2020 Annual Report

Hawaii Friends Board Zoom


HFRJ Board of Directors meeting December 2020. top row from left: Jeannie Lum, HFRJ school programs coordinator, Lorenn Waker, HFRJ  director, Rodger Epstein, Vice President, second row from left Rich Turbin President, Ian Crabbe, Leela Bilmes Goldstein, bottom row from left Cheri Tarutani, Thomas Haia & Daphne Ho‘okano (missing Madonna Perez, Secretary & Lisa Jensen, Treasurer)

Aloha Friends,

        2020 was tough but we managed to connect with over 960 people through our programs and efforts. We  had to discontinue in-person meetings for a mediation & facilitation training program for imprisoned women, but we were able to help some of the students complete the course by correspondence. Our family law clinic also continued to serve imprisoned women thanks to Dawn Slaten’s leadership. School projects were largely suspended during the pandemic but Jeannie Lu, who manages the school projects, did what she could to stay in touch with the administrators and school staff to provide services as much as possible. HFRJ developed and provided an Innovative Speaker Series featuring engaging online talks with the creative: Ellen Langer, mindfulness expert from Harvard; Shadd Maruna, desistance criminology at Queens College in Belfast; Howard Zehr, known as the “grandfather of modern restorative justice” in Virginia, and John Braithwaite in Canberra, Australia who introduced Howard and kindly stayed on the talk and shared his expertise too. We also provided our 12th annual Parole Completion Celebration online this year. We provided presentations and talks for schools and organizations in India, Canada, Fresno, Colorado and Washington DC. One paper was published, one accepted from publication for 2021, one went to peer review and another is almost ready to send out for peer review. We are hoping 2021 brings more opportunities to learn and assist others. Mahalo for your support!

Love & aloha, Lorenn       

2020 Achievements & Goals Met

1. Developed and provided restorative justice (RJ) & solution focused monthly sessions and reentry circles for Kapilipono federal court pilot program – went online in March

2. Provided family law clinic for women imprisoned at Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC)

3. Assist public schools adopt peacemaking practices, “whole RJ school” and solution-focused approaches

4. Developed and provided four inspiring speakers for online Innovative Speakers Series

5. Higher & remedial education program pilot developed for imprisoned women in collaboration with WCCC education program, Windward Community College, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, College of Arts & Sciences, and McKinley Community School for Adults

6. 12th Parole Completion Celebration provided online with Hawai‘i state Parole Office that Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald opened

7. Additional public education programsprovided a number of talks, workshops, and individual support for the public to learn about our work and research

8. WCCC book study group provided

9. Academic papers published, submitted one, and working on more

Details on achievements & goals met

1. Provided restorative & solution focused monthly sessions for federal court pilot program: We  are contracted to provide services federal court defendants in the Kapilipono pilot program including provided cognitive behavioral treatment with solution-focused and restorative approaches. We designed the curriculum and started providing the sessions in 2019. For this period, we provided 6 people with circles (one defendant’s spouse was also provided with a circle) and in total 35 people attended the circles.

2. Family law clinic for women imprisoned at Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC): Since 2011 we have continued providing the family law clinic that we developed for women incarcerated at the state women’s prison (WCCC). The program provides legal services for the women to meet their family law needs including divorces, guardianships, powers of attorney, adoptions, etc. Dawn Slaten, an experienced family court lawyer and restorative justice facilitator has supervised the law clinic since its inception. Each clinic session is for an average four hours and between 12 and 23 sessions are provided at WCCC annually. The Hawai‘i State Bar Foundation (HSBF) has generously supported the law clinics for the last several years. The grant period for 2020 provided legal services for 120 women that was funded with $4000 and the remaining costs of $7,007 was provided by pro bono and in-kind donations from HFRJ.

3. Elementary & secondary public schools peacemaking skill development using restorative justice and solution-focused approaches. Jeannie Lum, PhD, coordinates HFRJ school projects, which 131 people including students, teachers, administrators and others participated in at workshops, presentations and engagements. The three main school receiving services were:

• Kalihi Elementary School was chosen by the AFL-CIO Labor of Love community service program to receive over $130,000.00 in services, classroom supplies and equipment on January 25th, 2020. HFRJ joined over 500 volunteers from various labor unions, businesses, Farrington High School students and faculty and KES faculty to beautify the campus. HFRJ donated materials and oversaw the installation of gutter downspouts, underground pipes and plants for the RJ Peacegarden (RJP) Please see videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJDXXsUYMBg  and https://www.facebook.com/1725116047533256/videos/207105283717705)  HFRJ afterschool Restorative Justice Club met two times prior to the pandemic.

• Farrington high school (FHS) students, faculty and staff participated in a specially designed workshop for the school. HFRJ also made plans to integrate RJP activities with several FHS faculty and started classroom circles with the Freshman ELL class (primarily immigrants) to introduce solution-focused approaches to life and school problems, peacemaking community building exercises that instill respect for self and others, compassion, reflective thinking, socio-emotional learning, listening skills and a sense of personal integrity.

• Queen Ka’ahumanu School was assisted by HFRJ in gaining a state DOE Innovation grant for 2020 to develop plans and a curriculum aimed to create a RJP whole school. Implementation of the design planned to begin summer 2021 will bring students and faculty together to create a makeover of the marquee entrance area of the school that is welcoming and highlights the RJP projects at the school.

4. Innovative Speakers Series: In response to the isolation, concern and fear that the pandemic created, we developed and provided an online Innovative Speakers Series to feature creative and optimistic people working to improve things. We also used the project as a fundraiser for our higher & remedial education program for imprisoned women in Hawai‘i. In June Ellen Langer, PhD, the first women tenured at Harvard in the psychology department known as the “mother of mindfulness” was our original speaker who talked about her inspiring work; a few months later, Shadd Maruna, PhD, with Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland shared his renowned work in criminal desistance; and in December we featured Howard Zehr, PhD, known as the “grandfather of restorative justice” who shared his work—Zehr  was introduced by John Braithwaite, PhD, (the most referenced RJ scholar to date) who also discussed RJ—it was wonderful hearing these two special RJ experts speaking together. A total of 131 people attended the three speakers’ presentations provided in 2020. Maruna’s talk and Zehr’s with Braithwaite were recorded (Phil Zimbardo’s and Sister Helen Prejean’s talks were also recorded in 2021).

5. Higher & remedial education program for imprisoned women: this HFRJ pilot program is to develop and provide a cooperative peer educator learning program that can help bring systemic changes to societal inequities for those affected by the criminal justice system—a goal to is to reduce domestic violence. The program was developed in collaboration with WCCC education program, Windward Community College, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, College of Arts & Sciences, and McKinley Community School for Adults. The pilot has four parts: 1: provide training for selected incarcerated women who apply to be trained as GED tutors for others with less education. With the prison’s permission the tutors will be paid $3 an hour (which is significant pay for an incarcerated person). The tutors are anticipated to work about 6 hours a week. The tutors must complete a 20 hour training program to provide their GED tutoring services. The curriculum will be approved by our collaborators before it is offered and women who complete it will received a certificate of completion from McKinley Community School for Adults; 2: the program will work to keep Windward Community College at WCCC providing courses each semester for the women; 3: the pilot will provide funding for correspondence courses for the women who exhaust the WCC courses; 4: the pilot will provide reentry planning circles and transition support for women who want to continue their education after release from prison. Please contact [email protected] for more information about this program.

6. 12th Parole Completion Celebration provided online with Hawai‘i state Parole Office that Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald opened. This event was attended by 56 people that was significantly less than when its provided in-person at the beautiful Ali‘iolani Hale (Hawai‘i supreme court building), but the event continued to be an inspiring and participants shared how much they appreciated it. By 2022, HFRJ hopes to hold the event in person again. Those honored at the 2020 event for their work that positively benefitted people who have been on parole, or involved in the justice system, were:

Rashel Kahalioumi-Taketa received the Restorative Justice Community Reentry Award

Dr. Amy Agbayani received the Jackie Young Restorative & Social Justice Award

United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i, Magistrate Judge Rom Trader received theFederal Judicial Restorative and Innovative Award

Maryann Bray, Kim Clarke, Kepola Dudoit, Jennifer Hughes, and Lois Kim collectively received the Patti Lyons Social & Restorative Justice Award

NAN, Inc., received the Restorative Employer Award

Michael Knott, received the Russ Takaki Restorative Parole Officer Award

7. Additional public education/trainings, presentations, and communication about our work– we provided a number of trainings, workshops, talks, and individual support for the public to learn about our work and research. HFRJ director provided a talk with therapeutic jurisprudence Florida judge Ginger Wren for a law school in India that 60 students attended; a presentation was provided for a criminology class at California State University in Fresno that 36 students attended; a six-week 2 hour per session (total 12 hour) workshop on providing circles online, was provided with & Molly Rowan Leach in Colorado – we prepared a resource for applying a solution-focused approach to peacemaking circles for 150 workshop participants; we provided a non-profit in Hilo with a presentation on the harm of creating programs for so-called “at risk youth” that group and segregate these juveniles. Research shows (as most parents understand) peer influence and deviancy training is a major concern for programs that segregate troubled youth—instead of placing these youth together into programs, we provided alternatives that can be used to assist individual youth who suffer from hardship—54 people attended this workshop; a professional development workshop for educators on how to use cooperative education and the dangers of segregating youth with risky behavior into programs together, was provided for the state of Hawai’i Department of Education with University of Oregon research scientist Mark Van Ryzin that 52 people attended; we provided a talk on our work for a restorative justice conference in Canada that 77 people attended; finally HFRJ’s director is consistently contacted and responds to students and other practitioners throughout the world for assistance about restorative justice, solution-focused approaches, research and designing programs—she responded to at least 25 students and others who requested help and information during the year, and we worked intensively with two very competent college interns that we hosted in the spring and fall of 2020.

