Category Archives: News

Harm Reduction Conference 2019 Honolulu: workshop on differences between ho‘oponopono & modern RJ

Lorenn & Malina

January 9, 2019
Ala Moana Hotel
Hawai’i Harm Reduction Conference

Malina Kaulakakui a haku ho‘oponopono and a kumu hula, and Lorenn Walker HFRJ director, provided an interactive workshop on the differences between the ancient Hawaiian ho‘oponopono practice and modern restorative justice. The workshop provided experiential listening exercises for participants and was so successful another workshop is planned for June 12, 2019.

Board of Directors 2018

Some of Hawai’i Friends’ board members including left Thom Haia, Cheri Tarutani in front of Thom, Lorenn (director), Erika Hill (intern spring/summer 2018), Rich Turbin, seated from right Lisa Jensen, Ian Crabbe and Daphne Ho’okano in June 2018.

New Prison Release Reentry Guide

Hawai’i Friends, with the help of Root & Rebound, compiled helpful information for those getting out of prison. Our free Hawai’i Reentry Guide is available online now and in PDF.

  • How to get a copy of a Hawai’i Birth Certificate
  • How to get a Certificate of Naturalization
  • How to get a State ID
  • How to get a Phone
  • Employment rights and How to get a Job
  • How to Rent a Place to Live
  • Help with dealing Divorce, Paternity, Child Support and Family Law

Notes From a Panel on the Film Titled Out of State

Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) School of Social Work: Panel Discussion on Film Out of State

(film trailer: (PanelOutofStatesNotes032818.pdf)

March 13, 2018 Panelist Speakers:

Wayne Ka’Ahanui, Student & Formerly Incarcerated

Roshian Lafaele, Assistant Manager, Fernhurst YWCA Women’s Work Furlough Program

Lorenn Walker, Director, Hawaii Friends of Restorative Justice (HFRJ)

Lynette Cruz, Professor, University of Hawai‘i system and Kapuna for HPU

Beau Bassett, Producer of Film & Lawyer

Moderator: Peter J. Mataira, HPU’s MSW Program Director & Assistant Professor

Special Guest: Lady Heeni Phillips-Williams, Barrister & Prison Judge from New Zealand

Observer: Erika Hill, Intern for HFRJ who prepared these notes

Introductions & comments of panelists:

Wayne: 51 years old, formerly incarcerated and currently in college to obtain a degree in social work. Knows people from the film. From the overcrowding, they transition people to the mainland. To touch upon this film, for me it did a wonderful job of showing the two different types of behavior when you get out of prison. Can’t say either is wrong cuz I understand addiction. One was done on work furlough and the other came out with these connections that had burned those bridges. It shows the difference in their success. Work furlough gave connections. I am in the social work program and going to be a therapist. But without the connections, it’s difficult. When you listen to a Kapuna find the deeper meaning, the difference between what they say and what they mean. The interpretation is different. My son was 5 when I went in. It was hard. Mypurpose was to serve the community. They coming out with nothing and now I’m making plans and helping people find others because some need more help than others. All you youngsters are in the right place right now. A lot of these men are trying to transition back into society and there is nothing for them. Some need more than others.

Roshian: Assistant manager for the women’s work furlough program Fernhurst that the Honolulu YWCA operates. It’s through my internship with HPU that I got to where I am. Everything shared in the video is what we work through every day with women. Finally got to see the man’s perspective. Hopefully through the video others can see that there is a lot of work that needs to be done—on the legal side. If you have a drug charge you do not qualify for certain things and if you have a murder charge you do qualify. There is a lot of work that needs to be done with social work. The programs are 6 months and trying to change someone in that amount of time is nearly impossible. It is necessary to help these people gain connections to family to help with addiction, etc. Each situation can be different and if they do not have certain things it can set them up for failure. There need to be programs that help them with different aspects like employment (IDS, etc.), addiction, etc.


