Hawai’i’s prisons are filled with Native Hawaiian men and women, more than any other ethnic group. Current punitive practices do not provide for culturally appropriate services that studies prove are most effective for helping Native Hawaiian pa’ahao (inmates) achieve successful life outcomes and stay out of prison. Applying Western values to a culture that doesn’t share them doesn’t work.
The goal of programs like the Makahiki at Hālawa Correctional Facility, organized by Kahu Kaleo Patterson and Native Hawaiian Church, is to reverse the trend: to help paʻahao become strong, culturally-based men constantly in the presence of their ancestors so that they may become better husbands, sons, brothers and fathers for their families and better role-models for the community.
Kai Markellʻs photographs record the renewed hope, forgiveness, and aloha pau’ole (love ever lasting) of makahiki. (To learn more about makahiki at Hālawa, see this article from Ka Wai Ola O OHA.)
Meet the artist: Kai Markell
Ho’ōla at Hālawa
Click any image to view photos as a slide show.