Public Safety Policy. Reinstatement at Kulani Correctional Facility

Term Paper, 2012

6 Pages


Public Safety Policy: Reinstatement at Kulani Correctional Facility

Current Issue to the Policy

Kulani Correction Facility1 is a location in Hilo, on the island of Hawai`i. Prison rape has been around throughout human history. It has been in business, as a prison facility for the last 63 years. “By now you’ve heard that Hawai`i’s Department of Public Safety has announced it will close the Kulani Correctional Facility in October [2009] and move its 123 inmates to other correctional facilities.”2 The decision of KCF in closing its doors to the public as a prison facility is simply finances. In more specifically, KCF became expensive to operate. “Department of Public Safety wants to save the state $2.8 million to close the prison.”3 According to the Department of Public Safety, it costs about over a million to operate KCF, which is the reason the Lingle administration closed the prison facility. In October 2009, KCF was finally closed. The A.C.O.s (Adult Correctional Officers) were transferred to other prison facilities. This includes the inmates, who were also transferred to other prison facilities.

Identification & Sponsorship

The creators of the HB No 2848: Public Lands; Kulani Correctional Facility bill are the Department of Public Safety (DPS) organization in representation of Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata, including the Public Safety Chairman State Senator Will Espero. Hawai`i State Senator Gil Kahele & House of Representative member Faye Hanohano with Governor Neil Abercrombie are also the participants as creators of the bill. The Community Alliances on Prisons organization are included as participants as creator of the bill and representation as advocates for this bill to be presented in the State Legislature, so that Kulani Correctional Center (KCF)4 can be reinstated for business as a prison facility.

Executive Director Kat Brady of the Community Alliance on Prisons states, “It was a horrendous error to close that facility. Kulani was probably the most successful facility in the whole correctional system in Hawai`i.”5 Hence, the facility must be re-opening due to its programs. One of the successful programs at KCF is the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP). The House of Representative members: Joey Manahan, Ty Cullen, Angus McKelvey, Ryan Yamane, & Mark Hasham, who were the introducers of this bill to the Hawai`i State Legislature. The main person to be contacted in regards to this bill is House of Representative Faye Hanohano. She can be reached at (808) 586-6530. She can be also reached at her email address at

Overview of the Historical Background

To understand HB 2848, it must begin by discussing the brief history with Kulani Correctional Facility. Kulani Correctional Facility was built in 1946, as a work camp.7 KCF began to focus past programs on assigning inmates agricultural work, specifically cultivating fruits and vegetables. Planting and cutting koa forests were also at one time a large part of the facility's programs.8 In 1988, KCF had established the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP).9 Since 2009, KCF was completely shut down due to expensive high costs under the Lingle administration. Two years later in 2011, the Abercrombie administration is advocating for this bill to become mandate in order for KCF to be “reopen” for business and to once again serve the Big Island community.

Recognition of Background Issues

The intended target population is the overall inmates with Sexual Assault charges. Based on their crimes, sex assault is a serious matter. Inmates with this charge are described in the following: Opportunity Risk (date rape, gang rape), Statutory Rape, Incestry, Child Molestation, and Violating Victim’s Body Parts (touches a victim’s anus & breast), and Prison Rape. As mentioned earlier, KCF was open as a prison facility in 1946 to serve the Big Island public. Later, K.C.F. became a SOTP prison facility, which housed only Hawai`iʻs Sex Offender inmates. The prison facility is located on the Big Island. Since KCF in business, the prison facility had provided jobs, such as Adult Correctional Officers (ACOʻs ) as prison guards, along with other civilian correctional staffs (social workers-case managers, maintenance workers, food staff workers, personal & office assistant workers) in the prison facility. In more specific, KCF was the only prison facility in the Hawai`i State Prisons had a SOTP to treat inmates in this matter.

During its years of operation, KCF was the most successful prison facilities in the Hawai`i State prisons due to its SOTP program that treated for Hawai`iʻs Sex Offender inmates currently incarcerated.10 Today, Kulani is the primary location for the department's Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP).11 Other programs available to inmates are substance abuse treatment, GED, and other educational programs.12 Now, the SOTP prison facility no longer exists, it has forced many of the inmates to be transferred back to Arizona Saguaro Correctional Facility (AZSC).

AZSC is a Medium prison facility that is currently contracted between DPS and the CCA (Corporation Corrections of America). AZSC housed all Hawai`i male inmates. The prison facility is located in Arizona. C.C.A. is the private corrections management industry company for federal, state and local levels.13 CCA specializes in the design, construction, expansion and management of prisons, jails and detention facilities, as well as inmate transportation services.14 When the inmates are not sent to AZSC, they are sent to Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF).

The point is both AZSC & HCF are not SOTP prison facilities. Both prison facilities would now have to accommodate the KCF inmates, who are in need of SOTP program service.