Lorenn Walker: Background in education, became Montessori teacher at 18, on my own at 14, in jail at 16, had a baby at 18, got education and help. Almost got murdered at 24 in Waikiki. Was seriously injured and needed surgery, became very depressed, but knew I had a daughter and with a counselor’s help and went to college, went to law school in Boston. Clerked for a criminal judge and became a state deputy attorney general. Represented Hawai‘i in lawsuits, some against prisons. After 10 years returned to school to study public health. 20 years ago learned about Restorative Justice (RJ). People sit in circles talking instead of sitting in front of someone who tells you what to do. Better to engage everyone in dialogue, which I learned from Montessori. The prison in the film is a private for-profit prison. It has an incentive for people to commit crime, not reduce recidivism. The people in prison are our people. Our organization provides RJ transition circles to help people make their own plans for their success. The circles or aspects of them are being used around the world. The circles give power to individuals to decide what’s best for them, the circles bring children healing and reduces recidivism. The State is not interested, but the federal court is. Hawai’i imprisons about 6,000 people when there were only about 25 women imprisoned in 1979. People haven’t gotten worse. We are criminalizing social issues, including criminalizing children for normal childhood mistakes. The film shows Saguaro prison where Hawaiians are imprisoned in Arizona, but not shown are two other private prisons next to it. Prison is an industry. It is wrong and it is harming our state. There are six people, mainly lawyers, who are working as lobbyists for the private prison industry in Hawai’i, which paid them all over $200,000 dollars in 2016 and 2017. The prison industry is ruining people’s lives and hurting our community, while some profit from it.

Lynette: That was a depressing movie. Graduated from HPU, went to the University of Hawai‘i. Stayed in that program before they were about to kick me out. Did volunteer work in the prisons early on. Couldn’t be too political, but we taught history and culture. It was overwhelming; limited to 30 students and the line was endless. Everyone wanted to know what it was to be a Hawaiian. Currently, teach a class and an anthropologist by training. At one point we were okay, we were healthy and well, then someone came by and put their boot all over us and we speak their language and learn their history and lost who we were and no wonder we are not okay and end up in prisons. Percent real number was 85% or 90%. There is kinda like a bounty on Hawaiians. Those prisons are being built for Hawaiians. One thing I think social workers should be aware of is that when you teach a history that doesn’t teach our history then we are left out. The military came and took something that wasn’t theirs. You can build programs and walk around the issue, but need to acknowledge the issue. Kapuna in residence, what is that, I don’t really know; cite some cultural concepts. What does it mean to have aloha or pono? What is the right thing to do? Need to know. Something is wrong with a man going to Arizona and being from Hawai‘i…. 

Beau: There is a lot of shit going down in the prison system. Came from a family where a lot of people struggled and for some reason I didn’t struggle as much. Something was different with how I grew up than them, even though we grew up the same. A big part of my job as a lawyer was to help clients get services that they needed. It was disappointing to see them come back and didn’t have a sense of who they were (Kanaka) or even mixed. I was taught to take care of the ocean. The community, as a whole, doesn’t care about certain values. Value system is lacking. When I see the subjects of our film, I see it as a good thing that they are working on getting to know their roots. My cousin Ciara had the idea for the film and I saw these people coming in and out of prison and thought this idea was good. I have to talk up my clients and present a plan to the person in silky robes. I had to present the value of what this cultural practice brought to this client’s life. They didn’t understand Hawaiian spirituality, they understood the Bible and Christ instead, but not the cultural practices. One of the main reasons I wanted to make this film was to help represent why the practices are beneficial. 

Moderator Peter: Brother Wayne reminded me that we should never stereotype our brothers and sisters that come out of prison. WHERE IS HOME? Could see that in Hale, our brother needs help. The women in prison are our mothers. We are talking about an industrial complex, recidivism is their business model…which is horrifying to hear that. It’s hurting our communities, not just now but in the next generation with children that are not connecting with their mothers and fathers. That needs to change. What does shit mean? It means it sucks, its injustice and it needs to transform. Thank you for reminding us that these are our people. Culture is healing, but that is not what we see in Waikiki, its profitability. Tourism makes money, but how does it help with our brothers and sisters? 

