Awards given 2012 Parole Completion event – Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald & Roger Epstein, Esq. presented:
1. The Russ Takaki Restorative Parole Officer Award
This award is a special tribute to Mr. Takaki (who the award is named – he was administrator of Hawai’i parole office in the 1960 – 1970s when we had the lowest recidivism rates in the country). Mr. Takaki’s daughter Ku’ulei Rogers, Ph.D. and her husband were able to attend the event. Dr. Rogers fondly remembers Mr. Takaki “bringing home parolees for dinner, getting them jobs and taking them surfing.” She has also said she still receives gratitude from community members for her father’s help when they were on parole.
The “Russ Takaki Restorative Parole Officer Award” was given to a parole officer from Kona, Hawai’i Island: Chris Bardon. Representative Cindy Evans of the Hawai’i legislature, who represents Kona, also honored Russ Takaki and Chris Bardon.
Mr. Bardon is a compassionate and caring parole officer in Kona. He is accepting and non-judgmental empowering his clients to be all they can be and always adjusting to their needs. His work and dedication go far beyond his required duties and include his constant quest to build community connections with service providers and local law enforcement to better serve his clients. Mr. Bardon also shared Russ Takaki’s love of the ocean. He volunteers for the Deep and Beyond program, which provides assistance for disable people to enjoy ocean activities.
2. Prison Aftercare Support by Formerly Incarcerated People Awards
These awards are for people who turned their lives around and when they got out of prison and worked to help others also in trouble with the law find meaningful and law abiding lives. It was especially poignant to have the siblings of Delphine Abbott attend the event and accept her award for her because she died days before the event.
Delphine Abbott: Ms. Abbott worked hard in prison to change her life. She was accountable for her past decisions and participated in two restorative Huikahi Reentry Circles with her siblings making amends with them and herself. She took responsibility for her past behavior and became a strong advocate for restorative justice. After her release she accepted the manager role for the half way house where she lived. She made herself available to help other women coming out of prison and always encouraged them to make good choices. Vernetta Chin, her parole office said: “Delphine had a very positive and open attitude. She did really well on parole.” One of Ms. Abbott’s greatest contributions was facing adversity with strength, including her own impending death. “We’re all dying,” she said, acknowledging the inevitable, and helping inspire others facing fears. A film featuring Ms. Abbott, edited by the women at WCCC, was broadcast by ‘Olelo, Hawai’i public assess televison. She later died from liver disease and will be missed by many.
Edgar Meyer, Jr.: Mr. Meyer has worked for the last two years as a full time mechanic and helping run an automotive repair business. He has excelled in all things with hard work and is very dedicated to helping others coming out of prison. He is a role model for formerly incarcerated people. “He is a stellar parolee. I wish all my clients were like Edgar,” says his parole officer Joslyn Gosberg.
Michael Mikami: Mr. Mikami has also worked full time as a mechanic for the last two years. He is a hard worker and dependable. He too is a role model for people coming out of prison. Mr. Mikami has shown that it is possible for people to change no matter what their history. “He is doing remarkably well,” according to his parole office David Fujishiro.
3. Restorative Justice Prison Award
Mark Patterson: Mark Patterson has been the warden at the Women’s Community Correctional Center since 2006. He has been instrumental in providing Huikaki Reentry Circles and many other restorative programs for the women in prison. Warden Patterson is known to be much more than a prison manager. He is a visionary. He is working hard to change the nature of prison. “Prison should be a place for healing,” he says. Programs at WCCC address trauma and suffering, and healthy ways to help incarcerated women succeed. “He is the best warden I have ever worked for, and I have worked for 6 so far,” says Larson Medina, a long time educational director at the prison.
4. Restorative Justice Community Award
Millard “Bubba” Smith: Mr. Smith is the owner of A-1 Auto Repair in Kalihi where he has helped people released from prison by employing them. He respects people despite their past bad behavior and believes people deserve a second chance. He strongly believes that everyone should have a purpose. He thinks hard work, and being accountable and responsible, helps people develop self worth and meaning. He has a big heart and thinks business is “about the people and not the money.” His contributions help make our community better.
5. Judicial Innovation Award
Family Court Judge Bode Uale: Judge Uale was an early supporter of restorative justice interventions for youth and families in 1998. He also spearheaded a 2008 effort to develop and pilot a unique restorative practice for families and juveniles in family court. Judge Uale is the first Samoan judge in the United States. He has been a family court judge and leader for 21 years, and has been on many boards helping the community. Judge Uale has a deep commitment to family, and is a role model for the community. He is motivated to continually learn and improve despite his status. In 1992, when his oldest son was 14, he and his wife took an extensive parenting course to learn new ways of disciplining children without physical punishment.
Music for the parole completion celebration has been kindly provided by Norman Yamaoka and his mother Rose Kurita and the opening Hawaiian ‘oli (chant) was provided by Cy Kalama most often.
November 12, 2013 Parole Completion Celebration
This celebration tonight is to recognize the hard work of the people getting off parole, and the hard work Hawai’i parole officers, and members of our justice system, and the community, given to help them the paroled become restored citizens.Federal Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi, Rich Turbin, Esq., President of Hawai’i Friends of Justice & Law Related Education &Vice Pres. Roger Epstein, Esq. presented the awards:
Prison Aftercare Support by Formerly Incarcerated People Award: Frank Garcia In 2004 Mr. Garcia attended Hawai’i Friends’ first restorative justice class at Waiawa prison. He was a leader chosen by Mr. Kalama and the Kash Box program to attend the class. Since then Frank has helped other formerly incarcerated people and over the years he has attended 4 Huikahi Reentry Circles; 3 for loved ones and one for himself. He has openly discussed his experience restoring his relationships with the circles on Hawai’i Public Radio.
Restorative Justice Community Award: Matthew Taufetee Mr. Taufetee is the founded and has directed the Life After Prison, aka LAP, program, since 2002 without government or grant funding. LAP is a program known for respecting all people and showing them love. LAP’s Peacemaker program is a gang intervention provided through the DOE based on love and not intimidation. Matt is becoming a pastor and he is guided in his work by his spirituality and wanting to help others who have hardship in their childhoods as he did.
Ted Sakai Restorative Justice Prison Award: Ted Sakai We have named this award for Mr. Sakai. In 2003 Ted understood the value of restorative justice and allowed it to be introduced at Waiawa Prison where he was the warden. It was through his good judgment that we have been able to do restorative programs in prisons including 106 reentry circles that a total 506 people have attended and found positive. The circles have been adopted in New York and California. Ted Sakai brings
Judicial Innovation Award: Steve Alm, State Circuit Court Judge Judge Alm is a former US Attorney and Honolulu prosecutor. He was sworn in as a judge in 2004 and after experiencing the problems with the probation system he developed Hawai’i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program also called HOPE. The HOPE program is based on fairness and caring for people. HOPE has worked to helped people on probation desist from crime and substance abuse and it is recognized internationally and nationally.
The Russ Takaki Restorative Parole Officer Award (named for Mr. Takaki who ran the parole office in the 1960s and early 1970s with a restorative nature of kindness and compassion): Reginald Une Bert Matsuoka Parole Board Chair will receive the award for Mr. Une. Reginald also known as Reggie, is a retiring parole officer and supervisor in Hilo. He was chosen by the Parole Office for this award for his good work. Parole Board Member, and retired judge Mike Town says: “Reggie is a good guy, good common sense and has a great bedside manner with people in prison and on parole.”