Letter for Saturday, November 16, 2019

Remembering Greg Silva, others who have passed away while incarcerated

Three years have passed since Mr. Greg Silva tragically died in solitary confinement at Kauai Community Correctional Center. Conflicting accounts have surfaced about what actually took place the morning of Nov. 21, 2016. There has never been an official accounting to the family, henceforth closure has been difficult for his children, grandmother, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.

The authorities, along with public safety, have swept the whole affair under the carpet. This treatment is not unusual among those who have perished within the state of Hawaii prison system.

Hawaii ranks seventh in the nation for unaccountable deaths in its prison facilities. Greg Silva’s death was a tipping point and “Relatives and Friends of the Incarcerated” (RFI) continues to meet regularly since 2017 to discuss ways to affect prison reform and create more transparency into a very broken prison system.

Overcrowded prisons and jails operate with understaffed, overworked and underpaid employees. Consequently, the proper treatment for physical, medical, and mental-health needs of inmates cannot be met.

While recommendations have been made by the HRC 85 Task Force submitted in 2018 to remedy the dire conditions within the prisons, leadership from the governor on down lack the political will to engage and legislate prison reform. What is offered is a bigger, newer prison. More cages, no rehabilitation or restorative justice.

On this third-year anniversary of Greg Silva’s death, RFI commemorates Mr. Silva and all who have lost their lives within Hawaii’s prisons in an event on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Kapaa Public Library from 2 to 5 p.m. The family will remember Mr. Silva in his life before his incarceration of 17 years. He was well loved and is sorely missed.

A free viwing of the award-winning documentary “Out Of State” will be shown. A display of inmate art will be set up and pupu will be provided by “The Local” of Kapaa.

Please join us for this community event and become informed.

Blu Dux, Kalaheo

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