Guest Heeni: Barrister, Lawyer from New Zealand. Appointed as Visiting Justice for three years in Auckland prisons and reappointed in 2015. Formerly a school teacher for 13 years, went back to university after real estate selling. Completed a Bachelor’s degree, Masters of Arts then a law degree. In returning to university met my husband, lawyer and Queens Counsel with my journey heading towards a criminal law, mental health law and civil law path. Am of Maori/ Pakeha/European descent, speaker of the Maori language. See Maori as cousins of the Hawaiian people. Maori women make up a very high percentage of the prison population in New Zealand closer to 80% as do Maori males – about 58%. Our new Labour Coalition Government elected 2017 have philosophy/aims in relation to prison reform similar to our League, named after my late husband i.e. The Sir Peter Williams QC Penal Reform League.  The government wants to ax building a new prison, reduce the prison population, abandon the three strikes law. They previously took the Maori vote for granted. Now they have to prove themselves as a high number of Maori politicians in this party, but significantly high Maori prison population. For Maori from dysfunctional families, poverty, parents lacking skills, lacking education, means more likely to end up in prison – is easy to criminalize social issues.  Education is really important, that is what we should be spending our taxpayer dollars on, not more prisons. 


Comment from student: formerly incarcerated transsexual woman, thank you and good for you Wayne. I’m a fan of this movie because they depict such a big view of the culture. I’m a social worker and have been trained in RJ (by Lorenn) and work with state of Hawai‘i. Have the highest caseload and I’m still cool and it’s from learning things from Social Work and was open to learning many things. Need to learn from people who think out of the box and do many things, like RJ is one of the most interesting things in the world.

Q: Statistically, do you find that those who participate in the work furlough program as opposed to those that walk out have a better chance or is it more a behavior issue?

A: It reduces recidivism

Q: What do you suggest for programs?

A: It is hard to access funding, some allows certain things, some don’t allow for people with a history of Meth or Sexual problems, there is not a lot of housing or clean and sober for people. Some go from parole from prison straight to the shelter.

Q: Is there any bill or push to get others assistance?
A: YWCA does push for housing, bill for auditing, 250 million a year and now they’re looking for extra money, they need to be audited—they are against it. Bill number maybe 2047

Q: How are lobbyists setting the agenda determining the terms?

A: Hawai’i needs fewer prison beds. Need rehabilitation. $150 to keep one person in prison and then they don’t get an I.D. wtf? They need to work on identification before they get out, a bill for a pilot was “passed” so hopefully, we will actually see it.

Q: How do we allow people to grow out of certain narratives while they are young, especially when they feel trapped and stuck when they are young?

A: we should ask what is going on in Hawai‘i? Why are Hawaiians ending up in prison and homeless in their own homeland? I think we are in the way, we protest when people want to build on sacred land, can’t speak our language in court.

Comes down to education, changing down the narrative to something that is broader.

Proponent of history, need to learn why there is rage. Need a place to express. Gotta find out what happened to Hawaiians, nobody believes it, we have our own language, we are suffering loss, it’s not our fault or your fault. Not taking shit no more, if I express myself I end up in prison, how do I express cuz I feel depressed. Untangle ourselves from a system that never really worked and once we do that we can move forward.

Notes from Movie:


Kuma Hula-Native Hawaiian Hula teacher

Kanaka-Native Hawaiians





-“We are not waiting for permission to be indigenous people. We are indigenous. We gotta stand up and say it.”

-“My mistake: I’d rather be respected or feared in life, today is opposite.”

-“You have to be able to let go.”

