6 People Making a Difference in Honolulu
Meet a few people making Honolulu a better place for all of us.
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Five-hundred seventy-five Hawaii parolees were released back into society from correctional facilities between 2011 and 2012, but what happened to them? Was there real help on the other side to keep them from committing the same crimes again? And what about the 1,966 Hawaii inmates still locked up in Arizona? Kat Brady spends her time addressing these questions and educating the public as the coordinator of Community Alliance on Prisons (CAP).
Originally the Rethinking Prisons Working Group, CAP was formed in the mid-’90s when social workers, churches, academics and families of prisoners met to talk about the state of affairs in Hawaii’s justice system. These days, Brady runs CAP as a reliable, central resource from which inmates can find advice.
Judging by CAP’s near-daily newsletters and the phone calls to the state Legislature, its requests for help from inmates around the state and prison visits, you’d think there was a full staff at the CAP offices, but it’s really just Brady and maybe a couple of interns.
One of her biggest achievements has been bringing the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to Hawaii. Run by the national Council for State Governments, the program is a data-driven approach to reforming Hawaii’s criminal justice system, saving money and reducing the prison population by addressing what Brady calls the “true reasons that people end up there, rather than just creating more criminals.”
Brady is also working toward other initiatives, including drug-therapy programs for parolees and the compassionate release into parole of sick or elderly inmates with rising medical bills and a family willing to take care of them.
“Democracy depends on truth telling and transparency,” Brady says. “I think the only road to peace is the road that’s just. Without justice, we’ll never have peace.”