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Pono Kaulike: Reducing Violence with Restorative Justice and Solution-Focused Approaches

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 73 Issue: 1 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 23-27
Lorenn Walker; Leslie Hayashi
Date Published
June 2009
5 pages
This article describes and assesses the Pono Kaulike Program of the Hawaii State District Court in Honolulu, which is a voluntary restorative justice program for offenders who plead guilty to crimes, as well as their victims.
The intent of the program is for offenders to examine how their criminal behavior has affected their victims and what they can do to repair the harm. Victims are not required to participate, but may participate in explaining the harms caused by the crime and provide input for what the offender can do to mitigate these harms. The program began in 2003 in order to test and measure the application of restorative conferencing for criminal cases. It was conducted as a pilot program for 4 years. As the Pono Kaulike pilot program developed, it became apparent that there was a need for other restorative interventions that did not require face-to-face meetings between all of the involved parties. It was also found that the conference facilitators could apply solution-focused brief therapy language skills in order to achieve better outcomes for participants. As a result, the program developed three distinct facilitated restorative justice processes that used the solution-focused brief therapy approach, which has been used successfully with incarcerated offenders. "Restorative conferences" are for victims, offenders, and their respective supporters; "restorative dialogs" are for victims and offenders together without supporters; and "restorative sessions" are for individual victims and offenders who meet separately. The key goals of the program's three processes are to help people hurt by crime to heal and decrease offender recidivism. The recidivism results for the program indicate that restorative justice and solution-focused approaches are more effective at preventing reoffending and helping victims than the traditional system of handling criminal cases. 1 figure and 21 references