Second Community Circle Report on Race

Ali‘iolani Hale, Hawai’i Supreme Court December 6, 2017

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.  — John Lennon

Event background: Hawai’i Friends of Restorative Justice (HFRJ) held a third community talking circle, the second one on race, December 6, 2017 at Hawai’i’s Supreme Court Ali‘iolani Hale (which was constructed in 1872 with the help of imprisoned people

The first community circle was held April 13, 2016 concerning justice in Hawai’i, which Dr. Angela Davis participated in. The second circle was held May 30, 2017, which focused on the concept of race and how people have been affected by it. The third circle that this report concerns, was continued discussion of race with a focus on what could be done do to prevent racism and prejudice. The circles concerning race were provided in collaboration with the Hawai’i Judiciary’s Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Twenty-nine people planned to attend the December circle, and twenty-two were able to participate. Individuals ranged from people who provide social programs, high school and college students, lawyers, community advocates, feminists, and people on parole and formerly incarcerated. A list of the participants is attached. Many individuals had participated in the previous two talking circles.

The event was held from 1 pm until 3 pm. Participants were invited by email. They were sent Harvard’s implicit bias survey link ( before the circle if they wanted to measure any implicit biases they might have. Invitees were also sent the link to Dorothy Roberts’s TED Talk on racism in medicine (

“Acknowledge that you use your background to make choices, but use discernment without being judgmental.” ~ circle participant

Large circle process After participants signed in and everyone was seated in a large circle, HFRJ president, Rich Turbin, Esq., introduced Hawai’i Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. Chief Justice Recktenwald opened the large circle by giving an encouraging talk. He spoke of the need to recognize implicit biases and the work the Hawai‘i Judiciary has done to help people become aware of their biases. He shared his belief in the value of openly discussing difficult topics, including race. Justice Recktenwald also thanked many for helping provide the talking circle and said that his participation in HFRJ’s annual Parole Completion Celebration “is one of the most inspiring things” he does every year.1

The 22 participants participating in the second circle on race, each said their names and any affiliation they wanted to share with the group. The large circle took about 20 minutes total time.

“Listen more, speak less.” ~ circle participant

Small circle process Rather than have the small circle facilitated by a select individual, the small circles were “self-facilitated.” In the large circle, before the small groups were convened, the participants were instructed that about one hour was allotted for the small sessions and that everyone in the small groups would be responsible for ensuring there was shared discussion among all the participants. After the large circle, the 22 participants re-grouped into small groups with up to four participants. The small groups were made ahead of time to make them as diverse as possible according to reflect each participant’s sex, age and ethnic identification.

“Conflict can lead to resiliency and strength.” ~ circle participant

Reconvening large group Participants had about one minute each to report on whatever they wanted to share that they learned or thought was valuable from the small group discussions. Topics shared by the large group participants that they said were important included:

  • Early education – start as early as possible teaching youth all are equal
  • Education is the key to prevention
  • Involve critical thinking – practice listening and considering other’s perceptions
  • Provide classes w/ people from different ethnicities
  • Don’t be complacent
  • It’s an elephant in the room & needs to be recognized and discussed to change it
  • Recognize everyone needs a sense of community & self-worth
  • Take a pledge to treat all with equality like social workers often take
  • Think about race and discrimination systemically to make real change
  • Develop language skills to address situations
  • Need to build self-esteem young
  • Starts with parents & teachers
  • Develop proactive positive ways to create
  • Need healing, health, language, & communication
  • Build a loving community where you are empowered to contribute
  • Address these issues head on but in a culturally appropriate way
  • Continue good discussions
  • Examine our own thoughts – what are we telling ourselves & our part in it
  • Acknowledge that you use background to make choices, but discern w/o being judgmental
  • See our own biases & prejudices
  • Acknowledge individual evolution
  • Teach kids to meditate & develop skills, but don’t let it distract us from doing the work to address the system that’s putting them in that place
  • Dismantle the systems so we can be in a more
  • Don’t be complacent – call it out when it’s not ok
  • It starts w/ us personally, and consider the context of the systems
  • Pay attention to what comes out of our own mouths… it starts at home & lead by example
  • Listen more speak less
  • Justice starts with the truth
  • Look at life in the way that appreciates all different flavors and be open to combining things that you may never think would be good together
  • Hold a safe space for collaboration
  • Surround ourselves with good leaders
  • Invest in programs instead of prisons

