Restorative Justice Circle Apr. 13, 2016


On April 13, 2016 a gathering of those interested in restorative justice was held at the Hawaii Supreme Court. Here is the summary followed by more photos below.


Restorative Justice (R J) values being accountable and taking responsibility, being respectful, and repairing harm and relationships as possible. R J asks:

Who is responsible? Who was affected? How were they affected? What can be done to repair the harm?

On April 13, 2-16 Hawai‘i Friends of Restorative Justice convened a ninety-minute circle event to consider how restorative justice might be used in Hawai‘i.

The circle was held at Ali‘iolani Hale, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, with 35 people including Angela Davis, iconic scholar and justice advocate, and Mark E. Recktenwald,

Chief Justice state of Hawai‘i. Participants included former justice system consumers including parolees, people who work in the justice system, students, academics, and community activists whose names are attached.

In one large circle, the 35 participants shared what they found hopeful about justice in Hawai’i.

While expressing a variety of hopes, the following challenges to justice were expressed:

  • New prison construction costing $1.5 – $2 billion sought by the state without plans to reduce the approximately 6000 incarcerated
  • New privatized prison – no oversight, no referendum, no transparency – lots of lawyer lobbyists work for Corrections Corporation of America in Hawai‘i
  • Saguaro Prison case – Hawai‘i prisoners on mainland impedes rehabilitation & harms families and communities
  • Prison can further criminalize non-violent incarcerated people

After the large circle, small circles of 5 – 7 people, which most of the participants engaged, discussed: What could you do to further your hope for justice in Hawai‘i, and how RJ might used?

The small circles consistently found the following solutions:

ORGANIZE: Intentional regular meetings of interested parties that plan, organize, asset map, and carry out agreed upon strategies to move the justice system from one that is punitive in nature, to restorative. Examples of restorative approaches: innovative, therapeutic courts, indigenous approaches, alternative sentencing, mental health and substance abuse treatment

TRAIN: all players in the system (teachers of criminal justice, judges, police, medical professionals, lawyers, clerks, bailiffs, parole officers), on RJ language, on historical trauma, other RJ principles. Engage youth in civics and peace education, promote prevention strategies.

COMMUNICATE: build more community communication mechanisms, circles, build personal connections, tell your RJ story, post on social and other media, share

LEGISLATURE: educate legislators, invite them into circles, make case for lower costs associated with RJ strategies One participant summarized the value of RJ: “restorative justice circles promote connection – circles create sacred spaces – circles help people heal.

Hawai‘i Friends of Restorative Justice plans to convene another circle event before the end of the year, possibly in October 2016.


Participants at 4.13.16 community circle on restorative justice in Hawai‘i:

  1. Angela Davis, professor
  2. Mark Recktenwald, Hawai’i chief justice
  3. Leslie Kobayashi, federal district court judge
  4. Bert Matsuoka, Hawai‘i parole board chair
  5. Ken Lawson, Hawai‘i innocence project director
  6. Jackie Young, Former legislator & cancer assn. director
  7. Momi Cazimero, graphic artist
  8. Amy Agbiami, PhD, Univeristy of Hawai‘i diversity director
  9. Rich Turbin, Esq. & Hawai’i Friends president
  10. Roger Epstein, Esq. & Hawai‘i Friends vice president
  11. Faye Kennedy Daly, sister Florynce Kennedy who defended Dr. Davis 1970s)
  12. Nancy Alec, Hawai’i People’s Fund foundation director
  13. Sharon Hicks, Author, administrator of numerous non-profits & Hicks Homes
  14. Merton Chenin, Hawai‘i office youth services director
  15. De mont Connor, paralegal & community activist
  16. Momi Connor, community activist Leeward Coast
  17. Sandra Simms, retired state court judge
  18. Tim Ho, Hawai‘ chief deputy public defender
  19. William (Bill) Harrison, Esq.
  20. Patty Lyons, founder Consuelo foundation
  21. Sonny Ganaden, Esq. & journalist
  22. Rai St. Chu, Esq.
  23. Henry Curtis, Life of the Land director
  24. Ian Crabbe, electrician
  25. Matt Taufeete, pastor & half way house director
  26. Allison Jacobs, Hawai‘i legislative minority researcher
  27. Toni Bissen, Esq., Pu’a foundation, founder & director
  28. Patricia Boone*, 3L Northwestern University extern Judge Steven Alm
  29. LA Giles*, MSW student & Hawai‘i Friends intern 2015 – 2016
  30. Cheri Tarutani*, Hawai’i Friends board member & professor
  31. Kat Brady*, Community Alliance on Prisons,
  32. Melody Kubo*, state judiciary
  33. Erin Ka‘ahea Gross, MSW student and 2014-2015 Hawai’i Friends intern
  34. Dawn Slaten*, Esq. & Hawai’i Friends facilitator
  35. Lorenn Walker, Hawai‘i Friends director

Mahalo Robyn Pfhal, Esq. & photographer and Lisa Jensen, conflict management consultant for help with photos and organizing.

* Mahalo for facilitating small circles


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