Policy Statement / Principle

“The legislature further finds that the site formerly used as the Kulani correctional facility in east Hawai`i (Big Island) would be an ideal site for such a wellness center. It is a place of deep spirituality for the Hawaiian people and, pragmatically, it has the infrastructure and historical precedent for use in sustainable living. However, there may be other locations that can serve as options in determining a viable and ideal site for such a wellness center.”15 HB 2848 statement explained that Kulani Correctional Facility was once a minimum-security prison facility that housed Hawai`i’s inmates with Sexual Assault charges. In 2009, the Lingle administration16 had closed KCF due to high cost values. Now, the Abercrombie administration17 with the Department of Public Safety and the Big Island communities are advocating, while pushing a bill to get the prison facility back in business.

Research & Analysis of Data

There are no research & analysis data presented. Most of my sources came from the internet regarding the matter. In regards to Internet, they are current local news reports that have already been shown on television.

Recommended Action

- Kulani Correctional Facility must be reinstated as a prison facility to serve Public Safety and the Big Island communities.
- KCF must establish a wellness center that re-establishes highly recognized native Hawaiian cultural practices to restore the overall well-being of individuals, families, and the native Hawaiian community.18
- The Hawaiian Cultural `Āina Based value programs must be incorporated into the wellness center and all programming of KCF
- Sex Offender Treatment Program must also be re-incorporated and reinstated back to KCF
- Both the wellness center and the Hawaiian Cultural `Āina Based value programs must also be established within the SOTP.
- The inmates’ eligible (with sex assault crimes) must be transferred back to this prison facility for the SOTP once KCF is re-open.
- The State of Hawai`i needs more beds in our Hawai`i State Prisons for inmates that can return home from the AZSC to be close with their families.


Reinstatement at Kulani Correctional Facility Public Safety Policy is a complex issue because of how the prison facility was “forced” to shut down to save costs during the Lingle Administration.

The point is KCF was not a typical prison facility. Instead, KCF was a treatment prison facility that operated the Sex Offender Treatment Prison for inmates with sexual assault crime charges. Since 1988, K.C.F. was very successful due to the SOTP services.19 Thus, KCF became the SOTP prison facility in the Hawai`i State Prison system. HB 2848 was created for two reasons:

(1) to reinstate the prison facility & (2) to establish a wellness center and Native Hawaiian cultural practices for Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians as inmates of this prison facility.20 KCF must be reinstated because the inmates with sex assault crimes must seek rehabilitation for their crimes. Moreover, the HB 2848 bill is present because of the damages the Lingle Administration had done to the facility.

The Lingle Administration not only damaged KCF, but the Big Island communities with other social change organizations that were strong supporters of the prison facility. Both sides supported KCF due to the SOTP. Today, DPS with the support of the Big Island communities and other social change with Hawaiian serendipitous organizations are advocating for the bill to be mandate, so that KCF can once again be re-open for business in service to Public Safety and the communities of the Big Island. “Inmates from the state prison system chosen for Kulani would be those within two to four years of release. They would be considered minimum security or community custody inmates, the same category for those currently being held at Hale Nani, the reintegration facility for Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.”21 Governor Neil Abercrombie has been lobbying and advocating for the State to support the re-open of Kulani Correctional Facility for the sole purpose of saving thousands of dollars by ending the mainland transfers of Hawaii inmates being sent to the Arizona Saguaro Correctional Facility. “The reactivation of Kulani will help with the Abercrombie Administration’s goal to bring out-of-state prisoners back to Hawai`i. This goal is consistent with Hawaii’s participation in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative which began over a year ago. The JRI strategy is a “data-driven” plan to reduce spending on corrections, reinvest savings generated in strategies that would reverse crime trends and eventually bring inmates housed in Arizona back to Hawai`i. As warden, Ruth (Forbes) will be instrumental in the re-opening of Kulani which is scheduled for July 1, 2014.”22 In 2009, the Lingle Admission closed KCF due to the expenses of keeping the facility in business. The aftermath of closing KCF became a sub-conscience awakening for both the Big Island communities and the Department of Public Safety. “The prison’s reopening will be the inclusion of a wellness program incorporating traditional Hawaiian healing practices, known as pu`uhonua. [Pu`uhonua is a program] for the inclusion of this ancient cultural practice, passed the state legislature in 2012. This bill will require the Department of Public Safety to design a model wellness center for the pu’uhonua. The bill also calls for a work release program on the Big Island, possibly at Kulani, which allows certain inmates to work on projects to benefit the community and the state.”23 KCF will be back in business serving the public as it will housed 200 inmates in the facility. Moreover, KCF will be a primary prison facility emphasizing on Native Hawaiian wellness programs and not a once S.O.T.P. prison facility.

