Hawai‘i Friends of Justice & Civic Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (NGO) established in 1980 that is committed to advancing civic behavior and improving the justice system.
Nature and Purpose of Hawai‘i Friends:
Hawai‘i Friends of Justice & Civic Education's mission is to increase democratic behavior by engaging people in positive civic activities and decision making. It designs, implements and measures the effectiveness of interactive teaching programs in an effort to generate evidence-based knowledge of what works to improve civic behavior.
Public Health Approach:
Since its inception in 1980, when it piloted a Street Law program to rehabilitate youth involved with the justice system, Hawai‘i Friends has used public health approaches,
including cooperative education, restorative justice and other engaged learning practices, to promote positive civic experiences and improve the justice system.
Violence Prevention Through Cooperative Learning Program:
Hawai‘i Friends has developed a unique literacy and cooperative education based violence prevention program, Violence Prevention Through Cooperative Learning. It is a project for secondary students at risk of dropping out of school and has been provided to hundreds of teenagers and thousands of elementary students in Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i Friends often provides the program as a pilot to Hawai‘i public schools. The curriculum for the program, along with evaluation tools, is provided freely to schools and is available upon request to email@example.com.
Reading Stories to Change the World is an article describing this innovative program featuring Wai‘anae High School students at risk of dropping out of school. Another article about the program was published in Reclaiming Children and Youth, a national journal for violence prevention practitioners in 2006.
In 2007 Hawai‘i Friends provided the program in conjunction with a restorative justice and solution-focused pilot project at a middle school in Honolulu that showed increased student attendance and decreased bullying behavior. The report on this project is available from Lorenn Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1996 Hawai‘i Friends has promoted restorative justice, which is based on democratic decision making and applies public health education principals, i.e. it is empowering, relies on active learning experiences for affecting positive behavioral, emotional, and cognitive changes for individuals and communities.
Restorative justice (RJ) provides victims, and the community, opportunities to heal and strengthen their lives and relationships, after suffering an incident of crime or social injustice. RJ also offers offenders an opportunity to learn from wrongdoing. Restorative justice is based on the ancient conflict resolution practices of many indigenous cultures including Hawaiians.
Most restorative justice experiences result in increased optimism of participants and observers. RJ has been studied worldwide and has been shown to reduce recidivism in a number of settings, i.e. prisons, juvenile and adult court cases, schools. See, Sherman & Strang, Restorative Justice: the evidence, 2007 at http://www.smith-institute.org.uk/download-pages/download_restorative-justice-full-report.htm
Restorative justice deals with wrongdoing and social injustice where specific offenders may not be identifiable (See, Braithwaite, Restorative Justice and Responsive Regulation, 2002).
For a small organization Hawai‘i Friends has been extremely effective in developing and measuring the effectiveness of unique restorative justice programs and disseminating information about them across the world.
Since 1997 Hawai‘i Friends has worked with public housing residents; juvenile and adult crime victims and offenders; homeless youth; children in foster care; prison inmates and their loved ones; public schools; the Hawai‘i State public housing authority; the Honolulu Police Department; the Hawai‘i State courts; and Hawai‘i State prisons; to develop, implement, evaluate and publish the results of its innovative restorative justice programs.
Restorative Solutions Circles: protective orders including temporary restraining orders (TROs) amendment pilot project for voluntary parties who want to repair their relationships:
In 2012 a petitioner contacted us and requested us to conduct a restorative process involving the respondent to a protective order--several years prior the respondent had violently threatened the petitioner. With both adult parties voluntary agreement, and after arranging for an attorney to go to family court to have the protective order temporarily lifted for purposes of the parties meeting, we facilitated a series of Restorative Solutions Circles - applying restorative justice and solution-focused approaches - at meetings with the parties. The last two circles included other loved ones of the parties. After four circles were held over a four month period, the parties requested to have the protective order permanently removed. We arranged for an attorney to make that motion and today the parties report their relationship is repaired, and that they are regularly enjoying each others' company in peaceful ways.
We are continuing this pilot and will report on it as it progresses with more parties contacting us for assistance.
Parole Completion Event (restorative rituals):
In 2010 Hawai‘i Friends began piloting a restorative ritual for successful parolees and probationers with assistance of professors John Braithwaite author of Crime, Shame and Reintegration, and Shadd Maruna, author of Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives.