8. WCCC book study group: We provided and facilitated a 12 week (90 minutes each session) study group for 8 women imprisoned beginning November 18, 2020 that ended February 11, 2021. The group studied two books: Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, and When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron. HFRJ also provided Taking The Leap, also by Pema Chodron, but did not facilitate discussion on that book. The women found the books helped them address their hardships, and the inequities that they have faced in ways that helped to increase their personal agency and self-efficacy. The program was funded by LUSH cosmetics and the Pema Chodron Foundation, which donated books that she authored.

9. Written dialogue exchange between incarcerated women & college students studying restorative: in lieu of meeting college students in person at the prison during the pandemic, HFRJ designed and facilitated a correspondence exchange between 4 women in WCCC and 17 BYU college students taking a restorative justice class. We prepared written material for the groups that included questions that they each commented on, which were exchanged for several rounds. Normally, the students come to the prison and meet in person with the women for an open exchange of experiences, but that was impossible in 2020. Instead, the written exchange was facilitated. This was an example of how difficulties lead to increased strengths. The written exchange was very robust and added a lot to the usual in person meeting. The written exchange is expected to be included for future meetings between the two groups. It was very successful for both the women in person and the students, who all indicated that they learned from their different perspectives. Both groups were inspired by each other, and we too learned how much better the exchange with written dialogue before meeting can improve this program.

10. Introduction to Solution-Focused Conflict Management & Restorative Facilitation Training: this program began the first week of March and met only three times before all in-person meetings were canceled because of Covid. Instead we prepared handouts for the women to complete different homework assignments by correcspondence. While 17 women began the course, four completed it by correspondence (the 4 completed the enchange with the BYU students described above) and were given certificates of completion.

11. Academic paper publications: one paper coauthored with Judge Leslie Kobayashi on the Kapilipono program was published in 2020 and another paper was requested and accepted for publication as a chapter for a German book to be published in 2021. It was co-authored with our intern Anouck De Reu from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (UK) in Belgium, which has a strong restorative justice program, and where we’ve presented on our work several times over the years. In 2020 we worked on two other papers: 1) co-authored with Dr. James Richardson, from Shidler School of Business, University of Hawai‘i. This paper is a cost & benefits analysis of the reentry planning circles; 2) this is co-authored with Malina Kaulukukui, a haku ho‘oponopono and social work professor, on the similarities and differences between ho‘oponopono and modern restorative justice.

Overall Impact on the Community

HFRJ’s work helps increase optimism and self-efficacy especially for people in marginalized groups. Hawai‘i’s state Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald is familiar with HFRJ’s work. He has consistently attended the annual Parole Completion Ceremony and other community talking circles addressing justice issues. In October 2020, Justice Recktenwald said that HFRJ’s work benefits many in the community and is helping to improve our justice system. In 2019 he shared similar sentiments stating:

Many of the ideas the organization [HRFJ] has stood for all these years are now becoming some of the central things that we’re doing as a judiciary, that we’re seeing as initiatives in our community. Whether we are prosecutors, or defense lawyers, liberals, or conservatives, we can all get around the notion that we have got to do better in our criminal justice system. We have to do better and there are ways to do so. Let’s learn and make it a system we can be proud of that offers people hope and not just desperation and failure.”

HFRJ Goals for 2021

  1. Work with public schools: continue projects at all three schools mentioned above that were interrupted due to the COVID pandemic, the closing and unpredictable adjustments to online learning that faculty and students had to make. We aim to integrate a whole school approach that instills restorative justice philosophy, solution-focused and peacemaking practices through the creation of RJPeacegardens

  • Higher & remedial education program for women in WCCC—get pilot funded for year one and train at least four tutors who will help at least 8 incarcerated women at WCCC studying for the GED; help WCC stay at WCCC providing college courses; provide one or two correspondence courses for women who have exhausted WCC courses; and give a reentry planning circle to any woman in the pilot who is leaving prison and wants to transition into college after her release

