Maui News

First Hui Ho’iwai Reentry Summit to help incarcerated people and communities

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Hui Hoʻiwai is a newly formed working group of five organizations that strive to shine the light on the power within our communities and fight to end the dehumanization of incarcerated people.

Five organizations that support and advocate for incarcerated people are hosting the free Hui Hoʻiwai Reentry Summit on March 20 and 21 in Honolulu, with some sessions available virtually.

Kūkākūkā (discussion) and workshop topics include: Justice reform, culturally-based interventions, Ho‘okanaka (be someone) process, reducing recidivism, reimagining reintegration, decarceration, impact on ‘ohana, healthcare options and trauma-informed recovery. 

The summit is the joint effort of the newly formed working group Hui Hoʻiwai, consisting of Men of PA‘A, ‘Ekolu Mea Nui, Going Home Hawai‘i, Papa Ola Lōkahi and the ACLU of Hawai‘i.


The summit is taking place in Honolulu at the Ala Moana Hotel on March 20 and at Café Julia on March 21. To see the full agenda, click here. To register for in person attendance or virtual sessions, click here.

Hui Hoʻiwai strives to shine the light on the power within our communities and fights to end the dehumanization of incarcerated people. The five Hui Hoʻiwai organizations each push for a paradigm shift where the default is not to put people in cages for violations or offenses.

The reentry summit is an opportunity to build connections and foster vital discussion of these issues; see presentations on evidence-based practices; and learn from speakers with direct and lived experience about what works to enhance successful reentry.


“We cannot expect different results if we keep doing things the same way,” said Iopa Maunakea, founder of Men of PA‘A. “The system we’ve had in place for too long does not set us up for success and it divides people. We need to believe in and invest in people coming out of the criminal legal system. It’s about people helping people helping people.”

Kānaka Maoli, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and African Americans are disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system in numerous and damaging ways. Hui Ho‘iwai is working to bring lasting reform to a severely broken system. The group believes in community investment and accountability that is therapeutic and restorative, not punitive.

“Our state continues to perpetuate a punitive criminal justice system,” said Dr. Jamee Miller, co-founder and president of ‘Ekolu Mea Nui. “It is like a trap. Once you’re in it’s very difficult to get out – even for the ‘model’ incarcerated person. Once out, navigating reentry has its own challenges. It’s time we embrace the tools and wisdom of our kupuna and shift to a pono system where true healing through native Hawaiian practices can occur.”


Les Estrella, president and CEO of Going Home Hawai‘i, said reentry is not just about helping any one person transition successfully, but about caring for the community itself.

“Providing services to help people succeed puts them on a better pathway, which is why we always say ‘no new crime, no new victims’,” Estrella said. “Reentry services is one of the smartest investments we can make and successful reintegration is one of the most important crime-prevention tools our communities have.”

The summit pillars are:

  • E Ho‘olako ia a‘e nei me ka Hanohano…E na Hawai‘i pio‘ole me ka mana‘o (Enrich with pride our work … Cherish Hawai’i of our peoples values)
  • Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua (Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers, flowers thrive where there is water as thriving people are found where living conditions are good)
  • E lawe i ke a‘o a mālama, a e ‘oi mau ka na‘auao (The person who takes teachings and applies them increases their knowledge)
  • Hulihia (Refers to massive upheavals that change the landscape, overturn the normal, )reverse the flow and sweep away the prevailing or assumed)

Lewis Conway, communities and coalition storyteller with the ACLU National office said, “Society must embrace the reality that 95 percent of the people currently in prison are coming home, and we have to find a better way to onboard them back into our families, our neighborhoods and our communities.”

For information on participation and tabling opportunities at the summit, please contact Monica Espitia at [email protected].


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments