Project helps male convicts
With more than $20,000 from a community organization, the state opened a pilot program yesterday aimed at reintegrating male convicts into society.
About 20 people attended a ceremony to dedicate a refurbished building for the new Reintegration Offender Program, only a quarter-mile from the minimum-security Waiawa Correctional Facility.
The 3,000-square-foot building was dilapidated and unused for about a decade before state Public Safety officials decided to make use of the site for the re-entry work furlough program.
In September, Clayton Frank, director of the Department of Public Safety, informed acting Warden Jodie Maesaka-Hirata of how he wanted to create a furlough program at Waiawa to provide a second work furlough program for male inmates on Oahu.
"I'm very thankful for Transformation Hawaii for stepping up and partnering with our department and assisting us in getting things that we would not have been able to do on our own."
Clayton Frank / Director, Department of Public Safety
Frank informed her that a high number of male inmates were going to be eligible for furlough, yet there was a lack of furlough sites available and funding.
Staff sought help from the community.
Transformation Hawaii, a coalition of church organizations headed by the Rev. Allen Cardines Jr., came forward to donate more than $20,000 to make the pilot project possible.
Money went toward roofing material, paint, electrical hardware, glass jalousies, lumber and drywall material. Sixty-one inmates from the Waiawa Correctional Facility renovated Building 12, renamed Hale Hoonaauao, which means "house where the enlightenment of knowledge and wisdom is sought and taught."
The project is a testament to the partnership between the state and the community to help prepare inmates to reintegrate into society, Frank said. "We can't do it all," he added.
"I'm very thankful for Transformation Hawaii for stepping up and partnering with our department and assisting us in getting things that we would not have been able to do on our own," Frank said.
Four inmates are participating in the pilot project. Officials plan to increase the number of participants to 10. The project will include classes such as work-force development, citizen improvement and community relationships. Those eligible to participate in the program are required to complete recommended programs and be eligible for parole in 24 months. Participants will be eligible to stay in the program for a minimum of six months.
Program participant Bojangles A. Schaubert, 33, said he and other participants are looking forward to an "unbelievable opportunity." Schaubert has been in Waiawa Correctional Facility for more than 2 1/2 years for convictions on theft and drug-related charges after his addiction to crystal methamphetamine spun out of control.
Schaubert completed a substance abuse program before he was eligible to participate in the pilot project. "For the first time in a very long time, we can see the reality of the real potential we have," he said.