4th Parole Completion event held Oct. 11, 2012
Ali'iolani Hale, the Hawai'i Supreme Court
Photos at: https://plus.google.com/photos/104173031096126484709/albums/5799818578541752657?banner=pwa&authkey=CN6D0ZPItdzCDg
75 people, including the honorable Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald,
attended our 4th annual Parole Completion Celebration on October 11,
2012 in Hawai’I’s beautiful supreme court—Ali’iolani
This celebration recognized
and honored the hard work of the people getting off parole, their loved ones’
support, and the work Hawai'i parole officers, members of our justice system,
and the community, have done to help people restore their relationships and citizenship.
Chief Justice Mark
E. Recktenwald & Roger Epstein, Esq. presented the awards:
The Russ Takaki Restorative Parole Officer Award: This year is was a special tribute
to Mr. Takaki (who the award is named - he was administrator of Hawai’I parole
office in the 1960 – 1970s when we had the lowest recidivism rates in the
country). Mr. Takaki’s daughter Ku’ulei Rogers, Ph.D. and her husband were able
to attend the event. Dr. Rogers fondly remembers Mr. Takaki “bringing home
parolees for dinner, getting them jobs and taking them surfing.” She has also
said she still receives gratitude from community members for her father’s help
when they were on parole. The “Russ Takaki Restorative Parole Officer Award”
was given to two parole officers this year from Hawai’i Island: Kona parole
officer Chris Bardon and Hilo parole officer Regge Une, who was unable to
attend the event.
Representative Cindy Evans of the Hawai’I legislature who
represents Kona, also honored Russ Takaki and Chris Bardon.
Christopher Bardon: Mr. Bardon is a compassionate and
caring parole officer in Kona. He is accepting and non-judgmental empowering
his clients to be all they can be and always adjusting to their needs. His work and
dedication go far beyond his required duties and include his constant quest to
build community connections with service providers and local law enforcement to
better serve his clients. Mr. Bardon also shared Russ Takaki’s love of the
ocean. He volunteers for the Deep and
Beyond program, which provides assistance for disable people to enjoy ocean
Regge Une: Mr. Une is a
long time respected and humble parole officer from Hilo. Parole board member
and retired judge, Mike Town says he is a “Good guy, good common sense and great
bedside manner with the inmates and parolees!”
Prison Aftercare Support by Formerly Incarcerated People Awards: These awards are for people who
turned their lives around and when they got out of prison worked to help others
also in trouble with the law find meaningful and law abiding lives. It was
especially special to have the siblings of Delphine Abbott attend the event and
accept her award for her.
Abbott: Ms. Abbott worked hard in prison to change her life. She was accountable
for her past decisions and participated in two restorative Huikahi Reentry Circles (formerly called “restorative circles”) with
her siblings making amends with them and herself. She became a strong advocate
for restorative justice. After her release she accepted the manager role for
the half way house where she lived. She made herself available to help other
women coming out of prison and always encouraged them to make good choices.
Vernetta Chin, her parole office said: “Delphine had a very positive and open
attitude. She did really well on parole.” One of Ms. Abbott’s greatest
contributions was facing adversity with strength, including her own impending
death. “We’re all dying,” she said, acknowledging the inevitable, and helping
inspire others facing fears. A film featuring Ms. Abbott, edited by the women
at WCCC, will be broadcast by ‘Olelo next month. She died two days ago Tuesday
from liver disease and will be missed by many.
Jr.: Mr. Meyer has worked for the last two years as a full time mechanic and
helping run an automotive repair business. He has excelled in all things
with hard work and is very dedicated to helping others coming out of prison. He
is a role model for formerly incarcerated people. “He is a stellar parolee. I
wish all my clients were like Edgar,” says his parole officer Joslyn Gosberg.
Mikami: Mr. Mikami has also worked full time as a mechanic for the last two
years. He is a hard worker and dependable. He too is a role model for
people coming out of prison. Mr. Mikami has shown that it is possible for
people to change no matter what their history. “He is doing remarkably well,”
according to his parole office David Fujishiro.
Restorative Justice Prison Award:
Patterson: Mark Patterson has been the warden at the Women’s
Community Correctional Center since 2006. He has been instrumental in providing
Huikaki Reentry Circles and many
other restorative programs for the women in prison. Warden Patterson is known
to be much more than a prison manager. He is a visionary. He is working hard to
change the nature of prison. “Prison should be a place for healing,” he says.
