2023 Annual Report

Aloha Friends, 

We are excited to present our 2023 annual report, highlighting the remarkable achievements of HFRJ over the past year. Noteworthy milestones include the very successful Justice Innovations Summit; impressive outcomes and big changes from our ongoing Higher & Continuing Education Program at WCCC; the 15th Annual Parole Completion Celebration; and our continuing, impactful Huikahi Restorative Reentry Circles, among others. To delve into these exciting accomplishments and more, please read on.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your steadfast support, which inspires us and makes this work possible.


Leela & Lorenn


  1. Women’s prison (WCCC) Higher & Continuing Education Pilot Project
  2. Huikahi Reentry Circle program for state prisons
  3. 2024 Justice Innovation Summit on Restorative Justice, Transformative Justice, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Victimology & Indigenous Peacemaking Practices
  4. Women’s Prison Family Law Clinic
  5. Kalihi Leadershi Academy (KLA) Elementary & Secondary 
  6. Workshops, trainings and community support provided
  7. Scholarships and support for Incarcerated and formerly Incarcerated Women
  8. 15th annual Parole Completion Celebration for 2023 postponed February 15 , 2024
  9. Publications—one academic paper, two oped & worked on others
  10. Financial Reports


  1. Hawai‘i’s Women Community Correctional Center (WCCC) higher & continuing education project:

Windward Community College (WCC) will be taking over this prison educational program that HFRJ founded in 2019. HFRJ obtained a grant to provide the program in collaboration with other community partners, including the women’s prison. In 2023 HFRJ was issued a contract to provide the program, ending July 31, 2024, with funds appropriated by the legislature. Originally the state department of education (DOE) administered them but subsequently management was transferred to the University of Hawai‘i (RCUH). HFRJ, the Women’s Prison Project, and other community-based groups, also worked for and lobbied successfully for $450K in additional funding for WCCC for prison education. This effort was based on HFRJ’s success in developing and providing the education pilot project. The funds were supposed to be for WCCC—this is necessary because women lack support resources in Hawai‘i state prisons as compared to incarcerated men. The 2023 prison department leadership, however, decided to divert the funds and use them for incarcerated men and women, not just the women incarcerated at WCCC, which was what the community groups envisioned and worked for. 

The pilot education program has been a tremendous success for imprisoned women, with the following noteworthy achievements:

  • About 25 were trained as GED tutors;
  • Over 100 enrolled to study for the GED; 
  • 23 passed the GED while the program was managed by HFRJ using a student- centered cooperative learning methodology;
  • Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women have been supported to take college classes;
  • Windward Community College has been funded to continue providing classes and educational services for the women at WCCC; 
  • Over 20 incarcerated women have taken college classes from Adams State University, a public school in Colorado, with a comprehensive degree track correspondence course program for incarcerated people; 
  • Two women in the WCCC program succeed in a paralegal program from Adams. (One completed it, was certified and worked for a law firm as a paralegal after her release. The other woman has another course to complete before she is certified); and
  • A fifth cohort of peer tutors at WCCC, which is part of the pilot project, have been trained.

Diana Bethel, PhD, is our coordinator based at WCCC. She oversees a group of volunteers and paid facilitators who help support the peer tutors. Her assistance has been instrumental in providing the program. Unfortunately, when new prison education management and the shift back to the former corrections department leadership occurred, a teacher-centered approach has been applied to the tutor program. Since that change, only a handful of women have passed the GED, as compared to 23 women passing in the same amount of time under HFRJ’s management. 

2. Huikahi Reentry Circle program for State Prisons

The Huikahi Reentry Planning Circle process was first conceived in 2004. Since then, HFRJ has provided over 200 circles, mostly for incarcerated adults, in which over 800 individuals have participated. The process and its outcomes have been extensively evaluated, and results are overwhelmingly successful. An independent evaluation of the process shows the circles are promising for reducing repeat crime and that they are healing for the children and other loved ones of incarcerated people.

In December 2023, Civil Beat published an article about the problems with the current State Corrections Department’s support—or lack thereof—for this effective evidence-based program, which has been replicated all over the country and world. The article, The Money is There, But This Restorative Justice Can’t Get It, describes how the 2022 State Legislature appropriated $200,000 to implement the program, but it was not used by the Department. The State Corrections Department has instead used the funds from the 2022 bill to fund a culturally-based program, to be provided by the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu. 

