Summit highlights need to invest in re-entry services for previously incarcerated people
More than 300 people from re-entry service providers, advocacy groups and community-based organizations as well as individuals impacted by the justice system and criminal justice and government leaders convened Aug. 23 for the inaugural Going Home Hawaiʻi Re-entry and Restoration Summit at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
Speakers presented integrated methods meant to spark positive change for people who were previously incarcerated and are re-entering society and discussed shared efforts to:
- Invest in and provide critically-needed supportive housing to justice-impacted individuals.
- Reduce incarceration and reincarceration through physical and mental health care, housing and employment.
- Promote culture-based solutions that decrease the recidivism rate.
- Break down equity barriers that create challenges for people released from jail.
“It’s encouraging to see so many people come together in Kona to discuss ways we can help our brothers and sisters re-enter society. But this effort does not stop today,” said Going Home Hawaiʻi President and CEO Les Estrella. “Re-entry services are essential to improve community safety by ending the cycle of recidivism. Today demonstrated that, in order to create safer communities, we need to make greater investments to help our friends, family and neighbors who are impacted by the criminal justice system.”
Going Home Hawaiʻi, a Big Island-based nonprofit, helps reduce reincarceration and improve community safety through restorative justice by connecting justice-impacted individuals with supportive housing, employment, training, mentoring and mental health resources.
There are an estimated 3,000 people incarcerated in the state of Hawaiʻi and it costs taxpayers $250 per day for each person in jail. Roughly 48% of Hawaiʻi’s incarcerated population are Native Hawaiian. More than one-third of the people incarcerated in the state are pretrial detainees.
According to Going Home Hawai‘i, without meaningful support, an estimated 75% of people impacted by the justice system are reincarcerated within five years.