  • Reentry planning circles & family law clinic provide at least 10 circles to individuals and their families incarcerated in state prisons and continue the law clinic at the women’s prison assisting at least 100 incarcerated women with legal assistance services

  • Publish more papers on our work: 1) the coauthored paper with Dr. Richardson—in 2020 it was sent to a criminology journal that received feedback, but it was rejected by three peer reviewers. Two reviewers misunderstood the technical simulation model we developed, and one reviewer disputed the validity of an “independent evaluation” by Dr. Janet Davidson, Chaminade University of Honolulu, which showed a reduction in recidivism for those who had circles compared to a control group who applied but did not receive a circle because they usually left prison before one could be provided (due to our lack of resources). This reviewer’s misunderstanding was caused because in the paper we had co-authored with Dr. Janet Davidson on the recidivism results did not state her research was conducted independently. We are grateful to this reviewer’s misunderstanding, and will address the independence of Dr. Davidson’s research in our paper revisions; 2) we are currently starting a new paper on how restorative justice principles can apply to education—we are using our higher and remedial education program as an example and a using a case study of a woman from the state prison who can help create systemic changes leading to more justice and equality; 3) co-authored with Malina Kaulukukui, about the similarities and differences between ho‘oponopono and modern restorative justice, is expected for publication in 2021 after peer review; 4) get paper published on the controversy with the increasingly popular Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) assessment being promoted by the CDC and others to measure an individual’s likelihood of suffering poor health as a result of the number of potentially traumatic events that they suffered in childhood. The assessment instrument is based on correlation or association research that has been interpreted as measuring causal connections that lack validity, e.g., Diet Coke causes obesity because obese people mostly drink Diet Coke. In applying the ACE assessment’s ten childhood adversities, individuals with more adversities were found more likely to suffer poor health outcomes compared to others with fewer adversities. Subsequently, individuals with high scores have been labeled as damaged by trauma. However, not all individuals suffer “trauma” as a result of adversity. Many individuals are strengthened and become more resilient to hardship and adversity by these experiences. Not everyone is traumatized, and if they were initially traumatized, they may recover and do not suffer poor health outcomes. But the ACE assessment is being marketed without regard to whether an individual was truly traumatized and ignores individuals’ resiliency. The populations that HFRJ serves have experienced extremely high levels of adversities that can be very traumatizing. Instead of treating our clients like they are harmed from trauma we instead offer opportunities for healing that focus on each individual’s strengths and their unique goals for the future. We used a solution-focused approach that increases resilience and helps people overcome trauma. We hope to publish a paper on the ACE controversy in 2021; 5) contribute an article to a book on women in criminology requested by the editor; 6) publish a paper detailing how to provide the mindful listening exercise we developed and give training participants.

  • Collaborate & assist others with research and learning about restorative justice and solution focused approaches including studentswe will host at least two interns in 2021.

  • 13th Parole Completion Celebration we will provide this with our many community collaborators who help with the event including the judiciary and the Hawai‘i state Parole Office that nominates several awardees honored at the event.

  • Provide at least three Innovative Speakers online (as of May 2021 two have already been provided: Dr. Phil Zimbardo who discussed the Stanford Prison Experiment and Sister Helen Prejean who talked about her work to eliminate the death penalty and her books including Deadman Walking).

  • Provide reentry planning circles to people in Hawai‘i state prisons—this needs to be funded. It is not possible to provided the circle pro bono. An average of at least 10 hours preparation time is needed to provide a circle then the circle itself takes 3 hours on average and then another 2 hours at least are need to prepare and deliver the detailed written plan. On occasion we do provide a circle pro bono but our community volunteers need an extensive training and a stipend to make the program sustainable for to provide.

  • Create a financial sustainability plan –find ways to help make HFRJ financially sustainable including exploring how HFRJ as a Hawai’i legal service provider, might be eligible for any amount of financial assistance from the state’s ILAF funds.

  1. Make a new short video about our work and use as a public service announcement to post on our website.

2020 expenditures and income

Overall income $60,981.81 with $30,078.79 expenses including almost $700 for books for incarcerated women. Our insurance and overhead was $7,342.33. We received contact income from the federal government for $26,750. And two grants totally $26,811. The income is higher than expenses for 2020 because of the pandemic which prevented us from providing the services the grants were given for a school leadership academy and the higher and remedial education program. We have requested to delay the start of the two grants received in 2020—one for the schools we hope to start in the fall 2021 and one for mediation training for incarcerated women to the higher & remedial education pilot for incarcerated women.

Respectfully submitted:

Lorenn Walker

Volunteer Executive Director

Hawai’i Friends of Restorative Justice                                 Date:  May 31, 2021