Programs at WCCC address trauma and suffering, and healthy ways to help
incarcerated women succeed. “He is the best warden I have ever worked for, and
I have worked for 6 so far,” says Larson Medina, a long time educational
director at the prison.
Restorative Justice Community Award:
"Bubba" Smith: Mr. Smith is the owner of A-1 Auto Repair in
Kalihi where he has helped people released from prison by employing them. He
respects people despite their past bad behavior and believes people deserve a
second chance. He strongly believes that everyone should have a purpose. He
thinks hard work, and being accountable and responsible, helps people develop
self worth and meaning. He has a big heart and thinks business is "about
the people and not the money." His contributions help make our community
Judicial Innovation Award:
Family Court Judge
Bode Uale: Judge
Uale was an early supporter of restorative justice interventions for youth and
families in 1998. He also spearheaded a 2008 effort to develop and pilot a
unique restorative practice for families and juveniles in family court. Judge
Uale is the first Samoan judge in the United States. He has been a family court
judge and leader for 21 years, and has been on many boards helping the
community. Judge Uale has a deep commitment to family, and is a role model for
the community. He is motivated to continually learn and improve despite his
status. In 1992, when his oldest son was 14, he and his wife took an extensive
parenting course to learn new ways of disciplining children without physical
Music for the parole completion celebration was kindly provided by
Norman Yamaoka and his mother Rose Kurita and the opening Hawaiian chant was
provided by Cy Kalama.
Hawai‘i Friends’ has developed numerous other innovative restorative justice processes and programs in many diverse areas including:
Public Housing Community Pilot:
Hawai‘i Friends first worked with public housing facilities in 1997 providing restorative justice processes for public housing residents and managers, and published the first article on its work: “A Hawai'i Public Housing Community Implements Conferencing: A Restorative Approach to Conflict Resolution” in the Journal of Housing & Community Development, Nov/Dec. 2000 (http://www.restorativejustice.org/articlesdb/articles/5404).
In 1999 Hawai‘i Friends piloted a restorative justice program for juveniles, Restorative Conferences: A New Approach for Juvenile Justice in Honolulu, which was considered by Larry Sherman and Heather Strang in the preparation of their Smith Institute report, Restorative Justice: the evidence (http://www.smith-institute.org.uk/download-pages/download_restorative-justice-full-report.htm). Hawai‘i Friends consistently receives requests for information about this juvenile justice program.
The United Nations, UNICEF, has cited Hawai'i Friends' juvenile justice work as a model for youth diversion and violence prevention:
Victims of Offenses Without Known or Participating Offenders Pilot:
In 2001 Hawai‘i Friends developed, applied and measured the results of a restorative justice process for victims where there are no known offenders (Restorative Justice Without Offender Participation: A Pilot Program for Victims http://www.realjustice.org/library/lwalker04.html).
Before Hawai‘i Friends developed this application for victims, it was widely felt that restorative justice is only useful when there is a known offender of a wrongdoing. Seventy percent of all crime in the United States, however, goes without any offender ever being identified. Hawai‘i Friends’ application of restorative justice for these victims provided healing to many who before were considered unable of benefiting from this approach.
Adult Criminal Court: Pono Kaulike Pilot:
In 2002 Hawai‘i Friends developed an important restorative justice pilot project for a Honolulu criminal court where mainly intimate and domestic violence parties engage in restorative justice processes, either together or separately (2004, Hawaii Bar Journal, Pono Kaulike: A Restorative Justice Pilot Program http://www.restorativejustice.org/articlesdb/articles/5401 and Pono Kaulike: A Hawaii Court Provides Restorative Justice Practices for Healing Relationships, Walker & Hayashi, Federal Probation Journal, Vol. 71, No. 3, 18-24, 2007 http://www.uscourts.gov/fedprob/December_2007/hawaiianCriminalCourt.html).
Pono Kaulike Reduced Recidivism: Hawai‘i Friends has completed an evaluation of the program for recidivism reduction funded by the Hawaii Justice Foundation. The research confirms that people who had the Pono Kaulike intervention had significantly less incidents of re-offending than people who did not participate in Pono Kaulike. The results have been published in Pono Kaulike: Reducing Violence with Restorative and Solution-Focused Approaches, Federal Probation Journal, Walker & Hayashi, Vo. 73. No. 1, June 2009 paper http://www.uscourts.gov/fedprob/June_2009/FocusedApproaches.html Please email Lorenn Walker at
for more information.
