Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We can do that here, too!

Rep. Cindy Evans returned from visiting Kentucky women prisons with a grand message for audience members today at an informational briefing regarding Hawaii prison policies: The female inmates from Hawaii feel better about themselves there than they do here.

The women prefer the Kentucky prisons to Hawaii facilities, said Rep. Evans. In Kentucky, they are able to complete the drug rehab program in a much more efficient and consistent time period. In Hawaii, many inmates couldn't even finish what should be a three-week treatment because of the many starts and stops. Some had to wait as long as a year to complete their treatment. Here in Hawaii, the women were asked to bare their souls only to be dropped like cigarette butts with no one helping to pick up the pieces. They felt worse about themselves after completing – or not completing – the program in Hawaii.

In Kentucky, the women prisoners felt better about themselves because of little things. For example, they were allowed to have tweezers to pluck their eyebrows, wear makeup, wear jewelry if it cost less than $50, and color their hair. However, Evans also noticed that the female prisoners do not receive enough warm clothing for the mainland winter, and that this must be difficult for locals who are not used to the cold weather. At 65 degrees in Ewa Beach, MY teeth begin to chatter! If an inmate or her family can't afford thermal underwear or warmer jackets, they must concede to forfeit outside privileges and/or endure the cold weather.

Even with acclimation difficulties, why, you ask, are our representatives pushing to bring them home when they are blatantly receiving better rehab aid?

Because as Rep. Evans mentioned several times throughout the hearing, "We can do that here, too."

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