About Us: Our focus is on healing the social ills that exist in our communities.

Ohana Ho’opakele (OH) was founded in 1999, by Hawaiian activists together with their kupuna (elders) to stop the building of prisons planned for the island of Hawai`i. Through grassroots organizing, OH evolved into a community-based organization whose purpose is to restore balance in our families and our communities by dismantling systems of imprisonment and implementing solutions rooted in Hawaiian cultural values. Opening a Pu`uhonua Wellness Center , based on the traditional Hawaiian city of refuge, is our long-term goal. Along the way we are organizing for sentencing reforms, the release of imprisoned kūpuna, for pa’ahao access to Hawaiian healing practices (Faith Pods based on kapu aloha), and increased rehabilitation and reentry support for pa’ahao, our ‘ohana and kaiaulu.

2023 promises to be a busy year for ‘Ohana Ho’opakele. We are currently:

  • Supporting the release of one of our imprisoned kupuna (September 2023). After decades of connection across prison walls and advocacy, we have won compassionate release for a kupuna in our ‘ohana! We look forward to welcoming him home in September 2023.

  • Advocating for increased kupuna releases and policy reforms which enable compassionate release and pathways to freedom. We aim to share and collectivize the mana'o learned in winning a Compassionate Release case to support more elderly imprisoned people, their ‘ohana and community in bringing loved ones home.
  • Initiating implementation of Faith Pods based on kapu aloha in Hawaii prisons and jails, to provide imprisoned people the opportunity to re-establish recognized native Hawaiian cultural practices and develop their Hawaiian identity
  • Advancing grassroots planning and implementation for a Pu’uhonua Wellness Center, which will host re-entry housing, Hawaiian cultural practices, meaningful work in invasive species eradication and regenerative land management, ‘ohana engagement in healing, recidivism prevention, and more.
  • Increasing state support and cooperation on Act 117, the legislation we successfully passed into law in 2016 that directs the Department of Public Safety to work with ‘Ohana Ho’opakele to open a Pu’uhonua Wellness Center.

Our purpose is to restore balance in our families and our communities. Our focus is on healing the social ills that exist in our communities. We feel that a primary cause of imbalance and disharmony in our society is an unnecessarily high incarceration rate that breaks up families.

Our solution to this problem is the implementation of a restorative justice process that will more effectively deal with the Rehabilitation of our community members who have made mistakes in their lives. Rehabilitation is a healing process that requires a therapeutic environment focused on wellness, as opposed to the existing correctional process whose focus is punitive.

Our aspiration is to implement a complimentary alternative to the existing judicial process in cases that are better served by a holistic, therapeutic vehicle. We advocate a traditional ho'oponopono process and decentralized pu'uhonua (wellness centers) on each island.

The following is an ancient ritual to be performed in the morning to greet the sun. This may be done individually or as a group.

"Hiiwai"- connect with the ocean, cleanse, ask Akua to cleanse you. Go up to waist level then submerge completely and then come up slowly- facing ocean, outward and without wiping your face or arms. Let it drip off. Pray. Say what is on your mind. Ask for blessings for the new day, for a big project, going to battle, a paiina (a party), or anything of signifigance. -Uncle Sam

Note: In ancient times, and up until the late 20's, this was done in the nude.

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