In 2004 Hawai‘i Friends, in collaboration with the Hawai‘i state Department of Public Safety and the Community Alliance on Prisons, created and applied two innovative prison programs.
Huikahi Restorative Circles:
The Huikahi Restorative Circle process, which is for imprisoned people, their families and victims to addresses the incarcerated person's needs for a successful reentry into the community (crime and drug free), and includes the need for reconciliation for all the participants, has been pioneering work. Two papers have been published that tell the story of a family that had one of the first circles in 2005 and follows up with them five years later. Research shows the circles reduce recidivism and that participants have sustained satisfaction and healing as a result of the circles even in cases where the incarcerated person has relapsed/reoffended and is re-incarcerated. Please see the two companion papers published June 2006, Federal Probation Journal, “Restorative Circles: A Reentry Planning Process for Hawaii Inmates” and June 2010, Federal Probation Journal, "Huikahi Restorative Circles: A Public Health Approach to Reentry Planning" available at: http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/ProbationPretrialServices/FederalProbationJournal.aspx
Also please see:
Huikahi Restorative Circles: Group Process for Self-Directed Reentry Planning and Family Healing, European Journal of Probation, Walker, October 2010, 2:2, p. 76-95, http://www.ejprob.ro/index.pl/huikahi_restorative_circlesgroup_process_for_self-directed_reentry_planning_and_family_healing
The Restorative Circle process was the subject of a 2007 Hawai‘i state legislative bill that was passed to fund the Circles and is part of a grass roots movement in Hawai‘i to improve the prison system and to provide more effective prisoner reentry processes to include restorative justice (see: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site/docs/getstatus2.asp?billno=SB932).
People from all over the world have contacted Hawai'i Friends about the Huikahi Restorative Circle program and organizations in New York and California are replicating it. Please contact Lorenn at
for more information about the program.
2009 Video of mock Restorative Circle with discussion by former Circle participants on line at: http://vimeo.com/6673308
Mentoring Pilot Project for Huikahi Circle Applicants who need support upon release from prison:
In 2011 a woman who had a Huikahi Circle needed local support. She was from another state and did not have anyone on O'ahu to be her friend when she was released. Hawai'i Friends found her a mentor (a person happened to contact it wanted to help incarcerated people). With the insight of a visiting New York City police officer and a corrections instructor from the City University of New York, John Jay Criminal Justice school, along with a family therapist, two lawyers and community prison activist, mentoring guidelines were developed and a mentoring pilot project was born. The program is limited to Huikahi Circle applicants in need which is
currently only being provided at the Hawai'i woman's prison. Currently there is only one person being mentored with a Hawai'i Friends mentor. As the program develops more in the future further reports will be made.
Modified Restorative Circles:
Since developing the Restorative Circle program Hawai‘i Friends has applied a similar process for incarcerated people whose families and loved one are not interested or are unable to participate. Instead a group of incarcerated friends participates as supporters. The Modified Restorative Circles model is a promising intervention for assisting incarcerated people develop reentry plans that addresses ways she or he may reconcile without victim participation.
A paper was published in December 2009 describing this process, Modified Restorative Circles: A Reintegration Group Planning Process that Promotes Desistance, Walker, with the Contemporary Justice Review journal, and is available at: http://www.lorennwalker.com/articles.htm
Facilitator Training for Incarcerated People:
Hawai‘i Friends has also designed and trained over 200 imprisoned people in Hawai‘i on restorative justice facilitation, emotional intelligence and solution-focused language skills.
This program (2006, Corrections Today, “A Gift of Listening for Hawaii’s Inmates” http://www.restorativejustice.org/articlesdb/articles/7367 is also the subject of a chapter in Restorative Justice Today: Practical Applications, van Wormer & Walker.
Research of a small sample of people who've had the training and been out of prison 2 years of more since they took it, indicates it reduces recidivism -- see the paper: Huikahi Restorative Circles: Group Process for Self-Directed Reentry Planning and Family Healing, European Journal of Probation, Walker, October 2010, 2:2, p. 76-95http://www.ejprob.ro/index.pl/huikahi_restorative_circlesgroup_process_for_self-directed_reentry_planning_and_family_healing
Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, www.danielgoleman.com, has said that this prison work is “magnificent” and Phil Zimbardo, the Stanford Prison Experiment and author of The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil says the work is "wonderful."
