Letters for May 15, 2016

Why hasn’t water problem been resolved long ago? • Kauai needs restorative justice program, not more inmates

Why hasn’t water problem been resolved long ago?

It makes no sense for me to have to get up and write this letter to protect our community’s ability to have access to the water that is here on Kauai. The fact that this issue has not been resolved long ago is inexcusable.

Hearing that the county continues what seems to clearly be harassment toward the family business Kauai Springs Water is very upsetting.

Noreen Dougherty

Kapaa

Kauai needs restorative justice program, not more inmates

CIP supports affordable housing for prisoners; CIP funding will serve our community in many important ways (TGI, May 10). Yet I was surprised to see no funding for something sorely needed on our island: affordable housing — except for local prisoners.

I am appalled by the need to spend $16 million more to house and care for our prisoners. (Plus $50,000 we pay per prisoner per year, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, January 2016.) I asked myself, “Is there an alternative on our island? Perhaps a restorative justice program?”

I discovered and applaud Kauai’s Teen Court, a diversion program that serves first time misdemeanor youth 10-17. Before moving to Kauai, I volunteered for Longmont, Colorado’s restorative justice program (www.lcjp.org) which annually served hundreds of youth and adults involved in various crimes. For a fraction of the cost of our penal system, the community-based restorative justice system gives victims a voice and offenders an opportunity to repair the harms they caused.

For nearly 20 years, the Colorado restorative program reports 95 percent satisfaction from participants (victims, offenders, police).

Recidivism is only 10 percent. The community is safer as a result. Might such a program work on Kauai?

Is there a government entity, nonprofit organization, or individual with the vision and energy to champion an expanded restorative justice program for Kauai? In addition to keeping families together, giving victims a voice, and allowing offenders to be contributing members of society instead of locked away, we could perhaps redirect funds from housing prisoners to housing ohana.

Marian Head

Kapaa

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