It is my intention as Hawaiʻi County Mayor to move the Hawaiʻi Community Correction Center(HCCC) outside of town. Not, as has been previously suggested and planned, to erect a seven story version of the same facility in the center of town.
The new HCCC will be a working farm. It will be a place of learning and work. Inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes will learn to tend the land, spend time outdoors, build their own homes, and the money they make through this program will be placed in an account that they can access upon release.
We won’t leave them penniless and desperate – doomed to re-offend. We will educate them and provide them with the tools they need for a successful reentry into society. They will provide a service to our community (increasing Hawaiʻi’s food independence – meeting an essential growing need) and we will see crime drop overtime.
People are not weeds. Every person is redeemable. It is not our job to label someone a weed, pluck them from the community, their families, their loved-ones, strip them of all of their rights and humanity, just to shame them into a corner from which they cannot escape.
People are all seeds that need compassion and opportunity to grow. Let’s water them and give them some sunshine. We can grow together with this farm program and see how all of our lives change and the surrounding community changes because it.
It is possible, and it is the right way forward.
Examples of successful correctional facilities with community farming programs;
20 Organizations Planting the Seeds for Food Justice in Prisons (source: foodtank.com/news)