Community Conversations on Restorative Justice:
This project showed that the people overwhelming wants to see restorative justice used in prisons and for criminal cases in Hawai‘i.
Representatives of Hawai‘i Friends and past participants in Hawai‘i Friends restorative justice programs made a series of presentations between July 2006 and February 2007 at different public and private meetings on O‘ahu and Maui.
The nature of restorative justice and the possibilities of its use in the community were the subject of the presentations. Input from individuals at the meetings was collected on surveys that provided the information that confirms the community would like to see restorative justice used in our criminal and prison systems. The program was supported by a small grant from the Hawai‘i Justice Foundation. Please email
if you want a copy of this report.
Restorative & Solution-Focused Family Conferences:
October 2008 - October 2009 we piloted a new intervention for youth
charged with status offenses and referred from the Family Court of the
First Circuit in Honolulu in collaboration with the court and at the suggestion of Judge Bode Uale. In 1999, when we did our first juvenile
justice project with the Honolulu Police Department, we discovered the
need for a more effective interventions for youth and families involved
with status offenses. These offenses are usually for runaway, truancy,
beyond parental control. If the youth were age 18 there would be no
offense. Status offenses only apply to minors. We worked for several
months on the basic design of the Solution-Focused Family Conference
and conducted the first one on March 13, 2009. We provided 13
interventions for families, which they reported were helpful in
preventing the youths' further involvement with the justice system.
Parolee Restorative Redemption Celebration
2009 - 2011 under the guidance of professors John Braithwaite and Shadd Maruna, we are conducting restorative celebrations for people who successfully complete state parole on O'ahu, Hawai'i, and a select group who complete probation with Judge Steven Alm. The first parolee celebration was held at the Hawai'i Supreme Court March 31, 2010. The second parolee celebration was held Wednesday October 6, 2010 and in January 2011 a private celebration was held for a man getting off probation from Judge Alms' court was held.
The model for the parolees was a large group format with family and friends and others in the community who have successfully completed parole and or are out of prison. 100 people including state judges, police, service providers and advocates who work with incarcerated people participated. The parobationer's process was held privately in Judge Alm's court. Five probation officers, and the judge participated along with the man getting off probation in a facilitated process. Participant surveys of all three events show increased optimism and understanding. Further results will be reported in the future.
Restorative Solutions Circles
This pilot project began in 2012 with a mother who wanted to see her adult son after a few years of living with a protective order. She missed him and was concerned for his welfare and safety. The son also deeply missed his mother and family. As a result we have developed the Restorative Solutions Circle model to help people who have had previous serious conflicts and obtained protective orders including TROs (temporary restraining orders), but who want to have some contact and explore the repair of their relationships. So far the process shows promise for profound family healing.
Hawai‘i Friends informs the world on its innovative work and has published numerous articles in different journals for professionals working in the areas it has introduced the programs including a book about it's reentry and transition planning circles; it work was also featured extensively in Restorative Justice Today: Practical Applications, van Wormer & Walker (2013) http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book237503/toc Its work has also been described and published in many journals including Principal Leadership for school administrators; the Federal Probation Journal and Corrections Today for judicial and corrections professionals; the Hawai‘i Bar Journal for the legal community; the Journal for Housing and Community Development for public housing administrators; and other educational and psychology journals.
Please see below
Published Articles Linked for links to most of its articles.
The newly revised forth edition of, Interviewing for Solutions, by Peter De Jong and Insoo Kim Berg, a best selling text for counselors and social workers, includes an 11 page detailed description of Hawai‘i Friends’ reentry and transition planning circle process.
In 2008 the Journal of Family Psychotherapy included an article on a promising restorative justice program for homeless youth, envisioned and co-developed by Hawai‘i Friends. Waikiki Youth Circles: Homeless Youth Learn Goal Setting Skills,
Walker, Journal of Family Psychotherapy, Vol. 19(1) 2008 is available at:http://www.lorennwalker.com/articles.htm).
Hawai‘i Friends has received requests from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Canada, Nepal, Singapore, as well as many American states, for information on its programs. Please email
for more information.