Stop another military land grab in Kulani

Another stealth military land grab rears its ugly head.

On Thursday, September 9, 2010, the Hawai’i State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) is holding a hearing on two important land items related to future of Kulani Correctional Facility.

The Kulani Correctional Facility was abandoned by the Department of Public Safety in November 2009. It has been empty ever since, while we continue to ship hundreds of prisoners to Arizona, where there have been a number of brutal murders and violent incidents this year.  Governor Lingle wants to transfer the Kulani land to the State of Hawai’i National Guard to run a Youth ChalleNGe program, a military school.

The land, approximately 7200 acres surrounds Kulani and is pristine forest with many endangered plants and animals. This land was cared for by Kulani inmates.  We know individuals can be restored as they restore the land.

On November 19, 2009, activists testified before the Board of Land and Natural Resources to oppose the granting of access for military clean up of ordnance in the Kulani parcel without a clear disclosure of future plans for the site.  Many of us suspected that the transfer of the 8000 acres from the State Public Safety Department to the State Department of Defense was a land grab for more military training.  Our suspicions were correct. The latest proposal before the BLNR is to allow military training within the Kulani lands.

Kulani was one of the most successful sex offender treatment programs in the U.S., with less than 2% recidivism since 1988.  Some within the Department of Public Safety hopes to reopen Kulani. If the Department of Public Safety does not reopen Kulani and restore its successful programming, then prison reform advocates call for the creation of a Wellness Center to help individuals successfully transition from prison to the community with skills and self-esteem and a stake in their community·



TIME:  9:00 A.M.





Here’s a link to the agenda

There are two action items related to the Kulani Prison.

Agenda Item C 1. Recommends approving a designating portions of the Kulani lands as part of the Natural Area Reserves System (NARS).  While this designation would give strong protections to these designated lands, and has has been supported by many in the environmental movement, the proposal is problematic because it carves out approximately 600 acres for the National Guard to develop its Youth ChalleNGe school and training area. This militarization of the Kulani lands is unacceptable and incompatible with a NARS. The NARS designation should NOT allow military use of any portion of the Kulani lands.   The staff memo to the board can be downloaded here.

Agenda Item D 3. Recommends transfering the Kulani lands to the State of Hawaii, Department of Defense, for Youth ChalleNGe Academy and Hawaii Army National Guard Training Purposes, with an Access and Utility Easement Reserved to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.  Stop the transfer of the Kulani lands to the military.  Download the staff memo regarding the transfer of land to the military.

Kat Brady, Coordinator of the Community Alliance on Prisons sent out an action alert and talking points:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aloha Justice Advocates!

Here is the information about how to submit testimony for Thursday’s (September 9, 2010) Board of Land and Natural Resources Meeting. All testimony should be in by tomorrow (Wednesday, September 8, 2010).

Q:  How do I submit testimony?

A:  Written testimony may be submitted in one of the following ways:

fax:       (808) 587-0390  Attn: Board Members


mail:     Department of Land and Natural Resources

Attn:  Board Members

1151 Punchbowl, Room 130, Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

Written testimony must be received prior to the Board meeting at which the item is to be acted upon to allow Board members to consider the testimony prior to making a decision.

Oral testimony may be presented on the day of the Land Board meeting.  If possible, please provide a written summary of your testimony to the Board when you approach the Board to present your testimony.

Your testimony:

It doesn’t have to be long – pick a point or two  that resonates with you and write a few sentences (hopefully in opposition). Here’s a simplified version of talking points for you to use in your testimony.

10 Brief Talking Points:

  1. The closure of Kulani was sloppy, ill-conceived and poorly executed. PSD violated federal, state, and county laws. DON’T COMPOUND THIS MESS BY TRANSFERRING THIS LAND WITH NO PUBLIC DISCUSSION
  2. The lands proposed for transfer to DOD are some of our most pristine forest land, choke with endangered species. The forest contains critical habitat for numerous endangered , threatened or candidate species including Mauna Loa Silversword, Oha wai, Haha, Aku, Ha iwale, Laukahi luahiwi, Kiponapona, Anunu, Nene (Hawaiian goose), Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian picture-wing fly, Akiapola au, Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawai`i akepa, Hawai`i creeper, Hawaiian petrel, Newell’s shearwater
  3. These are PUBLIC trust lands and should not be transferred without a full public discussion – on all islands – of why Crown lands are being considered and clearly stating the reason for the transfer and how the transfer will benefit Native Hawaiians and the general public
  4. Kulani is the perfect location for a wellness center and training our next wave of agricultural workers who can develop the skills at Kulani that can assist those exiting incarceration to successfully transition to the community
  5. If PSD does not reopen Kulani and restore its successful programming, then turn it into a Wellness Center to help individuals successfully transition from prison to the community with skills and self-esteem and a stake in their community. Kulani was the perfect location for the most successful sex offender treatment program in the nation – less than 2% recidivism since 1988!
  6. Conversely, Kulani is too remote to put 75-100 youth there according to Juvenile Justice experts. This is dangerous and increases the state’s liability
  7. How can 75-100 youth and some teachers/counselors maintain the facility and grounds that a 200 bed prison and staff maintained for decades?
  8. How much did DLNR save by Kulani inmates building fences, propagating koa seedlings, and replanting koa in the forest? Who will do that work now?
  9. What about child labor laws? Can you have minors doing this type of work? What is their compensation, who will monitor and enforce labor laws there?
  10. STOP! turning over our precious resources to the military. If we truly value our natural and cultural resources, we would not even consider military training in the forest

I hope this helps. I have heard from individuals inside the Department of Public Safety that they hope to reopen Kulani. Transferring this land now, as this administration is 90 days from exiting (but who’s counting?!) is UNWISE at best. Please ask the board not to compound this colossal error.

Mahalo nui for caring about Hawai`i and her people… We CAN make a difference. RAISE YOUR VOICE NOW!



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