HONOLULU (July 5, 2012) — Residents on neighbor islands will be giving a voice to longstanding concerns about the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians who are in prison in Hawai’i and the U.S. mainland.
The 2012 Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force is holding a series of meetings aimed at identifying and supporting comprehensive solutions to this nagging issue, which has been documented by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in a 2010 report titled: The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System.
The meetings follow a two-day summit in June at the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu, where members of the newly-created task force began using their collective reach and access to engage policymakers and others in addressing the issue.
“The task force is working hard to fully understand why Native Hawaiians are over-represented in the criminal justice system,” said Michael Broderick, chairman of the Native Hawaiian Justice Task force as well as CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu. “The numbers are clear, undisputable, compelling and disturbing. Less clear are the reasons for this tragedy. The task force looks forward to traveling to Kona, Hilo, Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i as well as Kaua’i and continuing our critical learning process.”
The five Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force meetings will be held July 7 at Kailua-Kona; July 14 at Hilo; July 21 at Kahului; Aug. 1 at Kaunakakai; and Aug. 3 in Lihu‘e.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is an independent state agency established through the Hawai‘i State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians, with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawai‘i. OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation. For more information, visit www.oha.org.