While HFRJ wholly supports Hawaiian practices in prisons, schools, courts., etc., it is astonishing that the Department used the funds for something outside the clear intent of the bill that the legislature passed. Further shocking is that this was the second time the legislature passed a bill appropriating funds (see page 26) for the reentry circle process that was not followed by the State Corrections Department. 

It is discouraging that our State Corrections leadership does not follow the law when it is entrusted to supervise others who violate it. Unsurprisingly, citizens feel distrustful of the government. HFRJ board members and the director met with the Governor about the failure of the current leadership in providing the circles, and HFRJ applied for another state grant outside the Corrections Department. Our goal for the program is for the prison reentry service provider WorkNet, Inc. to provide and manage the circles after we scale up the program and train them in 2024. 

The WCCC administration changed in 2023 and the circles were provided about once a month on a case-by-case basis. Eleven (11) circles were provided for WCCC. Forty-nine (49) people participated in the circles, not including facilitators and recorders. HFRJ is confident that WorkNet, Inc. will provide the circle program successfully in the future and will assist as it takes over the management of the program, hopefully later in 2024.

  1. Justice Innovation Summit on Restorative Justice, Transformative Justice, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Victimology & Indigenous Peacemaking Practices

HFRJ organized a major international summit hosted at UH Mānoa February 16-19, 2024. HFRJ invited and brought Indigenous people from different continents, including Africa, Nepal, Australia, Aotearoa, and Europe, along with Western justice innovation providers, to the summit. HFRJ worked to find the necessary funding to pay for airfare and housing at UH for the invited guests. We organized people who came to the summit to share their expertise three months before the event was scheduled. Individuals in 22 different groups were encouraged to meet and share their experiences and knowledge beforehand. We opted to refer to presenters using the Hawaiian phrase nā hōkū  —guides or navigators. Each group was formed based on individuals’ interest in a variety of topics, including Indigenous peacemaking practices, gender violence, environmental protection, school programs, reentry processes, metaphors, emotions and language in restorative justice, and other topics. 

  1. Women’s Prison Family Law Clinic

The program is provided largely pro bono and has been funded by the Hawai‘i State Bar Foundation (HSBF). The application to HSBF for 2022 funding was misplaced by the Hawai‘i State Bar Association management. (Sadly, the HSBA manager suffered terminal health problems and died in 2023.) HFRJ resubmitted a request for both 2022 and 2023. Eventually, in 2023, funding was received which assisted in providing over 100 consultations once or twice a month at the prison. It included filing court document and preparing custody agreements. 

  1. Kalihi Leadershi Academy (KLA) Elementary & Secondary 

In the fall of 2023, KLA began its fourth semester of operation. KLA provides opportunities for local youth, primarily from community housing, to engage in edifying, positive youth development activities. Youth practice public speaking, social emotional, conflict resolution skill-building, and gain self-awareness. Increasing resilience by improving cognitive, emotional and behavioral skills, along with creating positive relationships with the youth and community members, are basic to the program. KLA brings vetted adult mentors and university interns together with the youth in a repurposed church in Kalihi that HFRJ had previously contributed to renovating. Since juvenile vaping is an epidemic, KLA obtained funding to work with the Stanford Anti Vaping curriculum. Lessons were taught at Kalihi Waena School, PACT, Dole after school program, and Ke’elikōlani Middle School. An Anti-Vaping Ambassador effort was launched, using a peer education approach. KLA youth are trained to interact with their peers to share information about the deleterious effects of vaping on the human body. According to program director and founder Lisa Jensen: “The students have expressed they are happy to have a safe place to go on Wednesday.”

  1. Scholarships for Incarcerated and formerly Incarcerated Women 

HFRJ raised and distributed $5500 in college scholarships to six women who were formerly incarcerated. 

  1. Workshops, trainings, and other community & international support included:

• Spring semester: assisted Waipahu High School students who contacted us about assistance in designing and providing a violence prevention program for their neighboring elementary schools. HFRJ provided funding for the high school students to purchase and read picture books to the younger students on conflict management. HFRJ developed a program that it successfully piloted at several secondary schools on O‘ahu. The project uses a cooperative learning methodology with secondary school students teaching younger ones. Older peers who embrace and demonstrate values of literacy, conflict management and service are a powerful influence on younger students. It is also reaffirming and grounding for the secondary students to teach and show the younger students their values. The Waipahu High School students adapted the program to fit their needs. They also read to the younger students and facilitated discussion about violence and conflict. After the Waipahu students read the variety of picture books to the younger students, they gifted the books to the elementary classrooms. The schools reported the program was a great success.

