Report: No Justice in Paradise

A new report by the Justice Policy Institute shows a lack of equal justice for Native Hawaiians:

In the first-ever investigation of the impact of the justice system on Native Hawaiians, researchers from the Justice Policy Institute, Georgetown University and the University of Hawai’i found that even when the criminal charges are the same, Native Hawaiians are sent to prison more often and for longer periods of time than most other racial or ethnic groups in Hawai‘i. Native Hawaiians are also more likely to have their parole revoked and be returned to prison compared to other racial or ethnic groups.

It's not just the offenders who suffer: [More...]

In addition to the empirical analysis using official statistics, personal reflections from Native Hawaiians included throughout the report make clear the painful human cost of incarceration, not only to those incarcerated, but also their families and communities. Many incarcerated Native Hawaiians are held in mainland prisons far from home, cut off from family, community, systems of care and their culture. This practice contributes to a cycle of involvement in the criminal justice system that can span generations.

Native Hawaiians have also suffered cultural trauma associated with colonization and social marginalization similar to that experienced by indigenous people in the continental U.S. With cultural trauma shown to be associated with substance use, the incarceration of Native Hawaiians for drug-related charges becomes especially tragic, and the need for appropriate drug treatment outside the criminal justice system even more urgent.

The report is available here.

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    Thank you (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Zorba on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 06:13:38 PM EST
    for this report, Jeralyn.  This is not at all surprising.  The indigenous people of Hawaii have suffered for generations.  As have Native Americans on the mainland.

    and so, (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 10:19:39 PM EST
    that puts poor native hawaiins in the same boat as, well, pretty much any other poor person, regardless of race. so, what else is new?

    i am curious though, why would these people end up in a mainland penal facility? that wouldn't seem particularly cost-effective.

    The same offense (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 04:41:48 PM EST
    1.  The rate of public defender use is an object of social class, not race.
    2.  You don't just get prison sentences based on the immediate crime.  People with more priors get prison instead of probation and are less likely to be allowed to plea bargain the charge down.  I can't tell from this comment whether the natives have longer rap sheets (thus leading to less likely plea bargains and more strict sentences) or whether it is purely some prejudicial thing.