On July 1 2014, the Kulani Correctional Facility will finally opened for business to the public. As a Social Worker today24 at the Halawa Correctional Facility, we case managers are sending our inmates to KCF for the sole purpose of housing assignments. What this means is KCF has exactly 200 beds for the inmates incarceration. Before KCF opens its doors to the public, the prison facility has to be filled completely. Governor Neil Abercrombie wants to present the opening of Kulani Correctional Facility via press conference in order to show his support and efforts of the reopening of this prison facility throughout the entire state. It has been clear to me via social work profession in which the S.O.T.P. program will no longer exist in this prison facility. The most important thing for me as an employee of the Department of Public Safety is the existence of a program. KCF will offer a Native Hawaiian wellness program. If this is the new program, then I do support it because I do care about programming services in KCF as a way to address the issues of all inmate, whom will be housed in the prison facility. Programming is important in the case management section because we want the inmates to have their needs addressed. Moreover, the idea is to have these inmates to be reintegrated back into society. In the prison system regarding case management, there are the four types of case management: 1) R.A.D. program,25 2) Programmings,26 3) Work Furlough,27 and 4) Parole. As a social worker at HCF, my main concern is programming. In my eyes, programming is the first step to our case management section. KCF is in operation because it offers programs, such as the Native Hawaiian wellness program. That is what we case managers want for our work in general. I support programs in order to address the inmates’ issues. Programs is the key to address the inmates’ or clients’ needs. KCF is the prime example of providing programs to provide services to the client’s needs.

1 Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) was once a minimum security prison, which the facility is located in the island of Hawai`i (Big Island). This facility houses mainly Sex Offenders. KCF is well known as Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) prison facility that offers this program only to Sex Offenders in the State of Hawai`i.

2 Tiffany Edwards Hunt, “The Decision to Close Kulani Prison Reeks,” Big Island Chronicle, July 24, 2009, Access on

3 Ibid, [Internet].

4 Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) was once a minimum security prison, which the facility is located in the island of Hawai`i (Big Island). This facility houses mainly Sex Offenders. KCF is well known as Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) prison facility that offers this program only to Sex Offenders in the State of Hawai`i.

5 Daryl Huff, “State Wants to Reopen Kulani Prison Correctional Facility Was Turned into Youth Academy Last Year” KITV 4 News, February 21, 2011, Access on

6 Hawai`i State Legislature, (2012), Access on

7 Department of Public Safety: Kulani Correctional Facility, (2012), Access on division/prisons/kulani-correctional-facility.

8 Ibid, [Internet].

9 Testimony on Senate Bill 1358 SD2 HD1 Relating to Public Safety, (2012), pg. 6.

10 Senate Special Committee Representation Number 1: Honolulu, Hawaii, 2009: RE: Senate Ad Hoc Committee: Kulani Correctional Facility, (2012), Access on

11 Hawai`i Department of Public Safety 2012 Annual Report, (2012), pg. 26.

12 Ibid, pg. 26.

13 Corrections Corporation of America, (2012), Access on

14 Ibid, [Internet].

15 HB No 2848HD1: Public Lands; Kulani Correctional Facility; House of Representatives Twenty-Fifth Legislature 2012: State of Hawai`i, pg. 2 & 3.

16 Linda Lingle was the Governor of Hawai`i from 2002 - 2010.

17 Neil Abercrombie is the current Governor of Hawai`i from 2010 to present.

18 HB No 2848HD1: Public Lands; Kulani Correctional Facility; House of Representatives Twenty-Fifth Legislature 2012: State of Hawai`i, (2012), pg. 2 & 3.

19 HB 231 Testimony: Kulani Correctional Facility, February 6, 2012, pg. 6.

20 HB No 2848HD1: Public Lands; Kulani Correctional Facility; House of Representatives Twenty-Fifth Legislature 2012: State of Hawai`i, (2012), pg. 2 & 3.

21 Dave Smith, “UPDATE: Officials Say Kulani Prison to Reopen July 2014,” Big Island, April 18, 2013, Access on

22 Hawai`i Reporter, “Warden Named for Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island of Hawai`i,” December 3, 2013, Access on hawaii/123?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HawaiiReporterNews+%28Hawaii+Reporter%29.

23 Maggie Ryan, “Kulani Correctional Facility to Reopen in Hawai`i,” Correctional News, August 28, 2013, Access on

24 I am a Social Worker IV position with a MSW status, who is working as a case manager in Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF).

25 R.A.D. means the Reception Assessment Diagnostic. The RAD is the first step of the case management level. The RAD is important because when an inmate becomes a newly Sentenced Felon, or simply a newly prison inmate, all prison inmates must go through the RAD program in order to be assessed and case managers can devise a treatment plan to address their needs.

26 Programmings are institutional programs, such as Education, Substance Abuse, Cognitive Skills, and Workline. These programs would help the inmates to address their issues. There are different kinds of programs on the basis of their criminal needs, such as Cognitive Based Theory classes, Life Skills, Anger Management, Individual Therapy, S.O.T.P. (Sex Offender Treatment Program), cultural based programs, and many kinds of different programs offered for the inmates.

27 Work Furlough is a program focuses on inmates looking for a job. This program helps inmates to get back into society. By looking for a job, inmates can be able to pay for their restitution and save money in the banks outside because when they get paroled they have money waiting on the outside. Furthermore, the Work Furlough program would also assist the inmates to find a place of residency before parole consideration.

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Public Safety Policy. Reinstatement at Kulani Correctional Facility
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Francis Tuifao (Author), 2012, Public Safety Policy. Reinstatement at Kulani Correctional Facility, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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