The Case Against Prisons

Statstics 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. Former Public Safety Director Ted Sakai stated that 25% of
the people who entered prison in 1999 did not commit new crimes but
failed urine tests while on probation or parole.

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.