• February – April: hosted amazing student Megan Kouwenhoven from KU Leuven University for three months. She was HFRJ’s third intern from KU. Megan assisted HFRJ with numerous projects including editing the videotaped interview of Trinidad’s Prison Commissioner Deoersad Ramoutar and offered invaluable assistance in creating the website and other aspects of organizing the Honolulu Justice Innovations Summit Feb 16-19. She continued to assist even after she returned to Europe and attended graduate school.

• June 1, Reykjavík, Iceland: Lorenn Walker attended a presentation by the Head of Prison Management, Erla Kristín Árnadóttir, on the “Systemic approach to re-socialization of convicted persons” in Iceland and shared HFRJ’s huikahi reentry planning circle work.

• June 16, Hawai’i: Organized and funded a graduation for women who earned GEDs and tutor certification in HFRJ’s pilot higher and continuing education program at the women’s prison with invited guests, including Lt. Governor Silvia Luke, former Governor Linda Lingle and former chair of the Hawai’i State Board of Education Catherine Payne.

• June 28: Online workshop provided on “The Value of Courts and How They Can Promote Restorative Justice” for the Brazilian federal office for 167 participants.

• September 25: Como, Italy. Lorenn Walker gave a lecture on restorative justice for law faculty and students at the University of Insubria.

• Applied for and obtained help for women who were formerly incarcerated (one woman was provided a full set of dentures which made a tremendous difference in her life)—the grant is for people who suffered abuse in their youth and is provided by the Violet & Vivian Fund, administered by the Consuelo Foundation.

Donated $1000 to assist Maui fire victims

  1. 15th annual Parole Completion Celebration for 2023 postponed from October 2023 to February 15, 2024

This annual event was postponed to coincide with the Justice Innovations Summit, to share the event with Dr. Shadd Maruna, who helped develop the program, and guests attending the summit.

  1. Publications — one academic paper, one op-ed & working on other papers

•  February 28. Op-ed Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Goldstein & Walker, about the problem with government providing restorative justice that argues government should fund RJ but the programs should be provided by community-based organizations 

• March. The ACE Controversy, Walker, In Trauma Informed Law: A Primer for Practicing Lawyers, H. Maki, J.K. Wright, et al, Eds., American Bar Association


Provided resources and support for Waipahu High School students and incarcerated women; continued Huikahi Reentry Circles that assisted loved ones of incarcerated people and helped the incarcerated create individualized reentry plans without the corrections department support; learned and succeeded with the cooperative learning education pilot project at the women’s prison also despite a lack of Corrections Department support; planned and fundraised to provide a major summit on justice innovations at the University of Hawai’i to bring hundreds of justice innovators to Hawai‘i in February 2024.


  1. Justice Innovations Summit—Provide, evaluate and share results of the event
  1. For incarcerated women: Continue family law clinic, obtain funding and help create a wellness center/gym at the women’s prison; establish a running fitness club for imprisoned women; provide scholarships to formerly incarcerated women who successfully completed a semester of college earning 9-12 credits; apply for Violet & Vivian Fund grant for women who were abused in their youth and have unmet needs; support the college education of incarcerated woman with long sentences (five years +) who are working toward degrees while in prison 
  1. Begin, finish, and publish research on Hawai‘i’s school-to-prison pipeline problem with a great team of volunteers
  1. Finalize and submit two papers for the International Encyclopedia on Restorative Justice for publication (one on apology and one on RJ in Hawai‘i) and have at least one paper on the cooperative learning pilot at the women’s prison in press
  1. Upscale the Huikahi reentry circle program, train community facilitators, and train WorkNet, Inc. to provide the program after 2025
  1. Begin arranging for Dr. Shadd Maruna to provide a presentation of desistance in Honolulu in later 2024 or early 2025


2023 total revenue – $323,426

Grant revenue – $253,984

Justice Innovation Summit – $47,306

Donations received – $22,056

Book sales – $80

2023 total expenditures – $231,995 

Respectfully submitted: 

Lorenn Walker 

Volunteer Executive Director, 

Hawai‘i Friends of Restorative Justice