ProjectFocus Hawai’i Presents
The photographers who created this exhibit are the children of mothers who have been, or are currently, incarcerated. Adding to the dramatic contrast between confinement and freedom, our participants took their cameras behind the prison walls and into a transitional facility to photograph their mothers. As a counterpoint, Ms. Callies and Ms. Uesugi photographed the children on the beautiful grounds of La Pietra located on the slopes of Diamond Head.
Our young participants have encountered challenges a child should never have to face. Many of them have been exposed to drug, alcohol, or sexual abuse; displacement; neglect; domestic violence; and more. Most of the youngsters have been apart from their mothers for months or years.
This exhibit is a testament to these children’s resilience in the face of extreme adversity—and to their resolve to forgive, in spite of the deep sadness they have experienced because of the choices their mothers have made.
Reawakening is about these children’s hope for a better future, for themselves and for their mothers.
The Women’s Community Correctional Center
The Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) is the only correctional facility in Hawai‘i dedicated solely to accommodate and service sentenced female offenders. The majority of these offenders are mothers.
WCCC offers “Parenting From a Distance,” an intensive course designed to assist incarcerated mothers, who are separated from their children, by teaching them how to forge and strengthen the healthy parental bonds that are vital to stopping the cycle of intergenerational incarceration.
Mark Patterson was the warden of WCCC during the term of our program. He strongly believed that the cycle of intergenerational incarceration could be stopped but the state and the community must work together to preserve and strengthen the familial bonds between incarcerated mothers and their children. These bonds can benefit both the mother’s transformation and the child’s growth.
Ka Hale Ho`āla Hou No Nā Wāhine
Ka Hale Ho`āla Hou No Nā Wāhine is a residential community-based reentry program run by TJ Mahoney & Associates, Inc. Its mission is to empower women to successfully transition from prison to the community. Residents spend a minimum of six months at the facility, working closely with staff to set clear goals and take steps to achieve them.
Moving from a highly structured and supervised prison environment to the complicated choices of independent living is difficult. Ka Hale’s comprehensive services are designed to provide a supportive environment, encourage resilience, and equip former female offenders with the skills and tools necessary for a successful life as valuable contributing members of Hawai‘i’s community.
Lorraine Robinson, LSW, ACSW, serves as the Executive Director of Ka Hale Ho`āla Hou No Nā Wāhine. She has worked in the criminal justice field since 1991, and has been recognized by the National Association of Social Workers and by Hawaii Women Lawyers for her distinguished service to female offenders
2008 Summer Interns
Natalie Benjamin ~ Punahou
Tyler Holck ~ Punahou
Caelan Hughes ~ La Pietra – Hawai`i School for Girls