FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kat Brady, Coordinator
Community Alliance on Prisons
Office: (808) 533-3454
Nationwide cell: (808) 927-1214
Kyle Kajihiro, Program Director
Office: (808) 988-6266
KULANI TRANSFER IS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW
Honolulu – Tuesday, November 9, 2010 – Last Thursday, November 4, 2010, the Lingle administration once again demonstrated their contempt for the laws of Hawai`i by holding a “Unifying Ceremony” at the now shuttered Kulani Prison during the appeals process challenging the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ (BLNR) vote to turn over public land to the military with no public discussion.
Community Alliance on Prisons; DMZ – Aloha `Aina Hawai`i, a network affiliated with the American Friends Service Committee; and Native Hawaiian lineal descendant, Michael Lee, have all submitted petitions for a contested case hearing on the transfer of Kulani Lands to the Department of Defense National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.
“An appeal of the BLNR’s vote is somewhat like a court case, while the appeal is in play, everything stops. No further action can be taken until the matter is decided,” said Kat Brady, Coordinator of Community Alliance on Prisons.
“The Kulani prison site was created by an executive order that set aside the land for only one use – a prison.” said Kyle Kajihiro. “It was a shock to see the administration and the National Guard proceed with no regard for the law nor the appeals process.”
Kulani Prison was closed in November 2009, interrupting the most successful sex offender treatment program in the country and placing the community in danger since the program participants have not been receiving the treatment they need.
An informational briefing on the closure of Kulani held by the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 28, 2010 revealed flagrant violations of the law including the burning of 63 years of records in a pit with no authorization and in violation of EPA requirements and Hawai`i County’s ‘no burn ordinance’ in effect since 2008. Upon questioning, a Public Safety official blurted out, “We had to get rid of the evidence.”
The statutorily appointed Corrections Population Management Commission was not even consulted about the closure of this prison and the land was immediately turned over to DOD with no public input.
Kulani had a rich history that involved training those who violated the law to reenter the community as contributing citizens. It was the one facility in Hawai`i that had the kinds of outcomes we strive for today. The closure has overburdened the rest of Hawai`i’s correctional system and been a profitable decision for Corrections Corporation of America.
“The question remains,” asks Brady, “is the Lingle administration above the law? Our resounding answer is ‘No’ !”