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Pono Kaulike: A Hawaii Criminal Court Provides Restorative Justice Practices for Healing Relationships.

Walker, Lorenn
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Federal Probation. 71(3):18-24.

This paper reviews the history and describes the features of the Pono Kaulike program in Hawaii, which applies restorative justice principles to selected criminal cases. n Hawaiian, “pono kaulike” means “equal rights and justice for all.” The program began in 2003 and is named after a resolution enacted by the Hawaii State judiciary in 2000, which states that the “Hawaii State Judiciary shall continue to act in accordance with the principles of Restorative Justice and the concept of Pono Kaulike…” The pilot program was conceived and provided by a small nonprofit organization that has assisted organizations in developing, implementing, and evaluating restorative justice programs since 1996. Pono Kaulike evolved to provide three distinct types of restorative justice meetings: restorative conferences, restorative dialogs, and restorative sessions. Restorative conferences are meetings that include the defendant, victim, and supporters of both parties. The group discusses how each party has been affected by the wrongdoing and how the harm may be repaired. A written agreement is developed that specifies what the defendant is to do in order to repair the harm done to victims. A restorative dialog occurs when the defendant and victim meet without the presence of family or friends. They enter into an agreement regarding the responses of each to the harm that has occurred. A restorative session occurs when the victim and/or the defendant and their supporters meet separately with facilitators. A “restorative plan” is developed to include self-improvement goals and victim-defendant reconciliation actions. The program’s experiences have shown that the types of cases most appropriate for Pono Kaulike are those that involve parties with an ongoing relationship, such as relative, neighbors, friends, spouses, or those with an intimate relationship. An evaluation to determine whether the program reduces crime is expected to begin in early 2008. (abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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