Other concepts that were discussed in more detail included:

  • How race has affected us at different times of our lives
  • How lucky we are in Hawaii, being so much better
  • It’s entrenched in our systems
  • Discrimination can be very subtle & subconscious but still powerful
  • Ageism is real
  • Role of privilege
  • Oppressors will never give their power away
  • It’s part of humanity, how we engage w/ each other & address our fear
  • There are good people helping others as advocates who were oppressed
  • Language plays a big role
  • Conflict can lead to resiliency and strength

Future conversations

It is recognized that more opportunities are needed to discuss this topic. Participants suggested we meet at least four times in 2018. Every effort will be made to convene at least three more talking circles about race next year. We plan to hold one again in the spring, at the end of summer, and in the winter.

Additional resource: If you re interested too, here is a link to an excellent TED Radio Hour podcast on Dialogue and Exchange, by National Public Radio, about the importance of communicating with others of differing views and how we can increase those skills

Please contact me at [email protected] if you wish to attend a future community talking circle or if you have any comments or questions about any aspect of the work that Hawai’i Friends does.

Aloha, love & mahalo,
Lorenn Walker, JD, MPH
Director, Hawai‘i Friends of Restorative Justice
December 19, 2017


Participants able to attend (highlighted) community circle on race December 6, 2017 Ali‘iolani Hale, Hawai‘i Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald opening:

1. William (Willy) Domingo – Hawai’i State District Court Judge

2. Rich Turbin, Esq, Pres. Hawai’i Friends of Restorative Justice

3. William Harrison, Esq.

4. Sandra Simms, Retired Circuit Court Judge & Chaminade adjunct professor

5. Fred Hyun, Chairperson State Parole Board

6. Kat Brady, Director Community Alliance on Prisons

7. Henry Curtis, Director Life of the Land

8. Jan Cockett, MSW student UH & Hawai’i Friends intern 2017 – 2018

9. Cheri Tarutani, UH Social Work Instructor 10.Kathleen Algire, Director YWCA Public Policy & Advocacy

11. Kacey Chong, YWCA intern

12. Mike Town, Retired judge & parole board member

13. Nancy Aleck, Retired Director Hawai’i People’s Fund

14. Toni Bisson, Director Pu’a Foundation (reentry services for women)

15. Daphne Ho’okano, Director Beacon (half way house)

16. Zea Billet, UH undergraduate student

17. Roger Epstein, Esq.,Vice Pres. Hawai’i Friends & Co-host HI Forgiveness Project

18. Robyn Pfhal, Esq.

19. Lisa Jensen – Treasurer Hawai’i Friends

20. DeMONT Conner, Founder Ho`omanapono Political Action Committee

21. Momi Conner, Community Activist 22. Michael Knott, State Parole Officer

23. Matt Taufetee, Director First Lap (half way house)

24. Innocenta Sound-Kikku, Chuukese Community Advocate

25. Ceceilia Chang, Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution Director

26. Jeanie Lum, Retired UH English professor & chair Hawai‘i Peace Day

27. Keahe Davis, Judiciary History Center

28. Chris Santomauro (DOE teacher)

29. Lorenn Walker, Director, Hawai’i Friends

30. Gracieuse (Grace) Jean-Pierre, Kokua Kalihi Valley

31. Mackson (Maxx) Phillips, Kokua Kalihi Valley

32. Anne Marie Smoke, Judiciary Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution