies to reduce or prevent individuals’ unnecessary involvement with the criminal justice system. The recommendations shall include estimates of cultural and fiscal impact.

Task Force members:

* Judge Michael Broderick (retired), Task Force Chair, CEO of YMCA Honolulu

* Dr. Kamanaopono Crabbe, Ph.D Ka Pouhana, CEO OHA
Honorable Richard K. Perkins, First Circuit Court Judge

* Paul Perrone, Chief of Research & Statistics, Department of Attorney General

* Jack Tonaki, Public Defender, State of Hawaii

* Tricia Nakamatsu, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, City & County of Honolulu

* Cheryl Marlow, Adult Client Services Branch, Administrator

* RaeDeen Karasuda, Ph.D, Criminologist member selected by the governor

* Martha Torney, MA, Deputy Director for Administration, Department of Public Safety

The full report:

Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force Report 2012

— Find out more:
www.oha.org/mediapublications/…

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